Goalkeeper Adrian sends Hammers through to next round
West Ham 2 Everton 2 (AET. West Ham win 9-8 0n penalties)
West Ham goalkeeper Adrian held his nerve to convert the winning penalty to book a FA Cup Fourth Round clash against Bristol City after an epic shoot-out.
After Everton's Steven Naismith and West Ham's Stewart Downing missed their spot-kicks, it all came down to the goalkeepers and after Toffees shotstopper Joel Robles saw his effort come back off the crossbar, Adrian stepped up to send the home side through.
The only thing missing in regular time of a thrilling cup tie had been a winning goal, but by the time that Carlton Cole's late equaliser as a substitute took this FA Cup third-round replay to penalties at 10.15pm, this game had just about everything else, including a sending-off for Aiden McGeady and an improbable comeback from 10-man Everton.
If anything, it showed to Roberto Martinez that the spirit which had sustained his team for so much of last season has not ebbed yet and the Everton manager got the performance just in time. With McGeady red-carded before the hour and Everton running out of steam, Martinez sent on substitute Kevin Mirallas, who scored the equaliser, transformed the tie, made the second goal and very nearly got Everton their victory in extra-time before Cole's intervention.
Everton were seeking just their second win in 12 games and a place in the fourth round against Bristol City, who beat Doncaster in their replay. Behind to Enner Valencia's goal early in the second half and with Sam Allardyce's team dominant, it was hard to envisage the comeback that Everton staged, but an equaliser from Mirallas and then another from Romelu Lukaku put Everton within minutes of a victory in extra-time.
The two sides had drawn 1-1 at Goodison Park a week earlier and Everton looked shot until Mirallas' intervention in the second half. As for West Ham, they have not won a game since December 20 and were left hanging on until that old undependable Cole scored his third goal of the season. The Cup is not the priority for Allardyce, of course, but even so the manner in which his side threw away their lead will be a concern for the West Ham manager.
The two managers had selected close to their full-strength teams. For both of them a win was long overdue and in that respect it promised much as a cup tie. There was a bright start to the game that turned out to be a misleading clue as to what the rest of a scrappy first half was to be about.
Everton might have taken the lead in the last few minutes of the half when Steven Naismith headed down Lukaku's cross from the left and McGeady very nearly poked the loose ball past Adrian.
For the home side, Downing was excellent, passing the ball better than any other. Andy Carroll did his ProZone statistics no harm with an energetic determination to run back into midfield when the mood took him, yet in front of goal, where it mattered most, he could not quite force matters.
The start of the second half brought catastrophe for Martinez's side, who conceded a soft goal and then lost McGeady to his second yellow card. The goal was avoidable but, once again, Valencia was permitted to just pull away from the Everton defence, this time Stones fully culpable. The Ecuadorean striker took him down the right channel and hit a right-foot shot past Robles and into the far corner without Stones getting close.
Then they lost McGeady for his second ill-advised tackle of the evening, this one on Mark Noble. It had not been a dirty game, not by any means, and McGeady had been the only player in the book at that point for a foul on Matt Jarvis.
It would be no exaggeration to say that the 10 men of Everton looked a good deal more effective than the 11 who had played the first half. Kevin Mirallas, on for Barkley, gave them some more energy and he should have scored on 77 minutes when it needed James Tomkins to throw himself in front of the shot.
Robles saved well when James Collins headed goalwards with 10 minutes left. They had let their opposition off the hook and the equaliser was duly dispatched. That came from a free-kick from Mirallas from the right channel. The West Ham goalkeeper left too much room at his near post and the Belgian found his spot well.
The 10 men held on to extra time and then, with their 3,000 fans sensing the possibility of victory, they scored their second. Lukaku had already missed from inside the six-yard box when Mirallas, who had changed everything for Everton, came down the left and put one on a plate for his fellow Belgian.
The pressure was on West Ham and, in the second period of extra-time, Allardyce tried one last roll of the dice. He sent on Cole for Collins and it was the striker who forced the equaliser from close range. (© Independent News Service)