Moore Than Just A Club

Classic Match: Volume Twelve: West Ham United 2-2 Everton (9-8 Penalties) January 2015

In the 12th edition of our Classic Match Series, we take you through the archives once more to relive a memorable FA Cup Third Round Replay clash, one that many will be hoping can be similar to the one that will be played out between West Ham United and Shrewsbury Town at London Stadium this evening.

Cast your minds back to the early New Year of 2015, “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars was at the very summit of the British Music Charts and Storm Rachel was about to batter the UK according to widespread warnings from the Met Office.

Meanwhile, in the world of Football and more specifically the Premier League, West Ham were enjoying their 19th season in the English Top-Flight season in the Premier League era and their last under Manager Sam Allardyce.

And they were doing so in some style, sitting inside the Champions League spots at Christmas 2014, the Hammers occupied seventh position and were fresh from a frustrating away draw at the hands of Swansea City ahead of a Cup Replay clash with Everton.

The Toffees’, under Roberto Martinez, League form was suffering by this stage, as a result of Europa League distractions, the Blue Boys of Merseyside sat 12th in the Standings.

Their most recent venture had been a home League draw with Manchester City, though the last time they had tasted victory in any Competition came well before Christmas, a winless run of seven.

The reason for these two teams needing to be separated by a Replay at the Third Round stage anyway was due to the first tie, at Goodison Park, being drawn 1-1 with James Collins putting the Irons ahead only for Romelu Lukaku to volley home a late leveller.

But, when the two teams were announced an hour before kick-off on a chilly Tuesday night at Upton Park, the Ground in its penultimate season, no one could have called that such a thrilling encounter would lay ahead.

The danger men were very clear to spot on both teams’ starting Xls, for the hosts, the up-front duo of pacey Enner Valencia and tall Andy Carroll looked a match made in Heaven, whilst the visitors had their own threatening partnership of midfielder Ross Barkley and high-scoring Belgian Lukaku.

As the racy affair began against the backdrop of a trademark Boleyn Ground atmosphere under the floodlights, the home side had most of the early play and should have led in the first-half.

Valencia, the Ecuadorian, muscled his way through defenders before having his shot saved by Joel Robles, Carroll only able to head the rebound against the post from a tight angle.

However, early in the second period, the pair linked together once more, this time around, it would be to deadly effect, a clever ball from Captain Kevin Nolan found Carroll who swiftly turned at goal, chopping a ball into the feet of Valencia.

The striker cleverly dropped his shoulder and angled a low effort into the far corner, slipping under Robles to raise the roof in E13, moments later, the home fans were cheering once more as Blues midfielder Aiden McGeady was shown a second yellow card for a challenge on Mark Noble and his team’s climb got steeper.

Substitute Kevin Mirallas did give the Toffees some hope, however, his effort from close-range somehow being blocked by James Tomkins, though he couldn’t be kept out for long.

The Belgium man was charged with taking a free-kick on the left side, it looked for all the world that it was only chance to cross the ball, though Mirallas wrapped his foot around the effort and tucked it into the near top corner to the shock of Hammers keeper Adrian San-Miguel, the game was going to extra-time.

A knife could have cut the tension inside Upton Park, both sets of fans fearing a dramatic Cup exit so dearly and it soon looked like the majority of them were going to leave disappointed.

In the 97th minute, a stunning Mirallas run and cross teed up Lukaku for a simple tap-in, he looked to have won it for the ten-man visitors, but there would be one last twist in the tale.

With just seven minutes remaining, a Stewart Downing corner found the head of Tomkins, who knocked the ball down for substitute Carlton Cole to sweep home, fittingly, penalties awaited.

The home side were determined to avoid a second penalty-shootout loss of the campaign, having been knocked out of the English League Cup in the same manner by Sheffield United back in August.

After an admirable first 16 penalties from both teams, the fate of the whole tie was left in the hands of the two goalkeepers, both of whom had put in excellent performances in normal time.

Robles stepped up first, thundering an effort against the bar and back out, leaving Adrian, confidently taking off his gloves in his preparations, to send his opposite number the wrong way and set up a trip to Ashton Gate in the Fourth Round.

Allardyce’s men would advance a Round further in the Tournament, eventually dumped out by West Bromwich Albion in the fifth and going on to disappointingly finish 12th in the Top-Flight that campaign.

Meanwhile, the Toffees, soon after, had their European dreams shattered an ironically ended the season on exactly the same points total as the Irons, 47, and a place ahead on goal difference.

However, one question remains, will tonight’s Replay clash between the East Londoners and Shropshire opposition be quite as eventful? Say right where you are to find out as we bring you a Live Blog, featuring exclusive build-up, live text commentary and reaction, live from the London Stadium Press Box, starting at 5:30 PM GMT this evening.