In the tenth edition of our Classic Match series, we dig deep in the archives to take you back in time to a memorable FA Cup Third Round tie from January past, just days after David Moyes’ Hammers were frustrated away from home by Shrewsbury Town in the same Competition in the present.
Kingdom’s oldest man, Reg Dean, had just passed away a few months after his 110th birthday.
Meanwhile, In the world of Football and more specifically the Premier League, Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United were enjoying their first season back in the Top-Flight following a Championship Play-Off Final victory over Blackpool the previous May, Promotion at the first attempt.
Going into the Third Round Proper of Football’s oldest Competition, the East Londoners had just defeated Norwich City 2-1 at home and sat 11th in the PL standings, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United were their opponents in the Cup.
The Red Devils had been in fine form for the first half of the campaign, sitting in first place in the League table and having been victorious in five of their last six matches in all Competitions.
United’s last win had arrived in emphatic style away from home against Wigan Athletic and it was their legendary Manager’s last season in the game after 27 years in charge in Manchester.
The tie was to be played on a chilly Saturday evening and Broadcast live on Television in the United Kingdom, at the announcement of both line-ups an hour before kick-off, East London geared up for an entertaining clash with the level of talent on show.
For the hosts, danger men featuring from the start included the likes of hero from the previous campaign Ricardo Vaz Te and Captain Kevin Nolan, whilst the visitors had such stars as Paul Scholes and Javier Hernandez in their ranks.
As the racy encounter began, there was a sprinkle of FA Cup magic in the air and an electric atmosphere to boot, the game that followed lived up to it in every way.
After a period of sustained pressure at the start of the affair, the Red Devils were able to seize the advantage, Chicharito finding Tom Cleverley at the far post with a low cross, the England man finishing very well indeed back across goal.
But, just four minutes later, Vaz Te fed veteran Joe Cole on the left side to pucorner, making the scores level instantaneously.
The tails of the home side were now up and it took them just eight minutes of the second period to turn that new-found confidence into a lead and it would be a case of De Ja Vu for the United defenders.
Cole, formerly of Chelsea, picked up the ball on the left side once more before turning and putting in a lethal delivery, Collins using the back of his head to glance the ball past a stunned David De Gea between the sticks.
But for the vocal Claret & Blue Amy in E13, this could only set-up a nervy finish and as the clash entered what was known as “Fergie Time” the inevitable happened.
A stunning long ball from Ryan Giggs picked out the run of fellow substitute Robin van Persie and the Dutch International stayed composed to finish past Jussi Jaaskelainen and send the away fans delirious.
The last-gasp leveller forced the encounter to go to a Replay at Old Trafford which the Manchester club won comfortably and booked their place in the Fourth Round.
United went on to be knocked out by the Blues in the Sixth Round, although they did romp home to League glory, in the end, ensuring a fitting farewell for the Premier League’s longest-serving Manager.
Meanwhile, Allardyce was able to guide his Irons team to an impressive tenth-placed finish in the League, a successful return to the Top-Flight after a period of great uncertainty.
The Cup run may have ended in agonising fashion during that specific campaign, but Moyes’ men are still afloat in this year’s Competition, just about, can the Hammers lift the FA Cup for the first time since 1980? Stay right here to find out with our unrivalled coverage of West Ham United’s whole 2017/2018 FA Cup run.