West Ham 1 Sheffield United 1: Blades win on penalties in dramatic cup tie
Sam Allardyce's West Ham suffered a shock, as they were beaten on penalties by Sheffield United after the game ended in a 1-1 draw, writes Jack Pinnock.
In a game dubbed 'The Carlos Tevez match', after the 2006/2007 events which lead to the Hammers' favourite completing the great escape and sending Sheffield United down - but ultimately costing the Londoners £25m - the League One side were looking for revenge.
After a dull opening quarter of an hour, the first half-chance fell to new signing Enner Valencia. The new signing's header went wide of Mark Howard's right-hand post following some neat and tidy build up play from the Hammers.
Jose Baxter's out swinging corner was met by Neil Collins, however, the centre half's volley failed to worry Jussi Jaaskelainen. Meanwhile, at the other end, Valencia's piledriver from 25 yards out was too hot to handle for Howard, but the visiting keeper managed to regain his composure and scrambled the ball safely.
Fellow new signing Diego Poyet, son of Sunderland manager Gus Poyet, attempted the audacious after 25 minutes but, with his chest and volleyed effort not having enough dip on it, the ball nestled on top of the net.
Just before the half an hour mark, the best chance of the match so far fell to the hosts. Mohamed Diame showed his strength to fend off the challenge of Michael Doyle, producing a delightful through ball to Valencia, but his shot was well saved by Howard.
The returning Ravel Morrison's direct free kick was parried out for a corner after 35 minutes. From the resulting corner Howard was on hand again, this time denying 18-year-old centre-back Reece Burke.
With five minutes of the first half remaining, West Ham made the breakthrough. Reece Burke's floated cross skimmed the head of Diafra Sakho, who was making his first start in claret and blue since his move from French outfit FC Metz, and went past Howard and into the net.
Valencia was looking lively in the first 45 minutes and was inches away from making it 2-0. Demel's low cross was just out of the reach of the Ecuador international, who is still searching for his first Hammers goal.
Sheffield United claimed the first chance of the second half, but it failed to trouble Jaaskelainen as Marc McNulty's tame effort dribbled towards the Finn to claim.
Twelve minutes into the second half, the tie was back to all square. Bob Harris's whipped in cross hit captain Winston Reid and went into his own net.
Sheffield United found momentum, and were galvanised by the goal. Holding midfielder Chris Basham almost put the League One side in front with his powerful header but it went just wide.
Stewart Downing, who replaced goalscorer Sakho, was immediately involved when Reid, attempting to recover from his earlier mistake, produced a neat flick from a Downing corner but it went wide of the post.
Sheffield United right back Craig Alcock's header was just over from a Ben Davies corner after 77 minutes, in a second half that was mainly a scrappy affair.
With 10 minutes remaining Howard pulled off a magnificent stop to deny Downing from 30 yards out with his swerving shot.
After 86 minutes, the Hammers had a glimmer of a chance to put themselves back in front with Valencia's close range shot expertly blocked by Neil Collins.
However, neither team could grab the winner, and this Capital One Cup tie went into extra time.
With both teams looking like they'd rather take penalties, the first half of extra time ended with Stewart Downing's 25 yard drilled shot failing to hit the target, and Craig Alcock hitting the target but Jaaskelainen saved.
The Hammers made a bright start to the second half of extra time. Mark Noble's cross-cum-shot from a dangerous position nearly left goalkeeper Howard red faced, but he managed to tip the Hammer's effort around the post. Enner Valencia's dipping shot from a direct free kick failed and capped off extra time. Penalties would decide who goes through to the third round of the Capital One Cup.
With Noble, Downing, Poyet and Mauro Zarate comfortabley dispatching there penalties, Valencia was next in the firing line, but Howard saved his spot kick. Blades captain, Michael Doyle was the match winner, and Nigel Clough's side sealed a place in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup third round.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Reid ©, Burke, Potts; Diame, Poyet, Vaz Te (Zarate, 79), Morrison (Noble, 97); Valencia, Sakho (Downing, 62).
Subs Not Used: Spiegel, Oxford, Page, Lee.
Sheffield Utd: Howard, Alcock, McGahey, Collins, Harris (McEveley, 73); Doyle ©, Basham, Flynn (Campbel-Ryce, 84), Davies, Baxter (Wallace, 99); McNulty.
Subs Not Used: Turner, Higdon, Reed, Murphy.