Liverpool 0, West Ham 0
Issues remained unsolved in the fourth round of the FA Cup as two teams, both with charismatic new managers played out a frustrating 0-0 draw.
Darren Randolph wore the goalkeeper’s jersey for West Ham , with Adrian awaiting the birth of his child in Spain, and the stand-in won praise from manager Slaven Bilic for keeping Liverpool at bay with a string of strong saves at Anfield.
The clubs will return to the Boleyn Ground for another cup party in east London but the edge was taken off the draw by the loss of James Tomkins and Cheikhou Kouyate to injury in the first half.
An inexperienced Liverpool team gave West Ham heart. The Irons made five changes but kept a solid core of Premier League players. Victor Moses was the key route to goal but he was frustrated by the defence until he was finally taken off.
In the end, West Ham could only muster one shot on target and Bilic said afterwards: “We lacked that kind of quality we normally have in the last third of the pitch, so overall I am happy with the result.
“When you make two subs in the first half your hands are tied in the second half. It limited our options and we had to wait to make a third substitution. Kouyate should be OK for Tuesday hopefully.”
Rotherham 1, Charlton 4
New manager Jose Riga has found the perfect way to defuse discontent among the Charlton Athletic faithful, delivering an away win and keeping the team in touch with safety at the bottom of the Championship.
They have Simon Makienok to thank for soothing early nerves against fellow strugglers with a strike on four minutes, with another in the second half. Igor Vetokele and promising youngster Ademola Lookman completed the rout.
The gripe of the fans now will be – why let it drift so long? If the team is capable of this kind of result, how come they were allowed to drift into the relegation zone under interim coach Karel Fraeye.
Riga said: “Everybody did their job in a very good way. We were waiting for this kind of result but there is a long way to go and there are a lot of games left.
“The first thing I said was that I don’t want to see our team defending only. I want to see our team as high as possible up the pitch and use our quality because we have some quality in the team.
“I’m pleased because everybody was involved from the goalkeeper, defence, midfield and strikers. It’s a result of commitment from the players and all the staff and fans.”
Millwall 1, Crewe 1
Millwall tiptoed into the promotion play-off places but they could have made a more emphatic statement against a club second from bottom in League One.
The game was settled by two penalties, the first from Brad Inman for Crewe after 59 minutes, cancelled out from Lee Gregory shortly afterwards. But Gregory turned from hero to villain as he squandered a second spot kick, striking the post on 88 minutes to deny the Lions fourth straight victory.
Manager Neil Harris told the club’s website : “I am frustrated because when you get a penalty with a couple of minutes to go you really fancy the boy who has scored already to put it in the net.
“We’re disappointed, definitely, but it could be a good point gained. Once you get into that top six and you play against a team near the foot of the table, the fan base arrive expecting you to roll them over, but it doesn’t quite materialise like that.
“But again there was no lack of effort or passion from the boys, it was just about a little bit of quality at the key moments."