A last gasp winner at the end of extra time saw West Ham beat fellow Premier League side Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup fourth round replay at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday night (February 9).
Liverpool's bright start quickly subdued the atmosphere among the home faithful.
Two consecutive Liverpool corners on the 13th minute caused West Ham some problems with Belgian forward Christian Benteke forcing goalkeeper Darren Randolph into his first stop of the game.
The Hammers responded and hit the post from an unlikely source in right back Joey O’Brien after the Republic of Ireland international’s deflected strike hit the woodwork.
Arguably the best chance of the game fell to the visitors which came after 28 minutes. A neat counter attack between left back Brad Smith and Brazilian playmaker Phillipe Coutinho resulted in youngster Joao Teixeira flashing his shot from 12 yards wide.
Liverpool were creating the best chances and were a lick of paint away from taking the lead. As Coutinho intercepted Hammers captain Mark Noble near the halfway line, the Brazilian hit the post after feeding Benteke for the cross.
Meanwhile the post was hit for the third time in 37 minutes as West Ham’s star man Dimitri Payet rattled the woodwork with a sublime 20 yard free kick – before Simon Mignolet expertly stopped Michail Antonio’s headed follow up.
Despite Liverpool’s good start, the Hammers took the lead just before the interval. Striker Enner Valencia’s teasing cross found Antonio in acres of space and the former Nottingham Forest winger produced a stunning volley leaving Mignolet no chance. That was Antonio’s fourth goal in six home games for the east Londoners.
Barely into the second half and the game was back to all square. Coutinho’s clever low free kick went through the West Ham wall and evaded Randolph.
With 55 minutes gone the Reds almost got themselves in front. Some good work from Smith on the left flank saw a scramble in the box but the Hammers managed to clear their lines.
Antonio was inches away from claiming another volley – but this was would have been even better. His effort from an acute angle saw Mignolet backtrack to his line and tip the ball onto the roof of the net.
Claims for a penalty were ignored by referee Roger East as Valencia was obstructed in the box by Liverpool’s Tiago Ilori in an attempt to latch onto Antonio’s teasing cross.
Meanwhile all three of West Ham’s substitutes were forced as Reid pulled his hamstring, Kouyate suffered concussion after a challenge from opposing full back Jon Flanagan and Joey O’Brien suffered a leg injury.
As eight minutes were issued as injury time by fourth official Charles Breaksper, Reds winger Jordan Ibe’s left-footed effort was well saved by Randolph as both teams tried to find a winner and avoid extra time.
Noble’s curling effort from just outside the area was the first clear cut chance of the first half of extra time with Mignolet pulling off a fine stop. At the other end, a rasping volley from Benteke was a whisker away from finding the back of the net.
One minute after his volley, Benteke found himself one-on-one with Randolph but the Republic of Ireland international came off the better to deny the former Aston Villa frontman.
As neither West Ham nor Liverpool could find a goal, Daniel Sturridge grazed the top of the crossbar with his fierce drive at the start of the second half of extra time.
As penalties loomed, Liverpool put West Ham on the back foot with wave after wave of attack.
However, much to the delight of the home faithful, centre back Angelo Ogbonna lifted the roof. Dimitri Payet’s excellent delivery found the Italy international who rose the highest and headed home to book their place in the next round of the FA Cup where they will travel to Ewood Park to play Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers.
West Ham: Randolph, O’Brien (Moses, 82), Reid (Collins, 63), Ogbonna, Cresswell; Noble ©, Kouyate (Carroll, 74), Obiang; Payet, Antonio; Valencia.
Subs Not Used: Adrian, Oxford, Parfitt-Williams, Cullen.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Flanagan, Lucas, Ilori, Smith, Stewart, Chirivella (Milner, 101), Teixeira (Origi, 58), Coutinho (Sturridge, 58), Ibe, Benteke.
Subs Not Used: Ward, Enrique, Henderson, Randall.
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