Cup ‘excitement’ pleases Allardyce

Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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Sam Allardyce struggled to recall a match of such highs and lows after watching West Ham progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup via a penalty shootout.

Allardyce’s side put him through the wringer before goalkeeper Adrian scored the decisive spot-kick to finally settle the clash with 10-man Everton.

Having drawn 1-1 at Goodison Park a week ago, the two sides met again here to determine who would meet Bristol City in the next round and, after extra-time and 20 penalties, the Hammers prevailed 9-8 after the scores were level at 2-2 following 120 minutes.

Enner Valencia had put the hosts in front before Aiden McGeady was sent off for Everton, who got back into the game through a wonderfully-struck Kevin Mirallas free-kick.

Second-half substitute Mirallas then teed up Romelu Lukaku in extra-time to put the Toffees ahead, only for West Ham’s Carlton Cole to poke home with his first touch and take the tie to penalties.

Steven Naismith missed Everton’s second but Stewart Downing passed up the chance to seal the win when his tame fifth effort was kept out by Joel Robles, who had made a string of impressive saves throughout the game.

How cruel, therefore that the Spanish goalkeeper – who won the competition with Wigan two years ago – thrashed his own penalty against the bar and could not keep out Adrian’s effort as West Ham made it through.

“It was unbelievable,” Allardyce said when asked about the game.

“The highs and lows in one particular game. It has been a long time since I experienced such highs and lows in one match. Such excitement. It was end to end from the first whistle – nothing like a Premier League game.

“Both teams went out and played and tried to win it. In the end we got what we deserved, there is no doubt about that.

“Unfortunately we missed too many chances, their goalkeeper made some fantastic saves. We had 23, 24 attempts. We missed and fluffed a few and had to rely on penalties in the end to win it.

“Everton have been a bit of a bogey team for us and when Stewart Downing missed I thought ‘here we go again’.

“But Adrian saved one brilliantly and took the last one, he was calm. He was determined and it was a victory we deserved over the two legs.”

Adrian admitted he was always in control as he peeled off his gloves before coolly finishing his penalty, and said: ”It was the most unbelievable game, for the fans I feel so really happy.

“I was relaxed and quiet when I struck the penalty and we got the victory and keep going in the FA Cup.”

Everton boss Roberto Martinez thought his side were hard done by having played for such a long period with a numerical disadvantage.

“We had to deal with the worst role in the game – going down to 10 men for over an hour. I’m extremely satisfied with the manner of coping with that,” he said.

“The players showed the right manner and concentration and we didn’t for a minute look like a team with a man down. We showed a very good, strong mentality. It is just disappointing.

“West Ham were really strong but I thought we deserved to go through. The effort and performance made us the better team tonight. Penalties really is a tough way to be eliminated from the best competition in club football.”

The Spaniard was also left bemoaning a decision to not award his side a penalty when they were 2-1 up in extra-time.

“You can see why he gave the two yellow cards (to McGeady) but there is no justification in how the referee has not seen (that) Mirallas’ free-kick was in the box,” he added.

“He has given a free-kick outside the box and clearly it’s in the box. The linesman has given it and should’ve seen the action in the box.”

Published: Wednesday 14th January 2015 by The News Editor

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