GOALKEEPER Adrian was the unlikely match-winner for West Ham United last night as the Spaniard scored the deciding penalty after the Hammers and ten-man Everton had battled tooth and nail for a place in the FA Cup fourth round.
Having already played out a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park last week, this replay provided more drama as the Premier League sides continued to trade blows all the way to round ten of an enthralling penalty shoot-out, winning it 9-8 after a 2-2 draw in the 120 minutes.
Everton’s own goalkeeper Joel Robles had made a number of key saves during the game but his spot-kick came back off the crossbar and he was unable to keep out Adrian’s effort as Sam Allardyce’s side set up a fourth-round date with Bristol City.
As in the initial tie, West Ham appeared set for victory after Enner Valencia’s first Upton Park goal set them on their way, and when former Celtic winger Aiden McGeady was sent off following two yellow cards moments later, another Everton comeback seemed unlikely.
But Kevin Mirallas came off the bench to draw the visitors level with a fantastic free-kick eight minutes from full-time. And he then combined with his fellow Belgian, Romelu Lukaku, midway through the first period of extra-time, with Lukaku scoring for a fifth game running against the Hammers.
But West Ham were not finished and hit back through Carlton Cole, another subsitiute, to force the match into penalties, where Adrian kept his cool to put his side into the next round and end Everton’s hopes of FA Cup glory for another year.
“It was an unbelievable game for the fans,” said Adrian afterwards. “I feel really happy. I was relaxed when I stepped forward to take the penalty. We’ve got the victory and we go through to the next round.”
Elsewhere last night, Fulham beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-3 in another penalty shoot-out to set up a fourth-round clash at the Stadium of Light against Premier League Sunderland.
Wolves’ Matt Doherty, who had a loan spell at Hibernian in 2012, was the only player to miss and Hugo Rodallega scored the decisive kick for Fulham in a shoot-out that had come about after the sides had finished level at 3-3 after extra-time.
Playing on the same day as Sir Jack Hayward, the club’s former owner and chairman, had died at the age of 91, Wolves found themselves behind on 27 minutes when Cauley Woodrow scored for the visitors.
But the Molineaux supporters were on their feet twice in the space of a couple of minutes midway through the second half when goals from Dave Edwards and Rajiv van La Parr turned the cup tie on it’s head.
Fulham, with former Aberdeen and Scotland Under-21 player Jack Grimmer in the starting line-up, got back on level terms when Woodrow grabbed his second of the game and forced the tie into extra-time.
It looked as though Wolves had won it in those added 30 minutes when Edwards again found the net but, incredibly, Scotland international Ross McCormack converted a penalty with seconds left on the clock following a handball decision.
The former Motherwell striker then scored the first penalty of the shoot-out as his Fulham side went on to win the tie.
Chesterfield and Scunthorpe were doing battle again for the right to face Derby at Pride Park but they couldn’t be separated until extra-time. The match finished goalless after 90 minutes, before Sam Clucas popped up in the 105th minute and again just moments before the end of added time to settle the tie 2-0 in Chesterfield’s favour.
In the only one of last night’s third-round replays not to go to extra-time, Bristol City beat Doncaster 2-0 courtesy of a double from Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. But Bristol had another hour or so to wait before finding out that their opponents at Ashton Gate on Sunday 25 January will be West Ham United.
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