After Manchester United beat West Ham United 3-1 in their Premier League meeting at Stratford back in December, the Hammers would have wanted to make amends and book their passage through to the FA Cup quarter-final. Unfortunately though, the home side edged a tight encounter at Old Trafford by winning Tuesday night’s fifth round tie 1-0 in extra-time.
Tomáš Souček was available to manager David Moyes, having had his red card from Saturday’s game at Fulham rescinded, following a successful appeal on Monday morning. Otherwise the Scotsman went with a strong team with Łukasz Fabiański, Vladimír Coufal, Angelo Ogbonna, Craig Dawson, Aaron Cresswell, Jarrod Bowen and Declan Rice all keeping their places from the goalless draw at Craven Cottage.
Pablo Fornals was restored to the starting line-up, given that Jesse Lingard was unable to play against his parent club. Andriy Yarmolenko and Mark Noble also came in. Saïd Benrahma dropped to the bench.
Young goalkeeper Nathan Trott was also named amongst the substitutes along with Ben Johnson, Fabián Balbuena, Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop, Manuel Lanzini, Ademipo Odubeko and January recruit Frederik Alves.
Both teams went into this game off the back of draws on Saturday and they were pretty evenly matched in the opening stages here too.
Although Anthony Martial had a chance to open the scoring for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side, a combination of both Fabianski and Ogbonna prevented him from doing so but, as they did, the Italian international injured himself. After lengthy treatment he was eventually stretchered off and Diop replaced him.
The hosts were then piling the pressure on but fortunately, they were unable to break the deadlock, as the Hammers’ defence stood firm.
On twenty seven minutes, the home side went close again but Fabianski made an outstanding save when Victor Lindelöf rose to head an Alex Telles corner towards goal via an unfortunate deflection from Dawson.
Referee Paul Tierney blew the whistle for the break and although both teams were still in the contest, the Irons knew that they would have to do a lot better if they were going to progress.
Just before the break, Martial was involved in a clash of heads with Diop, this resulted in the visitors using another substitute so, Fredericks took the place of the French defender, while Johnson also entered the fray for Bowen.
Neither goalkeeper was really tested throughout the entire game but when they were called upon, Fabianski was much the busier of the two. He had to intervene when Marcus Rashford found himself free at the far post but thankfully, the Pole managed to thwart him.
Those following the East Londoners from afar might have been forgiven for thinking that it wasn’t going to be their night as on fifty four minutes, Moyes was forced into a fourth change with Odubeko coming on for the injured Yarmolenko.
West Ham made another change on eighty eight minutes as Benrahma took the place of Fornals.
The earlier save that Rashford forced from the Pole was the only real clear-cut effort that either side could muster in the second-half. Having said that, Dawson went ever so close to winning the match for the visitors when he was on the end of a set-piece from Cresswell. Unfortunately though, he couldn’t get a good enough connection to beat home stopper Dean Henderson.
With the tie having to be settled on the night and no winner yet found, it was time for an extra thirty minutes.
The Hammers, who had performed much better after half-time were finally undone just seven minutes in to the extra period. Rice lost possession and Martial’s cross was then only half-cleared by a combination of both Souček and Cresswell. Rashford then found Scott McTominay and he drove the ball into the back of the net and past Fabianski.
With eight minutes of time left in the game, Moyes made his final change, as Lanzini was introduced for Odubeko, who had only had very little time on the pitch.
Benrahma could have equalised in the closing stages but he only sent his effort straight at Henderson, meaning that the FA Cup journey for the Irons was over for another season.
They now have until Monday to prepare for their next Premier League game as Sheffield United are the visitors to Stratford.