Sheffield United 1
(Sheffield United win 4-5 on penalties)
Away Blades 1,385
In fairness on the pitch West Ham showed Premiership class controlling a lot of the early game, any hope that they would play the traditional Big Sam 'hoof' style was well and truly out of the window. West Ham were out to win this game decisively, as evident by throwing in their new twelve million pound signing Enner Valencia. Mark Howard had to make a string of saves to keep out the London outfit, but he was eventually beaten by a looping header from Sakho. The Blades had moments of danger but failed to test the opposition keeper with anything to threatening. Half Time came and went and United looked brighter, a good spell of possession and balls into the box gave The Blades hope but still failed to really throw anything at Jaaskelainen worth writing home about. But just before the hour mark the Blades were gifted an equalizer, a hopeful cross from Harris floated into the box, McNulty couldn't make full contact and it rolled safely into the box ready to be cleared, then in stepped karma in the form of Winston Reid's shins, awkwardly hitting the defender and slowly rolling into the goal, one all and game on. The rest of the half flew past, West Ham again looking the more dangerous but failing time after time to beat Mark Howard who was a man possessed. With the two sides unable to break the deadlock Extra Time was required but even after that neither team could gain the advantage, the dreaded game of chance approached, the tie would be decided on penalties. The same old story again came true, neither team could break the deadlock and four out of four penalties were scored for both sides, The Blades players overcoming the wall of boo's and jeers kept their nerves to set up the fifth, final all important kicks. Twelve Million Pound Man Valencia stepped up, the hopes of twenty plus thousand fans in paper masks sank into the ground and fizzled away into despair as Mark Howard calmly and easily saved the tame penalty. The boo's, the whistles and the hatred again filled the ground, Captain Michael Doyle stepped up, a chance to win the game, to make himself a cult hero. A chance to silence the hostility, a chance you only get once to deliver just a tiny bit of justice. And as the West Ham fans streamed for the exits Michael Doyle did a brilliant Cockney Walk in front of the traveling Blades who had erupted into a mass deliria, Doyle had kept his nerve, slotted home sending the keeper the wrong way, the battle was won and The Blades were in the next round.
On a side note I would like to point out that the Daily Mail (head sports writer Martin Samuel) posted a rather, lets say catty match report, I am sure Mr Samuel had no hand in that what's so ever but I digress. I am very sure no one from The Daily Mail reads my blog but I would like to pass on a message never the less. No amount of catty reporting and biased views, no amount of trying to claim how superior West Ham were according to the stats will change the result. We won, West Ham lost, and now maybe it would be better if you reported on the current litter crisis in the East End as thousands of Carlos Tevez masks clutter up the gutter and drift across peoples gardens.