West Ham 2 Manchester United 2
A last minute equaliser, from substitute Robin Van Persie earned Manchester United a replay in a hotly contested cup-tie at Upton Park this evening.
In a game that flowed from end to end, it was United that took the lead, midway through the first half when Tom Cleverley provided the perfect finish to finish off a good move involving Rafael and Hernandez.
But United couldn`t hold onto the lead for long and four minutes later West Ham were back on level terms through a fine goal of their own. Joe Cole, back in a West Ham shirt for a second spell, delivered a telling cross that saw James Collins out-jump the static United defence t head past David De Gea.
With Upton Park buzzing, United survived a penalty appeal when Nemanja Vidic appeared to shove Kevin Nolan over, but the referee, much to our pleasure, simply waved play on. Shinji Kagawa engineered a chance involving Danny Welbeck but the long leg of Collins thwarted the danger.
Half Time - West ham 1 Manchester United 1
The second half was played at the same manic pace. An early chance saw Cleverley blaze well over before De Gea came to our rescue with a good save after Joe Cole supplied a cross for Carlton Cole which was destined for the top corner of the net. Down the other end, James Tomkins provided a fine block to deny Kagawa
But, just before the hour mark, West Ham were back in the lead with almost a carbon copy of their first goal. Once again Joe Cole provided a telling ball in and once again James Collins out-jumped a static United defence to head powerfully past De Gea.
Sir Alex Ferguson responded by making two changes. Hernandez and Scholes were taken off and on came Robin Van Persie and Antonio Valencia. United almost immediately had a great chance to equalise but Van Persie`s first touch saw his header go wide.
Alex Buttner then stood up a perfect cross only for Valencia to head high into the stand. Joe Cole, who had tormented us, was forced off with what looked like a thigh injury and with ten minutes left United had a game to chase, again.
Vidic conceded a needless free kick for a foul on Jarvis and Jack Collison wasted an opportunity to finish the game off by blasting high over from the resulting free kick. West Ham continued to look the more likely to score and should have done so after Mark Noble, at the back post, headed a cross back across the goal but Carlton Cole poked it past De Gea and the post.
As we approached the 90th minute Ryan Giggs, on as a substitute, headed over and that looked to be that. But Giggs redeemed himself seconds later with a fine diagonal ball that Van Persie controlled and then beat Jaaskelainen with a low shot across the goal.
So it`s back to Old Trafford for the next chapter!