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Penalty heartbreak for 10-man Blues

13/01/2015  Comments (1)  jump
West Ham 2 - 2 Everton (aet; 9-8 on pens)
Everton were knocked out of the FA Cup on a remarkable night of drama at Upton Park as West Ham goalkeeper Adrian scored the decisive spot-kick of a tortuous penalty shootout after Joel Robles had hammered his effort off the crossbar with the score at 8-8.

It was heartbreaking for the Spaniard who had put on a brilliant performance to keep the Blues in the tie with a series of good saves and rough justice on Everton who almost won it in extra time despite playing more than an hour with 10 men.

Everton were unchanged from Saturday, with Kevin Mirallas on the bench and Aiden McGeady continuing wide on the right. Luke Garbutt and Conor McAleny were on a substitutes' bench that did not include Samuel Eto'o, fuelling speculation that he could be on the move to Sampdoria following comments attributed to his agent in the Italian press.

The Blues started brightly without managing to create a clear opening and it was the Hammers who almost scored after 11 minutes when John Stones was robbed in front of his own area and Joel Robles had to save brilliantly to deny Enner Valencia.

Everton continued to look the tidier and sharper of the two teams but suffered from over-elaboration at times in the final third until McGeady found space for successive shots, the first he screwed tamely wide and the second was headed away by Andy Carroll.

The Hammers, meanwhile, seemed more content to hold back and either hit it long or catch Everton on the break when moves by Martinez's side broke down and Alex Song had a chance from one such move. Thankfully, though, he drove his shot into Valencia and the ball cannoned away.

The Blues almost profited from the best move of the half when Naismith played McGeady in off Lukaku's nicely-weighted ball but Aaron Cresswell got across quickly forcing the Irishman to prod his shot wide.

Everton were caught napping early in the second half, though, when a free kick from the home defence was worked to Valencia and he slotted home.

It got worse soon afterwards when McGeady was controversially sent off for a second bookable offence. In the face of adversity, though, the Blues were more purposeful going forward, particularly after Mirallas came on.

When Lukaku was fouled on the edge of the West Ham box, his Belgian teammate whipped a free kick past Adrian to level the tie and force extra time.

On fire despite admitting to not being completely over his ankle injury, Mirallas turned on the style eight minutes into the first period, turning the opposition defence inside and out before sliding it square for Lukaku to convert to make it 2-1.

But after a penalty claim on Mirallas was incorrectly called as a free kick by the worsening Neil Swarbrick, Everton couldn't keep Carlton Cole out from a corner in the 113th minute as he stabbed home James Tomkins' towering header.

Lukaku had a golden opportunity to win it a couple of minutes from the end, though, but having done all the hard work he dragged his shot agonisingly wide while Robles palmed Morgan Amalfitano's shot away and then combined with Stones to deny Cole at the death.

Everton won the toss to take first in the shootout but after Mirallas and Noble scored, Naismith's effort was saved. West Ham were heading through until Robles saved from Stewart Downing.

But as each team successfully scored, it came down to the two Spanish keepers where Adrian took the chance to win it by tucking the ball home.

So, Everton are dumped out at the first hurdle but can hold their heads high after a spirited display let down by McGeady's clumsiness, yet more poor marking at set-pieces and an agonising miss by Lukaku late on.

Everton: Robles, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines, Barry, Besic, Barkley, McGeady, Naismith, Lukaku
Subs: Griffiths, Garbutt, Oviedo, Kone, Alcaraz, Mirallas, McAleny

West Ham: Adrian, Cresswell, Tomkins, Jarvis, Carroll, Downing, Noble (c), Jenkinson, Collins, Song, Valencia.
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Nolan, Vaz Te, O'Brien, Amalfitano, Cole, Burke

Kick off: 7.45pm
Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Quotes sourced from ToffeeWeb Match Reports

Reader Comments (1)

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Craig James
1 Posted 13/01/2015 at 20:42:08
Need to find that killer pass in the final third. We’ve done well but we’re not creating many chances. I would love to see Lukaku with a partner upfront.

I just hope our own mistakes don’t once again come back to haunt us... touch wood.

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