West Ham are through to the fourth-round of the FA Cup after goalkeeper Adrian scored the winning penalty in a thrilling replay against Everton at the Boleyn Ground.
The Hammers made hard work of it as they took the lead through Enner Valencia’s second-half strike, before the Toffees Aiden McGeady was sent off for two bookable offences.
However, for the fourth consecutive match, the east London outfit couldn’t hold on to their lead and Kevin Mirallas equalised for the visitors with an exquisite free-kick.
Romelu Lukaku then put Everton in front in extra-time after a dazzling Mirallas run, but super-sub Carlton Cole scored from close-range to take it to penalties, where West Ham won 9-8.
Here we take a look at five things we learned from the thrilling tie.
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1. VALENCIA’S BACK IN BUSINESS
The Ecuador international had gone over two months without a goal – his last coming in a 2-2 draw with Stoke at the beginning of November – and he was seemingly lacking confidence prior to his FA Cup strike.
It was a well taken goal as when he was played through by Andy Carroll he managed to hold off John Stones before firing low and hard across Joel Robles.
His performance also puts to bed some of the doubts people were having about if he could play alongside Carroll, as they linked up pretty well throughout the match, posing numerous problems for Everton’s defence.
2. COLE PROVES WORTH YET AGAIN
The Hammers veteran hadn’t scored since October but he now has three in all competitions this season, just one less than Valencia, having had much less game time than the Ecuadorian.
His strike on Tuesday was of huge significance as he found himself in the right place at the right time to tap home James Tomkins knock-down, however in true Cole-like fashion he spurned a chance to win the match just moments later.
Cole may not be with West Ham for much longer, but what a servant he has been to the club, consistently popping up with important goals.
3. ADRIAN HAS NERVES OF STEEL
Who knew West Ham’s no1 was so good at penalties? Not only did he produce a great stop to deny Steven Naismith and give the Hammers the advantage, he then showed the other players how to take them.
Having seen Robles smash the crossbar from his spot-kick the Spaniard knew his would win it and he stepped up, under great pressure, casually threw his gloves to the floor and slotted it into the corner.
If Hammers fans didn’t already love Adrian, they certainly will after that. Cool as they come.
4. EVERTON HOODOO FINALLY OVER
West Ham had not beaten Everton in their previous 15 encounters and it was excruciatingly close to becoming 16.
Having thrown the lead away against ten-men then falling behind in extra-time it was looking like a typical match against the Merseyside outfit in which the result was inevitable.
However with a combination of the FA Cup magic, Cole’s scoring knack and Adrian’s nonchalant penalty-taking the Irons finally put an end to the hoodoo.
5. FA CUP RUN IS ON
It has been widely stated that this year is the perfect time for West Ham to have a real go at the cup having all-but secured their Premier League status so early on, so it would have been massively disappointing had they gone out at the first hurdle.
The victory over Everton was their first win in the competition since February 2011 and it could not have come at a better time.
They face Bristol City in the fourth-round on January 25 in a match which they are expected to win, although they dare not underestimate their opponents. This is a truly great chance for West Ham to attain some silverware.
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