West Ham goalkeeper Adrian scores winner against Everton
Hammers goalie the hero as pulsating cup tie ends with 20-kick penalty shootout
West Ham United 2 Everton 2 (West Ham win 9-8 on penalties). Spanish goalkeeper Adrian was the Hammers' hero in their FA Cup third round replay against Everton. After the thrilling tie had finished all-square at 2-2, he took the 20th spot-kick of an extraordinary penalty shootout to sent West Ham through to the next stage where they will face League One Bristol City.
It was West Ham's first victory in the FA Cup since February 2011 and manager Sam Allardyce was still catching his breath when he spoke to reporters. "It was an unbelievable match," he exclaimed. "You can't say the FA Cup has died after that, not with that entertainment value. I thought today had absolutely everything a cup tie should have - a little bit of controversy, some great play, chances missed, some great goalkeeping and some very good goals."
Allardyce could also have added a bizarre confrontation between two West Ham players, Mark Noble and James Tomkins, to the list of dramas at the Boleyn Ground after they had to be pulled apart by Kevin Nolan and the referee.
The first goal of the night was scored by Enner Valencia when he collected Andy Carroll's pass and fired past Toffees keeper Joel Robles on 51 minutes. When Everton's Aiden McGeady was sent off five minutes later for his second bookable offence it looked like the Merseysiders were doomed to defeat. But manager Roberto Martinez threw on Kevin Mirallas on 67 minutes and the Belgian responded with a delightful free-kick that brought Everton level.
Mirallas then created the extra-time goal that gave the visitors the lead, his run allowing Romelu Lukaku the opportunity to a lot the ball past Adrian. But then in the second period of extra time Carlton Cole – who had only been introduced two minutes earlier – stabbed home the ball from James Tomkins's header to take the game to penalties.
In a nail-biting climax Everton's Steven Naismith saw his penalty saved. Stewart Downing could have sent the Hammers through, but his effort was saved by Everton keeper Joel Robles to send the shoot-out into sudden death.
There were four more successful kicks from both sides before it was the turn of the keepers (as Everton were down to ten men, West Ham nominated Tomkins not to take part in the shootout).
Robles went first but hit the crossbar with his effort, and up stepped Adrian to convert the 20th penalty and send the home fans wild. "In that moment I felt so quiet and relaxed and I didn't have nerves," explained Adrian. "I never took a penalty before - only in training for a joke, but not serious. Never in life had I struck a penalty in an important game."
It was the first goal Adrian has ever scored in professional football and he was determined to milk the moment for all its worth, rushing over to the West Ham and then sliding before them on his knees. "I have celebrated my saves before normally, but never scoring a goal," he said "It was my first goal in my career and it's an amazing day for me, my teammates, the club and the fans."