West Ham 0
- Match reports
- Sat 05 Jan 2008, 12:00AM
- Posted by Leon Collins
One change for the Blues, with Nery Castillo making his debut in place of Elano, who had not travelled with the squad.
Around 4,000 City fans had made the trip south, with several sporting sombreros in honour of the day’s debutante.
An open first five minutes saw Michael Ball weave into the West Ham area but just failing to thread it through to Vassell, and then Etherington squandered a good shooting opportunity straight away at the other end.
The Blues were trying to bring Castillo into the game as much as possible, and the Mexican’s pass to Ireland saw the Irishman cross it straight into Ferdinand’s hand inside the area – but no penalty was given.
On 16 minutes the Blues had another penalty claim dismissed when Martin Petrov was clearly felled by Anton Ferdinand, but once again Rob Styles ignored City’s protests.
The Bulgarian flew down the left flank five minutes later and put over a long cross to Stephen Ireland, whose volley forced Rob Green into a good save.
It was Joe Hart’s turn on 26 minutes, the England Under 21 getting down quickly to Etherington’s fierce shot at the far post, his chance having come from a Cole flick on. The youngster did well again eight minutes later, pushing a Noble free kick around his left hand post.
Another good Petrov run seemed to have set up Castillo for a dream debut just before half time, but Ferdinand timed his run well to concede a corner. A longer than expected period of stoppage time saw Corluka block Noble’s shot and the teams went in after an entertaining 45 minutes level.
City attacked towards their own fans in the Centenary Stand after the break, and Vedran Corluka broke through West Ham’s defence on 51, but the languid Croatian touched it just a shade too far in front of him and Green was able to smother the chance.
Ireland forced Green into another good stop on 57 minutes, the England international palming away a volley from a tight angle inside the box.
Richard Dunne left the field for a worrying four minutes after taking a blow to the head, but with Corluka shifting back into defence the Blues coped well while down to 10 men, and the skipper was back on to resume his duties.
Petrov got to the by line on 70 minutes and saw his teasing cross beat Green but bounce on the top of the crossbar before deflecting away from danger. Ashton zeroed in on Hart a couple of minutes later, but City’s keeper had it covered.
Hart made a crucial save to deny the same player with six minutes left, tipping a powerful header from close range over his own bar.
Petrov’s free kick in injury time was easily cleared, and as the four minutes added passed Richard Dunne conceded a corner to deny the onrushing Ashton. West Ham and their fans were screaming for a handball as the corner dropped into the box, but Rob Styles blew the whistle, and City could be pleased to be still in the hat when the fourth round draw would be made on Monday afternoon.
The replay will take place on Wednesday January 16th.
MCFC.co.uk man of the match: Michael Ball - being on the fringes must have fired up Michael, he gave another solid performance in defence and once again linked well with Petrov.