Shrews Prove Tough But Hammers Progress
By Tom Dowsett
Wednesday 17 Jan 2018 13:57:00
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West Ham United needed extra-time but finally found a way past Sky Bet League One side Shrewsbury Town in Stratford to progress through to the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup on Tuesday night.

Only Angelo Ogbonna, Arthur Masuaku, Pedro Obiang and Manuel Lanzini retained their places from the weekend's win at Huddersfield Town, as David Moyes made seven changes, bringing in Joe Hart as captain, Sam Byram, Reece Burke, Reece Oxford, Josh Cullen, André Ayew and Antonio Martinez.

For periods in the first half, it looked as though it was going to be another frustrating night, as the visitors stuck with the style of play that they had employed in the original tie at Montgomery Waters Meadow but the hosts tried to break their resistance on a number of occasions.

The Premier League side created openings in the early stages but weren't able to break through.

Lanzini was first to have a go but unfortunately, his shot from outside the area failed to even test Shrews goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

Chances were few and far between as Paul Hurst's men were determined to keep it tight.

The Hammers fashioned another chance on 27 minutes when Cullen and Byram combined well. The former Leeds United defender found himself clear in the box but wasted the chance by poking wide.

After scoring twice at The John Smith's Stadium on Saturday, Lanzini had another great chance after 38 minutes but the luck wasn't with him, as his long-range freekick only stung Henderson's palms.

The Shrews were continuing to frustrate the Irons, as after 135 minutes of football, there was still nothing to separate the teams.

The second-half started and although the sides were still struggling to open the scoring, the majority of the home faithful thought that their team should have been awarded a penalty on 57 minutes. Lanzini was brought down by Aristote Nsiala but referee Jeremy Simpson gave nothing.

West Ham were able to breathe a sigh of relief six minutes later when the visitors missed a golden chance as Stefan Payne pounced on a loose pass from Oxford but fortunately, Hart was alert and made a crucial save.

Moyes decided to make a double change on 69 minutes as he looked to add more experience to his side so he brought on Mark Noble and Marko Arnautović in place of Oxford and Ayew.

The changes seemed to make a difference but still there was no sign of the deadlock being broken although Noble went close before the final whistle.

Just as four minutes of stoppage time were signalled, Moyes made his final change as Pablo Zabaleta was given the chance to replace Byram and make an appearance on his 33rd birthday.

Another 45 minutes had passed and the wait for a goal went on, so an extra 30 minutes were needed.

The home side were knocked out at this stage last season and were determined not to go the same way, especially to a lower league outfit. They were keen to finish the job off and Noble almost scored for the second time in the space of three days but, unfortunately for him, Ben Godfrey managed to clear his header off the line.

As the first period of extra-time came to a close, the Hammers saw another goalbound opportunity pass them by when a great piece of defending from substitute James Bolton prevented Lanzini from putting his side ahead.

As long as the goal drought went on, the prospect of a penalty shootout loomed but thankfully, it wasn't needed.

Burke finally confirmed West Ham's place in the fourth round with a rocket of a shot that Canoned in off the crossbar on 82 minutes. 

A corner wasn't properly dealt with and Martinez was able to play the defender in to claim his first goal for the club.

It is another away tie in the fourth round as Moyes will take his side to either AFC Bournemouth or Wigan Athletic on 26 January.

In fact, the Cherries provide the opposition for the Irons on Saturday afternoon, as they go in search of more Premier League points.

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