Premier League duo West Ham United and West Brom were pushed all the way to extra-time and beyond after narrowly fending off Liverpool and Peterborough United respectively and advance into the last-16 of the Emirates FA Cup.
Tuesday night saw the Boleyn Ground host this week’s all English top-flight clash between the Hammers and Reds; with both managers, Slaven Bilic and Jurgen Klopp, making wholesale changes to their first-team squads.
Summer signing Angelo Ogbonna was the home side’s hero as the centre-half’s dramatic 121st minute header sealed a 2-1 home win to take West Ham another step closer towards Wembley Stadium.
Teammate Michail Antonio volleyed the Hammers in front on the stroke of half-time with a classy finish, before Brazil international Philippe Coutinho brought the visitors level after just three minutes in the second period with a clever free-kick that sneaked under the wall.
But after both side’s hit the woodwork; this fourth-round replay tie was forced into extra-time, where West Ham’s £10m buy from Juventus, Ogbonna, stole the limelight and booked his team’s place in the next round after heading home Dimitri Payet’s whipped in free-kick to send the crowd into raptures.
Bilic’s men will now face Championship out Blackburn Rovers in the fifth-round later this month (February 21).
Meanwhile fellow English top-flight side West Brom were forced into a nervy penalty shootout at League One Peterborough following their initial 1-1 stalemate at London Road.
Midfielder Jon Taylor, who scored Posh’s equaliser back at The Hawthorns in their original encounter last month, fired Graham Westley’s men in front just ten minutes after the break after his deflected effort creeped past Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster, only for Darren Fletcher to smash home a glorious half-volley from the edge of the penalty box with 20 minutes remaining.
After fatigue began to take its toll on both sets of players; the winner to face Reading in the fifth-round of the FA Cup (February 20) would eventually have to be decided in a shootout, although England Under-21 international Saido Berahino missed a wonderful headed chance at the death to snatch a late victory for the Premier League away team.
Nevertheless; Tony Pulis’ men prevailed victors as Peterborough striker Lee Angol saw his tame effort from 18 yards easily saved by shot stopper Foster to conclude their 4-3 shootout win.