It was the last ever Cup game to be played at Upton Park and the anticipation of getting to the semi-finals of the FA Cup were huge. So much so, that the Hammers were installed as firm favourites to lift the Cup in our final year at the Boleyn.
A mate who supports City wished me good luck for the match, but I had a feeling that for LvG this game was going to be a Mark Robbins moment. And it was to be so.
Maybe the exploits of the draw against Arsenal took it out of us, but also Utd played on the Sunday, so there can’t be any real excuse. What was noticeable was that the Hammers were a little flat with the creativity of Lanzini and Payet seemingly lacking. Valencia was a little wasteful with the opportunities he was given in the first half which was annoying. Equally, there was nothing on the flanks to give Andy Carroll any service in the height department at all.
And then we had the Mark Robbins moment. Rashford, the product from the Man Utd youth academy scored an absolute peach of a curler. I have to acknowledge the quality there. That goal may have well saved LvG’s job with the crap season that they are having this year. That clown Fellani bundled in a second and such was the tension watching it on BBC1, I knew that the writing was on the wall and in frustration just switched the TV off……..
Now, I have mused before that I need to keep the faith, but this was hard to take as I was actually thinking of Wembley and albeit it was the semi-final which will be played there, it was within touching distance. Besides which the new little one had thrown up on me after having a big feed and nappy needed a change.
But I came back for more and it was excellent to see Tomkins get a goal with 10-odd minutes left to go, despite that oaf Fellani kicking him the chest for his efforts. West Ham were back in it – just and then all of a sudden there was a glimmer of hope. And thus we launched everything we could at Utd culminating in yet another disallowed goal by Kouyate and Carroll getting a hit just over the bar.
The tension was immense, but at the end of the 90, it was not to be. It was as though we had lost the final itself. I was quite down as well, as I really thought our name was on the Cup, BUT we have simply no right to assume.
Then you have all the twats on Farcebook calling for Bilic to be sacked and the team to be shot. Jesus, it was a bad day at the office, but with the lofty position that we are in at the moment and the run of unbeaten games in the League, this is what the pressure is all about. Fans are now expecting us to win every game and defeat is not acceptable. That is how far West Ham have come under Bilic’s first term.
OK, the Cup run is over, but we have the biggest game of the season on Saturday – against Leicester City. Now who would have thought that at the start of this season – Leics City trying to win the league and West Ham still after fourth spot.
“No, no, no, the season is not over. We are still in this season big time. Of course it’s a huge disappointment but we have six big games and we’re going to try to finish as high as possible.
“They are disappointed tonight and tomorrow but we have a few days until we face Leicester and we will bounce back.”
Fortunes always hiding.
West Ham: Randolph, Antonio, Tomkins, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyate, Noble, Valencia (Moses 62), Lanzini (Emenike 74), Payet, Carroll
Subs not used: Adrian, Obiang, Collins, Hendrie, Oxford
Manchester United: De Gea, Fosu-Mensah, Smalling, Blind, Rojo (A Valencia 67), Fellaini, Carrick, Lingard, Ander Herrera (Schneiderlin 76), Martial, Rashford (Rooney 88)
Subs not used: Depay, Mata, Young, Romero
Bookings: Carrick, Rojo, Herrera
Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)