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Wednesday, 6th February 2002

West Ham United 2
Chelsea 3

by Graeme Howlett

West Ham's FA Cup dream is over for another season thanks to a last gasp winner from Chelsea's John Terry at the Boleyn tonight.

The winning goal came in the third minute of added on time to break watching Hammers hearts.

West Ham led their West London neighbours twice in a game full of flowing football, but failed to hang on to the lead on both occasions.

John Terry gave the Hammers a 37th minute lead when he deflected home a beautifully struck shot from Jermain Defoe, who led the front line with a performance that belied his age.

Chelsea equalised just six minutes later; a dubious goal if ever there was one. Tomas Repka handballed 20 yards from goal, and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink blasted the ball home whilst the Hammers were still arranging their wall.

The controversy arose through the part played by referee Graham Poll, who stood in front of the ball thus shielding David James' view, before moving aside - at the last possible moment - for Hasselbaink to shoot into an unguarded net.

Still, the Hammers took the lead for a second time thanks to some wonderful work on the right flank by Seb Schemmel. He won the ball to set up Don Hutchison whose sharp shot was spilled by Cudicini, only for Jermain Defoe to prod home.

The turning point of the game came when Chelsea introduced Zola and Forssell midway through the second half. Forsell was only on the pitch for four minutes before he capitalised on a horrendous error by Don Hutchison to notch the equaliser for the second time.

West Ham, already missing first choice strikers Paolo Di Canio (suspended) and Freddy Kanoute (injured, despite the club's website insisting he would play only hours earlier) were forced to introduce rookie Svetoslav Todorov for the ineffective Paul Kitson in the final minutes - perhaps the most telling difference. Whilst Chelsea's bench was full of players with international experience, the Hammers' had only Vladimir Labant with any real big game experience to call upon.

Christian Dailly was inches away from putting the Hammers in front for a third time with 5 minutes to go, but his header was somehow scramble off the line by keeper Cudicini.

You felt that there may be a sting in the tail of this one; sadly for the Hammers it came at the wrong end of the pitch.

Three minutes into injury time Graham Le Saux floated a corner into the box; John Terry amended for his earlier mistake by thundering a header into the right hand corner.

Seconds later referee Poll blew for full time; what a cruel way to lose. Last year it was Tottenham in the quarter final by the same score; if anything this one is harder to take, because of the manner in which it occurred.

Until tonight West Ham had conceded just seven goals this season at the Boleyn - tonight we were made to pay to the full for some basic errors, none worse than the horrendous blunder by Don Hutchison for Chelsea's second, when he tried to head the ball back to David James instead of clearing to safety. Substitute Forssell couldn't miss; Hutchison was mortified - as were several thousand other Hammers.

Glenn Roeder's serious handicap was the absence of both of his first choice strikers. His previous warning that the squad is too thin was proved by the personnel on show, and on the bench. One wonders where we might be tonight had the club splashed out on an extra player or two when Roeder first issued the warning before Christmas.

Indeed the board should shoulder their fair share of the blame for this defeat; the decision to charge Category A prices for the game meant that only 27,272 turned up - the lowest attendance since the opening of the new stand by some 4,000. Bearing in mind that 4,300 Chelsea fans were in attendance, roughly 10,000 regulars decided to watch the game live on TV courtesy of Sky instead of paying the ridiculously high prices. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

So for the second year in succession the Hammers were sent tumbling out of the FA Cup on their own turf by bitter London rivals. One can only guess when this team will win a trophy again; it's been 22 years since the last - and the way things are going we may well be waiting at least that long again.

Player ratings:

David James (9) Not at fault for either of the goals, once again you could argue that the margin of defeat would have been much greater but for England's number one. James was outstanding again tonight, defying Chelsea on several occasions - including one tremendous save at the feet of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. At the moment he must be wondering just why he joined this sorry shower.

Sebastien Schemmel (8) Archie was as up for this one as much as any of the paying supporters, desperate for a win. His tenacity paid off when he set up the second goal with some sterling work on the right wing. Defensively he was sound, and like James could be held in no way responsible for any of the goals.

Nigel Winterburn (7) Nige was dependable as ever tonight, without being spectacular. Unfortunately his lack of pace tends to show against the better sides, and it was a surprise that he wasn't rested instead of Don Hutchison when Vladimir Labant made his entrance. Still plenty of life in the old legs yet, and it will be a real bonus for Glenn Roeder if he does decide to stay on for another year.

Tomas Repka (6) Tomas had a great game - apart from the two blunders which led to goals for Chelsea. First, he gave away the free-kick which led to Hasselbaink's equaliser, then lost John Terry - who he was supposed to be marking - for the killer third. Apart from those errors he was faultless - but as errors go they were pretty damn costly.

Christian Dailly (8) Another terrific performance from Dailly; as Glenn Roeder rightly said earlier in the week, he is in the form of his life. Faultless again tonight, he almost capped his efforts with a goal right at the death - but Cudicini somehow kept his deft header out.

Don Hutchison (7) Don was having a fair game in all honesty, and his unjustified substitution resulted in the end of the Hammers attacking forays. His cross come shot created the second Hammers goal, and he contrived with Seb Schemmel on the right flank to prove a real threat to Chelsea throughout. However it will be the terrible blunder which resulted in Chelsea's second equaliser for which he will be most remembered - why oh why did he not head the ball out of play instead of attempting a suicidal back pass?

Trevor Sinclair (7) Trevor was absolutely outstanding in the first half - distinctly anonymous in the second. For the first time he had a better game on the left, where he ran Albert Ferrer ragged for 60 minutes. With the substitution of Don Hutchison he was moved over to the right, and he failed to have anything like the same kind of impact. Could have had one or two himself, especially one in the first half when he dragged his shot after a scintillating 60 yard run.

Joe Cole (6) The boy wonder was disappointing on the night. He has struggled in his last couple of games, and tonight he looked far from the Joe Cole we know and love. He gave the ball away too often, and struggled against Emmanuel Petit in the middle of the park. He had just the one chance to score when Jermain Defoe set him up on the edge of the box early in the game, but his shot sailed well wide. Off form, to say the least.

Steve Lomas (6) Lomas struggled to cope with the pace of the Chelsea midfield, and was constantly troubled by the Chelsea policy of offering the opposition no time on the ball. Too many passes went astray, and he reminded us what we are missing when Michael Carrick is absent. Only had one chance of any note but his shot was weak. Made captain for the night thanks to Paolo Di Canio's suspension, Lomas is going to find his first team appearances limited on this showing.

Paul Kitson (6) Kitson was pulled into the team as a late replacement for Freddie Kanoute, who is thought to have pulled his troublesome hamstring yet again during training. News of Kanoute's injury was widespread yesterday, so it remains a mystery as to why the club's website announced earlier today that he was definitely playing. Kidology maybe, but not much fun for the fans who had shelled out extra cash expecting to see him play. Back to Kitson(!), he squandered the best chance of the night when through one on one with Cudicini, but his shot was poor and easily saved. No reason to extend his contract in the summer judging by this.

Jermain Defoe (9) Jem was largely anonymous throughout the game, but still did exactly what he was paid to do - put the ball in the back of the net. His shot which led to our first was reminiscent of Paolo Di Canio's goal of the season against Wimbledon in execution; the volley with both feet off the floor which the bemused John Terry deflected home. The second showed his strikers instincts to the full; watching every possibility he pounced on an error by Cudicini to stab home our second of the night. Will start against Bolton at the weekend anyway, but on this form he deserves to start regardless of who is available. A clear man of the match.

Vladimir Labant (6) Introduced in place of the unfortunate Don Hutchison, Labant failed to emulate Trevor Sinclair's good work previously on the left flank. Again it was at set pieces that he was most dangerous; it was from one of his free kicks that Christian Dailly went agonisingly close. It will take Vlad a while to settle in, but the signs are there that he could prove to be a very useful addition to the squad.

Svetoslav Todorov (6) Probably more surprised that anybody to find himself on the pitch tonight. Admittedly he only had ten minutes or so to impress, but we might as well have been playing with ten men after he came on. For an established international (albeit only Bulgaria) he is so lightweight, it's unbelievable. Titi Camara must be in bloody awful shape if he can't get into the squad ahead of young Todorov.

KUMB Stats

West Ham United: James, Schemmel, Winterburn, Dailly, Repka, Sinclair, Hutchison, Lomas, Cole, Kitson, Defoe

Subs: Labant (Hutchison, 76), Todorov (Kitson, 82), Hislop, Foxe, Moncur

Chelsea: Cudicini, Ferrer, Le Saux, Terry, Desailly, Stanic, Dalla Bona, Lampard, Petit, Hasselbaink, Gudjonson

Subs: Zola (Dalla Bona, 61), Forssell (Gudjonson, 61), De Goey, Jakanovic, Huff

Goals: Terry (og 37, 90), Hasselbaink (43), Defoe (49), Forsell (65)

Booked: Repka (deliberate handball, 43), Stanic (foul, 62)

Referee: Graham Poll (5)

Attendance: 27,272

Man of the match: Jermain Defoe

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