FA Cup
West Ham United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers 

Wednesday, 15th March 2006
by Graeme Howlett

West Ham are through to the last eight of the FA Cup after narrowly defeating Bolton in tonight's fifth round replay at The Boleyn Ground.

The Hammers - thrashed 4-1 by Bolton just four days earlier - are through to the quarter-finals but it took extra-time and a Marlon Harewood winner to decide a tie which was evenly balanced from the start.

Bolton - who probably just shaded overall possession - failed to make the most of their numerous opportunities and paid the price when Harewood scored the deciding goal in the 6th minute of the first period of extra-time.

Tonight's meeting was the fifth between the sides this season; Bolton went into this evening's game having won three, with the other - the first tie in this contest - finishing in a goalless draw.

But the form book was turned upside down when the Hammers drew first blood after just 10 minutes thanks to a farcical own goal eventually accredited to the unfortunate Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Nigel Reo-Coker released the ball down the right flank to Marlon Harewood, who crossed first time into the box. There seemed to be no immediate danger for Bolton defender Nicky Hunt but his rather hasty clearance hit the prone Jaaskelainen and deflected straight into the Bolton net. Alan Pardew had bemoaned his luck against Bolton prior to this meeting; he couldn't really have asked for much more.

As the game progressed Bolton began to take charge, bossing important areas of the field. The equaliser - which arrived on 31 minutes - took nobody - except perhaps poor Shaka Hislop - by surprise.

A poor ball from Nigel Reo-Coker allowed Bolton to win possession, and Kevin Davies found himself in acres of space on the edge of the penalty area. His fierce shot appeared to swerve slightly in the air and caught Hislop flat footed, although there really can be no excuse for the Hammers keeper whose flap merely diverted the ball an inch or two higher into the net.

Both sides had chances to win the game in normal time; Bolton notably missing two glorious chances in the latter stages of the second half, whilst Matty Etherington went closest for the Hammers when he failed to connect on a loose ball no more than three yards from the Bolton goal.

So the game continued into extra time, and just six minutes in Harewood notched what proved to be the winning goal. Yossi Benayoun - who had had a quiet night - surged down the right flank before delivering a low ball toward the near post. In a carbon copy of Joe Cole's recent winner for England against Uruguay, Harewood's gentle touch glanced the ball over and beyond Jaaskelainen into the roof of the Bolton net.

As much as Bolton tried they could only produce half-chances after Harewood's goal and so it proved to be enough to see the Hammers through to the quarter-finals (and a possible third visit to the Millennium Stadium in three years), with an away tie against Manchester City the prize.

That game comes next Monday evening - just 48 hours after the Hammers take on Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth at the Boleyn in the league.

We'll have a full match report for you soon.

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Player Ratings

Shaka Hislop
A poor night for for the Hammers keeper who looked nervous and far from commanding. Bolton's goal summed up his night.

Lionel Scaloni
A much better performance than in recent outings.

Paul Konchesky
Rarely had the opportunity to break forward although made some vital challenges in and around the box.

Danny Gabbidon
Another superb performance from West Ham's Mr.Consistent; he was always on hand when it mattered.

Anton Ferdinand
Stood strong at the heart of the Hammers defence in the face of wave after wave of Bolton attacks.

Hayden Mullins
Top-notch effort protecting the back four. Some excellent distribution to boot.

Nigel Reo-Coker
Battled hard against a strong Bolton midfield; his booking only arose as a result of a previous challenge which Rob Styles had let go as Bolton had retained possession (which eventually led to their goal).

Yossi Benayoun
Out of the game for long periods (as he often has been in our meetings with Bolton this season) - but on hand to deliver a vital cross when it mattered.

Matthew Etherington
Superb performace full of drive and passion from Ethers - although you wouldn't have backed him when he squared up against Nolan.

Marlon Harewood
Worked hard for little gain and was about to be substituted when he scored the winning goal. His excellent cross also led to West Ham's opener.

Dean Ashton
Struggled to get into the game and was eventually replaced halfway through extra-time.


Christian Dailly
(Replaced Reo-Coker, 98) With shades of last season's play-off final win over Preston, Dailly came on in extra-time to shore up a defence that looked in danger of collapsing. Job done.

Bobby Zamora
(Replaced Etherington, 105) Missed an absolute sitter to put the game beyond any doubt toward the end of extra-time but his constant harrying of the Bolton defence in the 15 minutes he was on the pitch ensured the Hammers continued to defend from the front.

Teddy Sheringham
(Replaced Ashton, 105) Rarely involed during his brief period on the field.

Stephen Bywater
Did not play.

Clive Clarke
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Shaka Hislop, Lionel Scaloni, Paul Konchesky, Danny Gabbidon, Anton Ferdinand, Hayden Mullins, Nigel Reo-Coker, Yossi Benayoun, Matthew Etherington, Marlon Harewood, Dean Ashton.

Goals: Jussi Jaaskelainen og 10 Marlon Harewood 96                .

Booked: Matthew Etherington 12 Marlon Harewood 17 Nigel Reo-Coker 53      .

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Ben Haim, Jaidi, Hunt, Faye, Nolan, Speed, Giannakopoulos, Okocha, Gardner, Davies.

Subs not used: Al Habsi, N'Gotty.

Goals: Davies (31).

Booked: Nolan (12), Ben Haim (28).

Sent off: None.

Referee: R.Styles.

Attendance: 24,685.

Man of the Match: Hayden Mullins.