David Hautzig's Match Report
Stockport County 0, West Ham 1. Still In The Hat.
Remember that great press conference Slav gave during his fine FA Cup run, where someone asked him what he would value more? Winning the FA Cup or qualifying for Champions League and he held up an imaginary cup with both hands? If the imagery of his hands didn’t answer the question, his grin and laugh certainly did. That press conference changed my priority as a supporter that year from Top Four to The Cup. And if VAR had been around there is more than a small probability that Manchester United would never have come back to Upton Park because that cheating jackass Schweinsteiger would have had his goal disallowed, he likely would have been booked, and we would moved on to the semi-finals. I cannot say that I still feel as strongly as I did that year, but my desire for a cup run has stayed intact. For now, it has.
When you can see the rain clear as day over the TV, you know the conditions are awful. Despite the similarities with a water park, West Ham started reasonably well in terms of time on the ball. Rice found Benrahma inside the box with a cross, but after creating space his shot went wide. Minutes later Yarmolenko tried a long range shot that also rolled wide.
Despite the expected majority of possession against a non-league side, after thirty minutes the Hammers didn’t have a shot on target. Chorley’s dismantling of Leeds over the weekend dispelled any notions that being lower or non-league automatically consigned a club to the scrap heap, and defensively Stockport County were giving it a go. Lanzini finally made Hinchliffe stop a shot in the 32nd minute, and a few minutes later he fed Antonio in the box, but his first touch failed him and Kitching was able to poke the ball away.
The first half wound down when Miniham chased down a deflection and won Stockport a corner. But his delivery went straight out and into the side netting.
Stockport County 0
West Ham 0
First it was Alex. Then Amanda. Then Carl. Then a text from Chris and an order from Kara. The phone didn’t stop ringing from the opening kick of the second half, and the fact is as much as I love West Ham I do need to prioritize work and family. I had the TV on, and I paced the room talking while watching. But as it turned out, virtually nothing happened until the 84th minute when Bowen whipped in a decent cross that Dawson of all people got on the end of to head it in the back of the net.
Stockport County 0
West Ham 1
It wasn’t pretty. It was, in fact, rather filthy. The conditions were horrible. But nobody got hurt, Antonio got some match fitness, Dawson scored his first goal for anyone in Donkey’s years, and West Ham are still in the hat.