Anniversary

Herita Ilunga
Born: 25 February 1982, Kinshasa, DR Congo
Clubs: Espanyol B, Saint-Etienne, Toulouse, West Ham United (loan), West Ham United, Doncaster Rovers (loan)

Left-back Herita Ilunga quickly won a place in the hearts fo West Ham United supporters following his arrival on loan from French club Toulouse on transfer deadline day in September 2008. The unheralded DR Congo international enjoyed an outstanding first season in east London under rookie manager Gianfranco Zola, helping the Hammers to finish ninth in the Premier League table.

Ilunga scored his first goal for the club in the 3-0 home FA Cup third-round win against Barnsley on 3 January 2009 and added a second goal against Middlesbrough in the fifth-round. However, Ilunga's fine form was rewarded with a new long-term contract in summer 2009, but injuries and loss of form meant his appearances were more sporadic in subsequent seasons.

After playing five times under Sam Allardyce at the start of the 2011/12 campaign, Ilunga was loaned to npower Championship club Doncaster Rovers before having his contract mutually terminated in January 2012. In all, he made 73 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions, scoring three goals.

Classic Match

Blackburn Rovers 1-1 West Ham United
(West Ham United win 5-4 on penalties)
FA Cup fifth-round replay
25 February 1998

Having drawn a pulsating Valentine's Day game at the Boleyn Ground 2-2, a replay to decide this FA Cup fifth-round tie was needed. A largely forgettable 90 minutes gave way to a pulsating period of extra time in which John Hartson gave the Hammers the lead before Stuart Ripley's equaliser six minutes from time sent the game to penalties.

With the score at 4-4, Hammers goalkeeper Craig Forrest made himself a hero by saving Colin Hendry's spot-kick to send the away supporters into rapture. The Hammers were knocked out in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Arsenal, but their fantastic run equalled West Ham's best FA Cup performance since the 1990/91 season when they reached the semi-finals.

Alongside Forrest, West Ham's team at Ewood Park included Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard, Eyal Berkovic and future reserve-team manager and current St. Johnstone boss Steve Lomas.

Complete record - 25 February

2012 West Ham United 0-0 Crystal Palace (Championship)
2009 Middlesbrough 2-0 West Ham United (FA Cup fifth round replay)
1998 Blackburn Rovers 1-1 West Ham United (FA Cup fifth round replay)
West Ham United won 5-4 on penalties
1995 West Ham United 1-2 Chelsea (Premier League)
1989 West Ham United 0-0 Queens Park Rangers (Division One)
1987 West Ham United 0-2 Sheffield Wednesday (FA Cup fifth round replay)
1984 Norwich City 1-0 West Ham United (Division One)
1978 West Ham United 2-2 Arsenal (Division One)
1967 Everton 4-0 West Ham United (Division One)
1961 Birmingham City 4-2 West Ham United (Division One)
1956 West Ham United 2-0 Liverpool (Division Two)
1950 Chesterfield 1-0 West Ham United (Division Two)
1939 Newcastle United 2-0 West Ham United (Division Two)
1928 West Ham United 1-2 Bury (Division One)
1922 West Ham United 2-1 Notts County (Division Two)

Overall record for 25 February, Played 15, Won 2, Drawn 4, Lost 9, Scored 11, Conceded 24

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