FA Cup hero Burke: I was over the moon!
Reece Burke was a proud young man after scoring his first goal for his boyhood club.
The Newham-born lifelong West Ham United fan fired the Hammers through to the Emirates FA Cup fourth round with an extra-time winner to finally see of Shrewsbury Town at London Stadium.
Burke settled a closely-fought tie by slamming the ball into the net via the underside of the crossbar after being set up by fellow youngster Toni Martinez just eight minutes before the tie would have been settled by a penalty shootout.
“I was over the moon! I just thought I’d keep my eyes on it and hit it as hard as I can and it went in, so I was really pleased,” said the defender. “I had goose bumps when the ball went in and if you watch my celebration, I didn’t know what to do!
“I’ve got 14 of my family here watching, so they’ll be very happy for me, and I‘m sure my Dad will be buzzing. It’s unbelievable to score for my Club, where I’m from, and it was really needed.
“We would have like to have won the game in normal time, but it obviously went to extra-time and we didn’t really want penalties. I’m pleased to have got the winner and we’re through to the next round, so happy days!”
I had goose bumps when the ball went in and if you watch my celebration, I didn’t know what to do!
Burke returned from a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers to keep two clean sheets against the Shrews and hopes his displays will earn him more action in Claret and Blue.
“It’s a massive boost for myself. There are still some talks about me going back to Bolton, but I’ve put a spanner in the works now. I’ll see what the gaffer wants to do. If I’m here, I’ll give my best and, if not, I’ll go on loan do that elsewhere.
“I would like to stay here and get game time, but that’s not my decision.”
Fellow fan Mark Noble was full of praise for his 21-year-old teammate, who grew up within walking distance of the Boleyn Ground and made his debut four years ago in a 5-0 FA Cup third-round defeat at Nottingham Forest.
That nightmare was forgotten as Burke enjoyed a moment he will never forget to set up a fourth round meeting with either AFC Bournemouth or the club he played for ten times on loan last season, Wigan Athletic.
“To score in front of this crowd, as a local boy like myself, is great,” said Noble. “I know his Dad pretty well and I’m pretty sure he is bouncing about somewhere! It’s a great moment. Scoring for the club you support, you can’t beat that, can you?
“I thought we managed to get in behind them a little bit more and looked more of a threat after Marko came on. To be honest, we should have killed the game off earlier but we didn’t, which was obviously better for Reece because he got the winner.
“All in all, it’s a good night. Shrewsbury were great and brought a lot of fans. They deserved a cup tie, but obviously we’ve gone through to the next round.”