83' Craig Dawson
Stockport County 0-1 West Ham United
Emirates FA Cup third round
West Ham United left it late but booked their place in the Emirates FA Cup fourth round thanks to Craig Dawson’s 83rd minute header at Stockport County on Monday night.
Fifth-tier Stockport stuck to their task admirably to restrict the Hammers’ chances at Edgeley Park, but quick thinking from Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen at a corner eventually broke them down to lay on the chance for Dawson.
West Ham’s reward is a home fourth round tie against Doncaster Rovers next weekend and they will be happy to have got the job done on a tricky night in the north west.
Hammers boss David Moyes named a strong side on a soggy night at Edgeley Park, and the visitors served notice of their intentions in a fast-paced opening.
They worked possession well in the opening stages to put their National League hosts under pressure, and they came within a whisker of opening the scoring with six minutes on the clock.
Rice hooked a pass over to Said Benrahma on the left-hand side of the penalty area, and he took the ball down before shifting onto his right foot and shooting for the bottom corner. His radar was just off, the ball kissing the base of the upright on its way wide.
To Stockport’s credit, they sat in their shape with great sturdiness over the remainder of the first half, forcing the visitors’ efforts to come in from range.
Andriy Yarmolenko, Rice and Benrahma all drilled wide from outside of the box, while Manuel Lanzini forced home keeper Ben Hinchliffe into a comfortable save. The half-time shot tally read 7-2 in West Ham’s favour, but Stockport would have been happy with where those efforts were coming from.
Their desire to protect their goal continued into the second half, and was in evidence when Rice drove powerfully into the box with 58 minutes played. The England man looked to deploy his quick feet to make space for the shot, but was eventually crowded out by a swarm of home defenders.
Midway through the half, Stockport enjoyed their best spell as Connor Jennings’ shot needed a block from Craig Dawson, before Angelo Ogbonna performed similarly to deny Richie Bennett the chance to test Darren Randolph, and the Hammers responded by introducing Bowen and Tomas Soucek from the bench.
The former was heavily involved in the game’s decisive moment seven minutes from time, collecting a short corner from Declan Rice to find a better angle for the cross, and his delivery was perfect, picking out Dawson’s well-timed run for the defender to plant a powerful header into the net.
Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Minihan (Thomas 86), Keane, Hogan, Hitching, Maynard, C.Jennings (Southam-Hales 82), Croasdale, Rooney (Hinchy 86), Williams (Palmer 86), Reid (Bennett 62)
Subs: Barnes, Gilmour, J.Jennings, Stott
West Ham United: Randolph, Coufal, Dawson, Ogbonna, Johnson (Cresswell 73), Noble, Rice, Yarmolenko (Soucek 68), Lanzini (Bowen 68), Benrahma (Fornals 90), Antonio (Odubeko 90)
Subs: Trott, Alves, Baptiste, Holland
Goal: Dawson 83
Referee: Mike Dean