Cup Triumph Over Canaries

HAMMERS have won through to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup with a magnificent 1-0 win over Premiership Norwich City.

Marlon Harewood scored the only goal of this pulsating cup-tie with just ten minutes left, to the delight of a rapturous Upton Park crowd.

With his resources depleted by injuries and suspensions, Alan Pardew made five changes from the side that began against Sheffield United.

James Walker, fit again after a groin operation, continued his record of playing in every cup game this season by replacing Stephen Bywater in goal, while Anton Ferdinand, Sergei Rebrov and Luke Chadwick were all recalled.

Pards handed a full West Ham United debut to 17-year-old Academy graduate Mark Noble after the England Under-18 captain had impressed in the Reserves.

Over 4,000 Canaries fans descended on East London for the game and it made for a crackling atmosphere inside Upton Park.

Pushing forward against their Premiership opponents, the first chance of the match fell to the Hammers. Sergei Rebrov's 25-yard free-kick struck the Norwich wall and bounced loose into the penalty area, sparking an almighty goalmouth scramble that was eventually ended by the intervention of referee Uriah Rennie.

With 12 minutes gone a chance dropped to the lively Noble, but his shot from Chadwick's cross was blocked, before Rebrov curled in a wonderful effort that was well saved by Norwich goalkeeper Robert Green.

As the ball bounced from end to end Norwich might have scored had Walker not blocked well at Darren Huckerby's feet. The Hammers 'keeper had to be on his guard again ten minutes later, parrying a rasping drive from Jim Brennan that looked destined for the bottom corner.

Yet it was the Hammers making most of the running. With half an hour gone Canaries old boy Malky Mackay tested Green with a header, before Chadwick danced his way to the by-line cut the ball back only to see it allude everyone inside the box.

On 36 minutes Hammers relentless pressure created another chance. Hayden Mullins, deployed in a central midfield role, bringing a fine save out of Green with a skidding shot that the goalkeeper did well to tip away for a corner.

As a barrage of crosses rained into the Norwich box, Chadwick saw his fierce drive blocked while Noble's attempted lob dropped safely into the hands of Green.

For their part, Norwich fought hard to make it a pulsating cup-tie, but at the half-time whistle the team's were still deadlocked at 0-0.
HT: 0-0

The second-half began with an almighty scare for Alan Pardew's men. West Ham's defence were caught napping and Huckerby burst clear. Bearing down on Walker he slotted the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper, but thankfully for the Hammers it deflected back off the inside of the post.

Hammers responded by immediately slipping back into their first-half rhythm. Carl Fletcher's header brought an alert save out of Robert Green, before Chris Powell fired over after the ball had broken to him in the box.

A mistake by Tomas Repka on 63 minutes gifted Norwich a chance. The Czech defender's back pass went straight to Huckerby who surged away and played in Mattias Jonson, but Walker came out to make a magnificent block.

This cracking cup-tie continued to throw up chance after chance. The next one came to the hosts as Sergei Rebrov floated in a free-kick from all of 30 yards that was dipping towards the top corner before Green clawed it away.

Finally, with 80 minutes played, West Ham's dominance was at last converted into a goal. It came from the simplest and most incisive of moves.

The impressive Chadwick broke away down the right and crossed low for Harewood who swept the ball past Green from close range.

Immediately Norwich pushed forward for an equaliser and they would have found it too, had it not been for an outstanding double save from Walker.

First the Hammers goalkeeper blocked Huckerby's shot, before scrambling across his goal to save Brennan's follow-up effort.

Chris Cohen replaced Chadwick with a minute left, but it was the Hammers defence that had to be alert as Norwich bombarded Walker's goal.

They could not find it though as West Ham held firm to claim the scalp of Premiership Norwich and go through to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup.