HAMMERS and Sheffield United will need a replay to decide who
will progress to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup, after the
team's fought-out a 1-1 draw at Upton Park.
Marlon Harewood's delightful volley gave West Ham United a 1-0 half-time lead, but Phil Jagielka's second-half equaliser ensured there would be no winner on a wet and windy afternoon in East London.
Alan Pardew made four changes to the side that lost against Derby County. Stephen Bywater was recalled in goal in place of Jimmy Walker, Mark Noble stepped in for the injured Gavin Williams and fit again Anton Ferdinand and Teddy Sheringham returned to replace Nigel Reo-Coker and Sergei Rebrov respectively.
Neil Warnock made just one change to his Sheffield United side that won 2-0 at the Boleyn Ground at the start of January, Nick Montgomery replacing the suspended Alan Quinn.
The game began with a cup-tie atmosphere crackling around Upton Park, and Alan Pardew's men didn't take long to register their first effort on goal, Marlon Harewood dragging his shot wide from the edge of the area.
Five minutes later Harewood chested Tomas Repka's cross into the path of Hayden Mullins who drilled his shot low, but wide of Paddy Kenny's right-hand post.
It was all West Ham, and on 14 minutes Harewood tested Kenny for the first time with a stinging drive that the Blades 'keeper beat away.
Mark Noble's surging run from midfield earned Hammers a free-kick on the edge of the area, but Teddy Sheringham's effort was repelled by the Blades' luminous orange defensive wall.
At the other end, Sheffield United's first noteworthy effort owed more to the optimism of Andy Gray than any real endeavour, as his volleyed effort dribbled harmlessly wide.
The visitors' next attempt was for more genuine, Michael Tonge's curling 25-yard effort grazing Bywater's post, before Harewood reminded the Blades of his threat with a powerful header from Noble's corner that flew just wide.
Neil Warnock's side came to disrupt the flow of the game, and succeeded in sparking a series of petulant scuffles that referee Dermot Gallagher quickly dispersed.
The Hammers refused to be rattled, though, and took a well-deserved lead six minutes from half-time. Teddy Sheringham provided the classy touch needed to release Harewood, and the striker bustled his way through to lob Kenny with an exquisite volley.
Unable to match West Ham's determination, Sheffield United looked rattled and could do nothing but soak up Hammers pressure until half-time.
Dominant during the first-half, Hammers needed more of the same
after the break.
For the first 10 minutes Alan Pardew's men looked comfortable, until Phil Jagielka's header on 57 minutes hauled the Blades level. Andy Liddell crossed from the right for Jagielka to head down. Bywater got down to the ball, but despite clawing it back from the goal-line there was to be no Man United style escape as the linesman on the far side ruled that the ball had crossed the line.
Sheringham powered a header just wide, but at 1-1 the game was as even as the scoreline suggested.
There was plenty of cup-tie gusto to the second-half, but resolute defending from both sides was keeping the chances to a minimum.
Pards brought on Nigel Reo-Coker for Luke Chadwick after 76 minutes, as West Ham pushed forward in search of a place in the Fifth Round. In response, the Blades introduced Jonathan Forte for Andy Liddell in attack.
Hammers established a thread of dominance in the last 10 minutes and Sergei Rebrov came on for Hayden Mullins six minutes from time to try and make the pressure count.
With the minutes ticking away Rebrov headed straight into the grateful arms of Kenny from Repka's cross, but that was the closest Upton Park came to seeing a result.
The Fourth official called for three minutes of time to be added, but still neither side could fashion a opening as this FA Cup Fourth Round clash ended 1-1 and will now need a replay at Bramell Lane to decide who will progress to the Fifth Round.