2014/15 Season Review - January

A busy start to 2015 saw the Hammers enjoy one of the most exciting games in living memory
West Ham United faced a busy start to 2015 as the FA Cup got under way. Despite the dark wintery January days, the Hammers enjoyed one of the most exciting games in living memory as Adrian’s penalty shootout heroics left the fans dreaming of Wembley…

The Hammers fixture against West Bromwich Albion side on New Year’s Day was one marked down as one to win, yet the Baggies were rejuvenated following the appointment of Tony Pulis. 

While the experienced manager was only watching from the stands, his impact could be felt on the pitch. Diafra Sakho’s opener was cancelled out by Saido Berahino who capitalised following a break-away.  

Cup fever then descended on the country with the FA Cup third round. The Hammers made the journey to the Blue half of Merseyside, for the second time, and again, Romelu Lukaku did his best to ruin the party. 

James Collins’ bullet header looked to have given the Hammers safe passage to the fourth round yet the dominating Belgian had other ideas, equalising with seconds to go. 

Before the two teams did battle again in the replay, the Irons faced a difficult away trip to Garry Monk’s high-flying Swansea City. 

In a tight affair, Andy Carroll scored a simply majestic opening goal. The big No9 controlled the ball expertly, before shifting his feet with breath-taking poise and elegance before lashing a shot into the top corner. A goal any forward would’ve been proud of. 

Unfortunately, the Swans refused to be cowed and their efforts came to fruition via a Mark Noble own-goal. The ball hit the midfielder on the line who could not readjust in time. A goal as unfortunate as Carroll’s was classy. 

Just three days later and the Hammers were in action again. There was little to suggest prior to kick off that the game would turn out to be a classic, but a classic it certainly was. 

In a pulsating match, Enner Valencia scored his first goal at the Boleyn, a neat finish from Carroll’s knock-down, shortly before Aiden McGeady got himself sent off for two clumsy challenges.  Substitute Kevin Mirallas’ rocket free-kick took the game to extra time. 

Tormentor-in-chief Romelu Lukaku was up to his old tricks again however Carlton Cole’s poked finish ensured the game would be decided on a dreaded penalty shootout. 

There would be more drama to come as the penalty shootout entered sudden death with the goalkeepers called up. Up-stepped Adrian, who flung his gloves away midway through his run up and smashed it past Joel Robles. He wheeled away in delight as his teammates flung themselves on him. It was a sight few will ever forget. 

Buoyed by the epic victory, the Irons took the momentum into their league campaign, securing a comfortable 3-0 win over Hull City.

The Hammers tamed the Tigers with second-half goals from Andy Carroll, Morgan Amalfitano and Stewart Downing. The Frenchman finished the move he started with a burst into the box while the English international raced onto Alex Song’s threaded through-ball. 

January continued to be prosperous as the Hammers cup run gathered pace with a narrow 1-0 win over League One highflyers Bristol City. 

Despite a rather sluggish performance, substitute Diafra Sakho bagged the all-important winner nine minutes from time. 

By the last game of January, West Ham found themselves six games unbeaten, however the busy schedule took its toll on a squad hit by injury as they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield, leaving the Hammers eighth in the table.