Randolph – there’s no better way to win

Darren Randolph insists victory doesn’t come any sweeter, after Tuesday’s dramatic fourth-round replay success over Liverpool fired West Ham United into the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup. 

While matchwinner Angelo Ogbonna inevitably grabbed the headlines for his stunning 121st-minute winner, stopper Randolph more than played his part in an enthralling cup tie under the lights at the Boleyn Ground. 

The 28-year-old repeatedly foiled the Reds on the night, most notably when Christian Benteke bore down on goal in the first half of extra time. As the clock ticked down, Randolph was naturally beginning to contemplate penalties, until Ogbonna settled it in emphatic fashion.         

“There’s no better way to win a football match,” he told West Ham TV.

“I honestly did [think we were going to win], especially the way we started the game. I always knew we'd get chances, it just depended on if we could take them. 

“I had a little bit of hope coming towards the end of the game, and when we got the free-kick out wide and I thought, well, this is the last chance. Obviously we need to score, otherwise it's penalties. 

“I was looking at the clock and it was 14 minutes or so, and I was looking over at the bench, trying to get Woods' attention to try and get the penalties ready, just in case. Thankfully, they weren't needed.

“It was a proper cup tie, end to end, loads of chances, and both ‘keepers were pretty busy. I'm just happy to be through, get the win and look forward to the next game.” 

Randolph heaped praise on the Hammers’ two goalscorers, both of whom took their goals with aplomb. Though Michail Antonio was keen to play down the difficulty of his fine volley, West Ham’s No1 was having none of it.      

Randolph continued: “He [Antonio] made it look easy, but technically trying to keep a ball like that down and actually get it back across the goal into the corner, as he did, was brilliant.” 

And the Republic of Ireland international was pleased as punch to see the hardworking Ogbonna net his first goal for the Club.  

“There’s no better time for him to get a goal, he was brilliant all night. Everybody was, everyone needed to put in a shift, we knew it was going to be a tough night. 

“It was obviously a stronger Liverpool team than in the first game and then you look at who they were bringing off the bench as well. I’m pleased for Angelo, he definitely deserves it.” 

Having played every minute thus far, and only conceded the once, Randolph is thoroughly enjoying the Hammers’ cup adventure and hopes his side can extend their involvement long beyond their trip to Ewood Park on Sunday 21 February.    

“The cup run's been good so far. Hopefully we can keep going and make it a memorable cup run.

“We'll fancy ourselves in that game, again take big support up there, hopefully get through that game and then it would be nice to get a home cup tie and that would get us into the semis to go to Wembley!”