Sunday, February 21

Lover man Payet sees off wild Rovers

It's off to the Heeltap at London Bridge to watch this one with coffee-drinking Lisa and Matt (both preparing for shifts) and Michael the Heathian, hot from researching former Tory PMs. Matt's wearing his lucky Botafogo shirt, as you do. It's a slow start to the game, with Blackburn harrying at the heels of West Ham's passers. On 20 minutes Blackburn take the lead as Payet jumps out of the way and Antonio turns his back as Marshall drills a low shot into the corner, that Randolph should possibly have done better with. 

Thankfully we're up against a struggling Championship side. The Rovers midfield parts to allow Moses to run at their defence and fire in a low shot that goes straight through Jason Steele (whom as Matt says, sounds like a 1970s superhero). The Gav arrives with the score at 1-1 and orders a pint of Spitfire. He brings us good fortune as Taylor fouls Moses 30 yards out and Payet curls a sumptuous fee kick into the top corner. He makes it looks easy as lover man Dimitri runs into the arms of Super Slaven.

Ten minutes into the second half Taylor stupidly fouls Moses and receives a second yellow so we're up against ten men. At this point we force Matt to say that Emenike will never score for the Hammers. It works superbly. Emergency right-back Antonio, playing as a virtual winger, gets a shot in that's blocked; in the ensuing melee Kouyate pulls the ball across the box for Emenike to prod home. 

Emenike then hits the post when he should score and we have a series of 'goals' disallowed for offside. Kouyate is rather unlucky to be sent off for clipping Rovers' Henley on the edge of the box, as the contact looked minimal and the ball wasn't under Henley's control. The imperious Payet decides to finish the game off playing through Emenike, who rounds the keeper well to strike home. Two minutes into added time Payet glides from his own half takes on what seems like the entire Rovers' side and scores a stunning fifth. Seven thousand Hammers' fans celebrate again. Long time since we've scored five on the road.

We wonder if the Heeltap is the new lucky pub as Gav reminisces about the difficulties of finding a Zenit St Petersberg handbook in -21C Russia. 

A great result. So now it's Shrewsbury away in the quarter-finals — unless Man United pull off a giantkilling that is.

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