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    West Ham United avoid FA Cup upset at rain-soaked Stockport County to secure fourth-round tie with Doncaster Rovers

    Craig Dawson scored his first goal for West Ham United to seal a 1-0 victory over National League side Stockport County.

    With just seven minutes of normal time remaining at a sodden Edgeley Park, the on-loan centre-back rose highest in the box to meet Jarrod Bowen’s in-swinging delivery to win the tie.

    Craig Dawson powered home his first ever West Ham goal to secure passage to the FA Cup fourth round

    It is 25 years since Stockport stunned the Hammers and knocked them out of this same competition, although it never appeared the non-league side would trouble their Premier League rivals.

    With 86 league places between the two sides, David Moyes would have hoped for a fast start – yet it was the fireworks in the 15th minute which was the biggest talking point of the first half.

    Said Benrahma grazed the outside of the post, but the east London side were met with stern opposition.

    As the rain continued to drench both the pitch and the players, Jim Gannon’s men looked to create something from a set-piece. Yet the delivery from set-pieces and wide areas was as dreary as the weather.

    Getty – Pool

    The fireworks set off outside Stockport were for 15-year-old local lad Khai Whitehead, who is currently fighting for his life after being hit by a police car responding to a 999 call

    In the end, it was the Premier League side who made a set-piece play when Declan Rice played a short corner with Bowen and the substitute found Dawson who powerfully headed home.

    The Hammers will take on Doncaster Rovers in the next round, with a daunting trip to either Manchester United or Liverpool in the fifth round awaiting them.

    Manuel Lanzini’s effort from the edge of the box was the only one of West Ham’s seven attempts that were on target in the opening 45 minutes, although Antonio twice failed to make the most of being put through.

    On the first occasion, Antonio was unable to cleanly collect Yarmolenko’s precision ball down the middle and was then denied by Mark Kitching’s superb last-gasp challenge as he shaped to shoot following Lanzini’s pinpoint pass.

    Jim Gannon would have hoped for better delivery from set-pieces for his side

    AFP

    Jim Gannon would have hoped for better delivery from set-pieces for his side

    Said Benrahma struggled on the sodden pitch to make an impact for West Ham

    AFP

    Said Benrahma struggled on the sodden pitch to make an impact for West Ham

    The pitch was becoming increasingly unpredictable, with the ball routinely stopping in surface water, which was proving something of a leveller for Stockport, who were more of an attacking force after the interval.

    After Connor Jennings saw his shot hacked clear, Richie Bennett was introduced in place of the subdued Alex Reid and nearly made an impact, dispossessing last-man Dawson, only for a wayward pass to end the opportunity.

    At the other end Benrahma fluffed an attempt from a narrow angle after Hinchliffe slipped while attempting to clear, while the Stockport custodian missed an attempted punch before using his feet to clear.

    By this stage West Ham were on the front foot, and a short corner was worked to Bowen, whose cross from the right was glanced into the net by Dawson as the deadlock was finally broken in the 83rd minute.

    Stockport offered little to suggest extra-time might be on the cards as West Ham comfortably held on to set up a fourth-round tie against Doncaster.

    Source: Read Full Article

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