By Lee Savery
Robin van Persie’s stoppage time equaliser forced a replay between the two United’s after a tight affair at Upton Park.
Two identical goals had put West Ham in front. Both were crossed by Hammers débutante Joe Cole on the left for James Collins to head in, unmarked in the bottom right-hand corner at both ends of the pitch.
Manchester United had started brightly and a good FA Cup run was certainly on the mind having not won the trophy since 2004. They took the lead through Tom Cleverley after a stunning counter-attack. He finished after a cross, from the right, by Javier Hernandez.
The matched lacked any real quality for long periods and clear chances were a rarity. In the first half both teams had the ball cleared off the line with one a header from Nemanja Vidic. Hernandez also came close to latching onto a Smalling cross before Cleverley’s opener.
The second half followed the pattern of the first and when Collins had headed in his second on the hour mark, the result seemed to be dwindling one way. Danny Welbeck and Ryan Giggs both missed headers from close range as the Red Devils struggled to create anything.
Giggs would make up for his miss with a terrific 50-yard pass to find van Persie who took the ball down beautifully with his left foot before running at goal and stroking it past Jussi Jaaskelainen. The Dutchman saving United once more in an another memorable moment of his début season.
It wasn’t a great display but the two substitutes combined to make sure United are in tomorrow’s draw for the fourth round of the FA Cup. The replay will be played at Old Trafford on either 15th or 16th January.
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