West Ham 1-1 Blades - Blades pens win
Sheffield United's magical cup nights continue - West Ham are the latest Premiership victims.
The Blades recorded a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory at Upton Park - Ben Davies, Neill Collins, Marc McNulty and Jay McEveley all netted with their spot-kicks, leaving Michael Doyle to win it after Mark Howard saved from Enner Valencia.
A total of 1,385 Blades fans made the trip to the capital to see Nigel Clough's side match the Premiership outfit for 120 minutes. Diafra Sakho gave West Ham the lead but Winston Reid turned a cross from Bob Harris into his own net in the second half.
Clough made three changes for the second round fixture at West Ham. Harris, Flynn and McNulty all started at the expense of McEveley, Murphy and Higdon, all of whom dropped to the bench. Summer signing Wallace was also amongst United's substitutes.
United's attempts to keep West Ham quiet in the opening 20 minutes were successful. World Cup player Valencia's run came to nothing on eight minutes and then Diame's header, under pressure, was well wide.
The Blades, meanwhile, saw Baxter and McNulty link up well early on, the former's threaded ball to the latter forced Reid into a crucial block and from the resulting corner Alcock volleyed wide.
A spell of West Ham pressure then kept the Blades defence, particularly Howard, on their toes. In the space of 14 first-half minutes, the goalkeeper was forced into saves from Valencia, Diame, Morrison and Burke, whilst Morrison also half-volleyed over the crossbar.
West Ham's pressure, however, told on 40 minutes. Poyet's diagonal cross from the right saw SAKHO's back header loop over Howard into the corner of the net.
The remainder of the first-half passed without incident and United created the first chance after the interval. Harris robbed Diame and from Flynn's left-wing cross McNulty stepped across his marker but could not get enough purchase to trouble Jaaskelainen.
United were level on 58 minutes, though. Harris delivered the cross from the left, McNulty was in close attendance but the ball struck the shins of defender REID, which deflected it past his own goalkeeper. The goal spurred on the Blades and further crosses from Davies and Harris caused the home side problems.
West Ham hit back with a dangerous cross from Downing but Vaz Te's powerful shot was blocked by Alcock and soon after Harris was carried off, replaced by McEveley.
Alcock leapt and powerfully headed over from a Davies cross as the final ten minutes approached, whilst a flying save from Howard on 82 minutes, keeping out Downing's shot, was impressive.
Campbell-Ryce replaced Flynn but West Ham were applying late pressure. Howard saved from Zarate and Valencia's shot was blocked in a crowded penalty area. Doyle was booked as four minutes of injury time was announced and the Blades were on the offensive for much of the added period before the referee's whistle signalled extra-time.
The first opportunity of extra-time arrived on 98 minutes but Valencia's effort was deflected wide and then Noble tried his luck from distance.
Clough's final change was to hand Wallace a debut, replacing Baxter, whilst the next chance came from a corner and McEveley's shot was spilled by Jaaskelainen, the goalkeeper relying on a defender to hack clear. Campbell-Ryce then cut in from the left and fired wide.
The Blades had the better of the first period of extra-time but soon after the turn around a Noble free-kick troubled Howard. Collins then blocked efforts from Noble and Downing and the big United defender then went up the other end and headed a Davies corner over the angle of crossbar and post.
With five minutes remaining Downing's long-ranger was well off target and then a 25-yard free-kick from Valencia stuck to the gloves of Howard - the final chance before the lottery of penalties...
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Reid, Vaz Te (Zarate 79), Morrison (Noble 98), Sakho (Downing 63), Demel, Diame, Poyet, Valencia, Burke, Potts.
Unused: Spiegel, Oxford, Lee, Page.
Blades: Howard, Alcock, Harris (McEveley 73), Basham, Flynn (Campbell-Ryce 84), Doyle, Baxter (Wallace 100), McNulty, Collins, Davies, McGahey.
Unused: Murphy, Higdon, Reed, Turner.
Penalties (West Ham first)
Noble... scored... 1-0 Davies... scored... 1-1
Downing... scored... 2-1 Collins... scored... 2-2
Zarate... scored.... 3-2 McNulty... scored... 3-3
Poyet... scored... 4-3 McEveley... scored... 4-4
Valencia... saved... 4-4 Doyle... scored... 4-5
Blades win 5-4 for penalties.