Kidderminster agony as last-gasp West Ham escape biggest ever FA Cup shock

Alex Penny celebrates scoring Kidderminster's goal (pic: @khfcofficial, Twitter)

Kidderminster Harriers came within 90 seconds of producing the greatest upset in FA Cup history as they almost knocked out Premier League high-flyers West Ham.

In a nervy, pulsating fourth-round tie in front of a bumper 5,277 crowd at Aggborough, they held a 1-0 lead for most of the game before Hammers midfielder Declan Rice ran through to equalise in the second minute of added time.

Half an hour of extra time followed but, with a penalty shootout looming, David Moyes' side again scored in stoppage time to scrape a 2-1 win.

A sixth-tier team has never beaten a top-flight team in the competition's 151-year history.

While West Ham's overall performance drew justified criticism, their National League North opponents - 113 league places beneath them - were up for the fight right from kick-off.

After sustaining an early shot from Ben Johnson, Harriers nearly took the lead when the ball fell to Sam Austin on the edge of the area, but his clean strike was aimed straight at Hammers keeper Alphonse Areola.

But minutes later, Russell Penn's side went ahead after a free-kick swung in from the left-hand side was parried by Areola and the ball, via a deflection, fell into the path of right-back Alex Penny, who struck into the net to send the fans into raptures.

The expected West Ham response never came, with a combination of poor passes, missed opportunities and resolute Harriers pressing keeping them at bay.

In the second half the Londoners improved, enjoying dominant spells of possession but looking devoid of creative ideas, rarely threatening Luke Simpson in the Harriers goal - and it was the National League North side who came closest to snatching a second.

As the clock ticked away, unthinkable dreams steadily turned into reality but, 90 seconds into added time, a neat through ball from Pablo Fornals set Rice away in space to hit home into the roof of the net, sparing the Hammers' blushes and forcing the match into extra time.

Harriers looked noticeably tired as the additional 30 minutes wore on, yet they continued to dig deep to keep West Ham out as the visitors steadily took command of the match, but still they lacked the execution to create any clear-cut chances.

Jarrod Bowen thought he had won it in the 100th minute when he forced the ball over the line from six yards out, before it was disallowed for offside.

But the Hammers forward had the last laugh in the dying seconds by tucking the ball into the net after Andriy Yarmolenko's shot deflected into the path of Aaron Cresswell, who set up Bowen with a low ball along the face of goal, avoiding the lottery of a penalty shootout.

It means West Ham - who are fifth in the Premier League and whose season has included wins over Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool - go through to the next round of the cup.

The result was devastatingly cruel on the excellent hosts who would have deserved a solid and unlikely victory - and a place in the fifth round for only the second time in their history.

Ironically, it was West Ham who denied Kidderminster a place in the fifth round last time, 28 years ago.


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