West Ham assistant Irvine hails professionalism shown to beat Stockport in FA Cup
- Credit: PA
Assistant manager Alan Irvine hailed the professionalism shown by West Ham United in securing a 1-0 Emirates FA Cup third-round win at Stockport County.
The Hammers overcame a determined, resilient and well-organised National League side, horrendous weather conditions that turned the pitch into a sticky mess and the distraction of a fireworks display, to reach the fourth round.
A patient performance was rewarded when substitute Jarrod Bowen’s quick thinking and superb inswinging left-wing cross was headed powerfully home by Craig Dawson, finally ending the Hatters’ resistance seven minutes from full-time.
Irvine admitted his team had been in a battle at a rain-soaked Edgeley Park, but was pleased with the way they won that battle in the end.
“I had watched a lot of Stockport games in the build-up to this game and I knew how well they were playing, I knew how well organised they would be and I knew this was going to be extremely difficult.
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“When you add to that how the conditions became, for both teams, then it was obviously going to be a tough night for us.
“We had a lot of the ball, we got to the final third regularly but our penetration wasn’t quite good enough at times there.
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“Having said that, they made it extremely difficult for us to do that and it took a very, very good goal and a bit of quick thinking to finally break them down.”
The experienced coach praised the goal scored by defender Dawson following a bright play from Bowen to set him up.
“We obviously do a lot of work on set plays and we also need the players to use their own initiative at times and they certainly did that.
“They took the corner quickly and delivered a great ball for a fantastic header.
“Everybody knows Craig has done that for many years, scoring headers like that, so that was pleasing to see him get his first goal for the club.”
West Ham have been drawn at home to Doncaster Rovers on Saturday, January 23 in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
“We’ve got a really, honest, hard-working group of players who have a lot of qualities and we’re trying to improve on the qualities that they already have," Irvine said.
“We will deal with Doncaster when that tie comes along and that will, without doubt, be another tough game for us.”