Ran­dolph is West Ham hero at An­field

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FOURTH ROUND - By Will Piper

FOR­MER Birm­ing­ham City and Charl­ton Ath­letic keeper Dar­ren Ran­dolph pro­duced hero­ics in the West Ham United goal as they forced Liverpool to a fourth round re­play.

In a cagey game the best chances fell to Liverpool striker Chris­tian Ben­teke, but Ham­mers keeper Ran­dolph was equal to ev­ery­thing the Bel­gium striker threw at him.

Ran­dolph said: “It was a cagey start to the game, we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. We got the draw through and will take them back to Up­ton Park.”

The game’s first real chance fell to Cameron Bran­na­gan when a loose ball rolled into his path fol­low­ing Jor­don Ibe’s driv­ing run, but the Eng­land Un­der-20s in­ter­na­tional struck over the cross­bar from 25 yards.

The Ham­mers had a golden op­por­tu­nity to take the lead when En­ner Va­len­cia rose high­est in the box to meet Aaron Cress­well’s cross, but suc­ceeded in sim­ply head­ing wide.

Mid­way through the first half Ben­teke looked to latch on to Joao Car­los Teix­eira’s through pass, but Ran­dolph was quickly off his line to gather at his feet.

Bran­na­gan was next to be de­nied by Ran­dolph at full stretch and the, at the other end, Pedro Obiang watched the ball onto his right foot, but his well-struck vol­ley crept wide.

Joe Allen fired over on the hour fol­low­ing Nathaniel Clyne’s cen­tre and Ran­dolph then beat away Teix­eira’s ef­fort.

With 15 min­utes to go came Ran­dolph’s crown­ing mo­ment in the game – a mag­nif­i­cent triple save.

First he par­ried away Ben­teke’s low first-time drive and then leapt to his feet to block the loose ball as Allen ran in. The Ham­mers still could not clear the loose ball and it sat up for Ben­teke to try his luck again, but neme­sis Ran­dolph was equal to his strike.

Ham­mers sub­sti­tute Michail An­to­nio al­most snatched a win­ner at the death when he rose above Jose En­rique at the far post, but saw his header across goal come back off the wood­work.

But the teams will meet again at Up­ton Park.

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