COLIN HENDRY will prefer to forget his part in the closing stages of this FA Cup fifth-round replay, decided by his missed penalty in the shoot-out after 210 minutes of football had failed to find a winner.
Nine of the 10 penalties it required to produce a winner were textbook perfect; Hendry's, struck without conviction, hit Craig Forrest's feet and West Ham were through to an all-London quarter-final against Arsenal.
That was not Hendry's only misadventure after the end of normal time at Ewood Park. He had a header cleared off the line by Stan Lazaridis in the first period of extra time and then lost his man at the other end to allow John Hartson to chest down a chip from the substitute, Samassi Abou, and volley home.
Blackburn's fans had reacted furiously when Abou had replaced Eyal Berkovitch after 55 minutes, depriving them of their hate object - thanks to the Kevin Gallacher affair that had been simmering since the first match - with the issue still unresolved. They would have jeered all the louder had they known the part that Abou would play in putting their side behind.
Chris Sutton wasted the ideal chance to bring them level, putting his shot over the bar from six yards with the goal empty, but Blackburn did seize their chance with five minutes of extra time remaining, the excellent Damien Duff getting around the back of the defence for the umpteenth time. His cross produced the rarity of a headed goal from Stuart Ripley to take the tie to a shoot-out.
Four men from each side tucked their penalties away safely before Hendry's failure, leaving Steve Lomas to fire in and clinch the tie.
As much as for the manner of their loss, Blackburn will kick themselves for their failure to capitalise on long periods of dominance. They put West Ham under pressure from an endless series of corners and free-kicks in the first 20 minutes but, apart from one brilliant run and shot by Duff, did not create the clear-cut chances they needed.
West Ham showed signs of getting into the tie more positively when Lomas started to pick out Andy Impey in space on the right, but Gallacher and Sutton might both have scored within a minute of each other after the break. Duff's first-time crack at goal just happened to find the keeper.
As legs tired in extra time, there was always the lingering prospect that the tie would be decided by a lottery and, when it was, Blackburn and Hendry had the one losing ticket.
"I thought we played very well," said their manager, Roy Hodgson. "It's the rule that after 120 minutes it's penalties. But it always leaves a sour, bitter taste in the mouth because we didn't deserve to lose."
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2) Fettis; Kenna, Henchoz, Hendry, Croft (Wilcox, 105); Ripley (Dahlin, 119), Sherwood, McKinlay (Flitcroft, 18), Duff; Gallacher, Sutton. Substitutes not used: Broomes, Stewart.
West Ham United (3-5-2): Forrest; Pearce, Ferdinand, Unsworth; Impey, Lampard, Lomas, Moncur, Lazaridis; Berkovitch (Abou, 55), Hartson. Substitutes not used: Breacker, Potts, Bishop, Lama (gk).
Referee: P Jones (Loughborough).Reuse content