Matthew Etherington has unfinished FA Cup business
Matthew Etherington feels he has unfinished business with the FA Cup after his agonising near miss five years ago.
The winger was part of the West Ham side that were beaten on penalties by Liverpool following a 3-3 draw in the final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
When Etherington was replaced by Teddy Sheringham with five minutes remaining West Ham were on course to lift the trophy but Steven Gerrard's late equaliser sent the game into extra-time and it was Liverpool who eventually prevailed.
Etherington will fulfil one of his wishes by playing at Wembley in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Bolton, but it is the chance to take part in another final that is really spurring him on.
Looking back to that day in May 2006, he said: "It's a great build-up to a game. There is a buzz around the place. A cup final is something you look at as a kid and want to play.
"On that occasion I was on the wrong side of the result. Steven Gerrard did what he does best. It was a disappointment on the day. It was a great final and is being talked about as being one of the best.
"I had just come off at 3-2 when Gerrard scored. I was lucky to play in the game because I had done my ankle the week before in training. I spent a week in an oxygen chamber and I was just grateful to play when the final came around.
"I had a hand in one of the goals and I thought we were going to do it when I came off. But Gerrard scored and it wasn't to be.
"I've always wanted to play another one and if we can beat Bolton then I hope I can do that. I have been at Cardiff for three finals, two in the play-offs and one FA Cup final, so it would be good to get to Wembley."
Stoke will also have extra motivation, Etherington conceded, thanks to the continuing criticism of their physical style of play. The 29-year-old, though, is confident Wembley's wide open spaces will play right into their hands.
"I think we are stereotyped this way and always will be," he added. "We do like to get the ball up to Kenwyne (Jones) but, if you watch us week in, week out, you will see we also play some good stuff.
"But it does motivate us to hear the criticism and we use it to spur us on. We know we have good players at this football club.
"We have stayed in the Premier League for the past two years and are close to doing it again, so we can't be a bad team if we can do that.
"Wembley will be good. We play with two wingers and like to get at teams and, with Kenwyne playing the way he is at the minute, we can be confident."
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