The FA Cup does some strange things but the sight of Alan Pardew bursting into a kind of disco dance on the touchline after Marlon Harewood's extra-time winning goal propelled West Ham into the quarter-finals for the first time in five years will burn long into the memory. Unfortunately.
"I hoped you hadn't seen that," said the West Ham manager afterwards before explaining the release of pressure that had prompted his manic "embarrassing dad" behaviour. "It was a big game for us and I don't think it would have sat well with me and my team if in five matches against Bolton we had not got one victory."
That was in reference to the number of games the two sides have contested this season and with Bolton already accounting for West Ham in the League Cup and having demolished them in the Premiership last weekend there was a sense of retribution swirling around Upton Park for an enthralling cup-tie, especially as both managers claimed that this replay was the fixture that mattered most.
Indeed Bolton's Sam Allardyce declared he would have given up the three points earned at the Reebok Stadium in return for a place in the last eight against Manchester City on Monday. He said: "We're secure in the Premiership and have enough games to gain a place in the Uefa Cup."
His sense of disappointment was sharpened by a claim that Harewood was in an offside position when he delivered the cross for his side's opening goal - Bolton's Nicky Hunt turned Harewood's cross against goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen before it bounced into the net.
It was Harewood who proved to be Bolton's nemesis as he then reached Yossi Benayoun's centre to clip over Jaaskelainen to settle the encounter in the 95th minute. It was a smart strike but Allardyce went on to rue the number of missed opportunities from his players which preceded it. "We should have put the game away," he said.
Pardew recalled four regulars who made a difference but West Ham were pinned back after going ahead. At times, pumped-up challenges threatened to spill over but then Kevin Nolan quickly fed Kevin Davies who, in space, sent in a powerful shot from 25 yards. It swerved but Shaka Hislop seemed to be easily deceived and Bolton had their equaliser. They pressed on and West Ham seemed deflated although Jaaskelainen had to be alert to beat away Benayoun's low shot.
The chances racked up. Ricardo Gardner sliced a shot into the side-netting while Nolan's first-time shot cleared the bar. Nerves frayed but finally West Ham rallied and, after a desperate scramble, Raidhi Jaidi prevented Matthew Etherington scoring. Both sides came close, with Bolton substitute Henrik Pedersen twice heading over - the second opportunity amounting to a glaring miss.
That was in extra time and then came Harewood's breakthrough. Bolton tried to reply, and forced a series of desperate scrambles but it was West Ham's Bobby Zamora who should have scored. Instead he headed over. At the end Pardew said four of his players were suffering badly from cramp. This season's brilliant exertions are taking their toll and some will have to be rested for Saturday's league match against Portsmouth. That may anger other clubs. But Pardew has his own priorities and few can blame him.
West Ham United (4-4-2): Hislop; Scaloni, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Konchesky; Benayoun, Mullins, Reo-Coker (Dailly, 98), Etherington (Zamora, 106); Harewood, Ashton (Sheringham, 106). Substitutes not used: Bywater (gk), Clarke.
Bolton Wanderers (4-5-1): Jaaskelainen; Hunt (Borgetti, 114), Jaidi, Ben Haim, Gardner; Nolan, Okocha, Faye (Pedersen, 80), Speed (Vaz Te, 106), Stelios; Davies. Substitutes not used: Al Habsi (gk), N'Gotty.
Referee: R Styles (Waterlooville).Reuse content