Liverpool trail West Ham 2-0 in the 2006 FA Cup Final
Liverpool were a team of internationals and were not going to give up easily. While in the previous year West Ham were battling to get promoted, Liverpool had come back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to win the Champions League. They knew how to stay in the game and it didn’t take them long to get back into the contest.
Peter Crouch had the ball in the net only to be denied by the linesman’s flag for offside, but it was a warning West Ham did not heed.
With just over 30 minutes played Steven Gerrard played a fantastic ball into Cisse.
The Frenchman watched the ball onto his boot and hit a sweet volley into the bottom corner of Shaka Hislop’s goal. The goalkeeper had no chance and the game was now back in the balance.
Reina saves and Gerrard scores
West Ham reacted well to Liverpool’s goal and very nearly re-established their two goal lead moments into the second half.
Liverpool had Reina to thank for keeping them in the game after he denied Benayoun and then Harewood with fine saves.
Those saves proved crucial as Liverpool drew level on 54 minutes through their captain. A ball was floated into the box towards Crouch and he knocked the ball down towards the penalty spot.
Gerrard stepped on to the bouncing ball and unleashed a thunderous volley into the top corner. Hislop would have done well to see the ball, let alone stop it, such was the power of the shot.
So Liverpool had equalised after West Ham had raced into a two goal lead. It was 2-2 with still over half an hour to play.
Konchesky puts Hammers back in front
Both teams continued to attack and try to find a way to get themselves in front. It didn’t take long for another goal, but it came from a rather unlikely source.
Konchesky moved down the left wing with the ball and looked up to cross into the box. He hit what looked like a mishit cross.
However, as the ball travelled into the box, it started to look like a brilliant shot as it swerved and dipped over Jose Reina into the far corner.
A real freak of a goal had given West Ham the lead again. They just had to hold onto it and they would lift the FA cup.
Liverpool piled on the pressure and as the final whistle got closer and closer, it seemed perhaps it was not going to happen for them. Morientes, on as a substitute, and Gerrard both spurned decent chances to equalise.
Thunderbolt from skipper in dying seconds
West Ham were getting pushed back deeper and deeper into their half and players from both teams were starting to suffer with cramp after such a fast paced game.
The clock ticked past 90 minutes and Liverpool continued to punt high balls into the box, desperately searching for something to fall for them.
They finally got their break when the ball was only half cleared out of the West Ham box. It fell to Steven Gerrard who was fully 35 yards out.
With no energy to carry the ball forward, Gerrard decided to hit it at goal and hope. Liverpool’s fans will be forever grateful he did. His shot was as ferocious as his first goal and arrowed into the bottom corner of the goal.
Liverpool had drawn level again in the last minute of the game. It was the final action of the 90 minutes and the ref blew for full time.
Fatigue kicks in during extra time
Extra time was a tense and draining half hour for the teams. Both sets of players had given so much to reach this stage, many of them were running on empty and suffering cramp.
This meant there were several stoppages in play and the game had no real rhythm to it anymore.
There was only one real chance to win the game and it came in the final minute of the match.
Nigel Reo-Coker looped a header from a free kick into the box. The ball lobbed over Reina who somehow managed to claw it onto the bar as he back pedalled.
The ball bounced to Marlon Harewood right in front of goal but he failed to connect properly with his shot and put the ball wide of goal.
He could be forgiven as he was one of the players suffering most with cramp and a foot injury but had to play on as West Ham had used all their substitutes by this stage
That was the final action of the game and the ref blew the final whistle. The 2006 FA Cup would be decided by a penalty shoot-out. Drama from 12 yards – Read more