West Ham United 2-1 Emley – FA Cup 3rd Round

January 3, 1998

2023 is the 25th anniversary of Emley AFC’s greatest moment when we played Premier League West Ham United in the FA Cup.  The media attention the village received has never been greater, even when the mast fell down, Emley did not get as many column inches in the national press.

It started following Emley’s first game against Lincoln City, in which Lincoln deprived Emley of a win in the 98th minute.  The FA Cup third round draw the next day saw Emley drawn away at one of the giants of the English game.  Emleyers received this with a mix of excitement and disappointment, but for the last-minute equalizer that game would have been on, but a replay with Lincoln was needed.  The national media was already taking an interest however, Emley officials and players representatives were interviewed by the BBC after the 3rd round draw and the Lincoln replay also got national attention.

The replay was a classic, Emley came from 2 down to force extra time, and eventually penalties, which they won amongst incredible scenes.  Our current Assistant Manager, Steve Nicholson, scored two of our goals and was interviewed the following day on BBC Breakfast Time.  Over the next couple of weeks the village most people had never heard of became a feature in the national papers as journalists flocked to see how this tiny place of 1800 people had a football team that could challenge the Premier League.

On the day of the match the frenzy intensified and it was all Ronnie Glavin, the team manager, could do to keep his players focussed on their biggest ever challenge.  The weather in London was Emley-like, with a late rain storm threatening the game going ahead.  And Emley got off to a worrying start as key defender Neil Lacey picked up an injury that forced his departure and whilst he was off the field, Frank Lampard put West Ham one up.

Emley fans feared a battering as West Ham continued to pile pressure on, but Welsh international John Hartson seemed in a generous mood, spurning several good chances.  Amazingly Emley reached half-time just one down and hope remained.  Soon after half time Emley forced a number of corners and it was from one of these that incredibly, they equalised.  Paul David rose to beat Rio Ferdinand to a header which sailed into the net.

Emley could even have gone 2-1 up when they broke 3 on 2, but the pass that would have put top scorer Deniol Graham clear clipped the heals of Michael Reynolds and the chance was gone.  Eight minutes from time Hartson redeemed himself when he headed in a Stan Laziridis cross to make it 2-1 to West Ham.

At the end the West Ham fans stayed to applaud Emley’s lap of honour, but they were relieved to have not been embarrassed and you can meet West Ham fans today who remember that game.  To cap it all Emley were on Match of the Day and were featured in the main headlines in all the Sunday papers.  The village of Emley had completed its 15 days of fame.

Team: Marples, Nicholson, Lacey (Wilson 4, Wood 87), Thompson, Jones, Calcutt (Tonks 82), David, Banks (c), Hurst, Graham, Reynolds.

Headline courtesy of the Yorkshire Post

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