The npower League One promotion hopefuls saw off the Championship’s second-placed side with a 1-0 win yesterday, with Chris O’Grady’s 88th-minute winner booking them a fourth round trip to Blackpool and extending their unbeaten home run to 12 games this season.
O’Grady’s goal came on the back of a match-winning performance from veteran goalkeeper Nicky Weaver, who saved a second-half penalty from Sam Baldock and repelled a number of other Hammers attacks. But despite the result carrying a hint of an upset, Megson believes his side offered just a flavour of what they are capable of.
“We are all pleased when we get a result, and we all suffer as one when we don’t,” he said.
“This is a good afternoon for us, but another game at Hillsborough when we don’t lose. We don’t think so much about the opposition, we just want to keep the run going for as long as we can. We are a League One side, because that’s where we play our football. But it’s still Sheffield Wednesday. This place has had a 15-year nightmare and we’re trying to get the momentum to get it back so these games are normal.”
The game hinged on two critical moments; Weaver’s brilliant save from Baldock after Winston Reid had been felled by Reda Johnson, and O’Grady’s late winner under the body of Ruud Boffin.
At that point, both sides were going for the win, and Megson admitted neither he nor opposite number Sam Allardyce wanted a replay.
“I said to Sam: ‘Do you want to toss for it?’. He said they were 4-2-4 so I said we would go 2-1-7,” Megson added. “We had a lot of square pegs in round holes today, but we stuck together.”
Allardyce made seven changes to his side, which was already injury-ravaged, from the one that beat Coventry last Monday, giving an indication that a return to the Premier League is more important than progression in the cup.
United are level with Championship leaders Southampton, but Allardyce has warned his players their finishing must improve if they are keep or improve upon the current two-point deficit between themselves and the play-offs.
Apart from Baldock’s penalty miss, the striker also saw a drive tipped on to the post by Weaver, while Freddie Sears and Frank Nouble also saw changes go begging.
“We did everything right apart from not finishing our chances and making a basic error that cost us the tie,” Allardyce said.
“The changes we made weren’t the problem. The problem was not finishing the chances we had, the biggest one being the penalty. After a long delay we lost our concentration and there’s a nothing shot that the keeper should have done better with. We’re now out of the cup.
“Performance wise, I’m delighted in many areas, but the finishing has got to get better. It’s been like that in the league and has to improve.”
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Weaver, Otsemobor, Rob Jones, Batth, Bennett (Lowe 87), Tavernier (Daniel Jones 72), Semedo, Lines, Reda Johnson (Morrison 59), O’Grady, Jermaine Johnson.
WEST HAM: Boffin, O’Brien, Reid, McCartney, Potts, O’Neil (Montenegro 78), Collison, Lansbury, Sears (Hall 72), Baldock, Carew (Nouble 65).
Referee: Keith Stroud.