West Ham moved into the fourth round of the FA Cup as they battled past National League side Stockport County.
Said Benrahma nearly grabbed his first Hammers goal in the sixth minute but his shot hit the foot of the post.
With the match played in heavy rain, chances were at a premium before Craig Dawson headed in from Jarrod Bowen’s cross late on for the winning goal.
The Hammers will play at home to League One side Doncaster Rovers in round four over the weekend of 23-24 January.
The winners of that tie will then be away at Manchester United or Liverpool – currently second and first respectively in the Premier League – in the fifth round.
Stockport’s defeat means Chorley of the National League North, who beat a Derby County side that had to use members of their Under-23s because of Covid-19 cases involving the first team, are the only non-league outfit left in the competition.
David Moyes named a strong side and his team dominated possession in the first half but could not break down a resolute home defence.
As a result of the coronavirus restrictions, there were no fans in attendance at Edgeley Park, although there was a brief stoppage early on when a large number of fireworks were let off close to the ground.
However, there was little sparkle on the pitch as the Hammers were largely restricted to long-range efforts, with Andriy Yarmolenko, Benrahma, Michail Antonio and Declan Rice all shooting wide, while Stockport failed to have a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.
Indeed, Manuel Lanzini’s strike straight at home goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe in the 33rd minute was the only first-half effort on target – the lowest number in all of this season’s FA Cup third-round matches.
The game was played in torrential rain with the ball repeatedly holding up in the puddles on the pitch after the break.
England midfielder Rice tried to stamp a bit of quality on proceedings with a fine run from the halfway line before he was crowded out by Stockport defenders in the penalty area.
Stockport, fourth in the National League and 86 places below their opponents, were reliant on set-pieces, although the deliveries repeatedly frustrated boss Jim Gannon, who was taking charge of his 501st game over three spells with the Hatters.
As the rain continued to lash down, John Rooney, brother of former England captain Wayne, got into a good position but could only send the ball into West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph’s hands.
The breakthrough moment came in the 82nd minute when West Ham played a short corner and Dawson met Bowen’s cross to head the Hammers into round four.
Dawson ends long wait for another FA Cup goal – the stats
- West Ham have progressed from all eight of their FA Cup ties against non-league sides when they were a league side at the time.
- Stockport County have been eliminated from each of their last four third-round ties in the FA Cup, last progressing in January 2001 against Preston North End.
- West Ham manager David Moyes has progressed from each of his four FA Cup ties against non-league sides.
- Stockport have lost their last six FA Cup ties against top-flight opponents, last knocking out a top-flight team back in January 1994 when they beat QPR.
- West Ham’s Craig Dawson scored his first FA Cup goal since netting for Rochdale versus FC United of Manchester in November 2010, 10 years and 67 days ago.
‘The lads did really well’ – what they said
Stockport manager Jim Gannon, speaking to BT Sport: “The players are disappointed but I think is that not a testimony to how they played?
“West Ham had lots of possession but the lads did really well. They gave a chance of getting a goal and possibly winning the game with the opportunities we had. But it was always a stretch for us but the performance showed we are a cut above this level [National League].
“We were disappointed with a couple of aspects of our game – set-pieces for example – because we thought we had the opportunities to score. We expected them to up the game but I think we contained and managed them quite well. We tried to play them and tried to play our game, so we showed what we were about.
“We are still a team that are growing together, trying to mix my coaching principles and their qualities and I think you saw that tonight.
“The club is going the right way. There is a lot to take out of this tonight. It’s been tough year for everyone this year but we want go one better than last year and go for the play-offs and hopefully promotion.”
West Ham assistant manager Alan Irvine said: “The main thing is we’re through and we were pleased with the way the players went about things.
“One of the big worries about these kind of ties is your players think it might be a bit easier than we knew it was going to be, so we were pleased with the attitude.
“Our football up until the final third was good but we didn’t penetrate enough against a very well organised, hard-working and disciplined Stockport defence.
“I did feel we needed to start putting some crosses into the box, because we’d been sliding things through a very compact defence.
“The goal came from one cross that led to a corner then another cross that obviously led to a fantastic header.
“We weren’t worried about the attitude but we were looking at extra time, that was becoming a possibility. It would have meant playing on in even more difficult conditions – for both teams, not just for us.”
West Ham return to Premier League action when they entertain Burnley on Saturday, 16 January (15:00 GMT), while Stockport play at home to Notts County in the second round of the FA Trophy at the same time.
- 2MinihanSubstituted forPalmerat 86′minutes
- 10JenningsSubstituted forSoutham-Halesat 82′minutes
- 8RooneySubstituted forHinchyat 86′minutes
- 11WilliamsSubstituted forThomasat 86′minutes
- 19ReidSubstituted forBennettat 62′minutes
- 31JohnsonSubstituted forCresswellat 73′minutes
- 7YarmolenkoSubstituted forBowenat 68′minutes
- 10LanziniSubstituted forSoucekat 68′minutes
- 9BenrahmaSubstituted forFornalsat 90′minutes
- 30AntonioSubstituted forOdubekoat 90′minutes
Match ends, Stockport County 0, West Ham United 1.
Second Half ends, Stockport County 0, West Ham United 1.
Foul by Declan Rice (West Ham United).
Lois Maynard (Stockport County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, West Ham United. Pablo Fornals replaces Saïd Benrahma.
Substitution, West Ham United. Ademipo Odubeko replaces Michail Antonio.
Corner, Stockport County. Conceded by Vladimir Coufal.
Substitution, Stockport County. Ashley Palmer replaces Sam Minihan.
Substitution, Stockport County. Jack Hinchy replaces John Rooney.
Substitution, Stockport County. Adam Thomas replaces Jordan Williams.
Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Liam Hogan.
Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Jordan Keane.
Goal! Stockport County 0, West Ham United 1. Craig Dawson (West Ham United) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jarrod Bowen with a cross following a corner.
Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Liam Hogan.
Substitution, Stockport County. Macauley Southam-Hales replaces Connor Jennings.
Attempt missed. Tomas Soucek (West Ham United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Vladimir Coufal with a cross.
Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Richie Bennett (Stockport County).
Attempt missed. Saïd Benrahma (West Ham United) left footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left misses to the right.
Attempt saved. John Rooney (Stockport County) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the top left corner.