West Ham meet Stockport in the FA Cup third round at 8pm tonight. The visitors sit fourth in the National League, 86 places below West Ham in the football pyramid.
The two clubs meet for the first time since 18 December 1996, when a dreadful Iain Dowie own-goal helped the Greater Manchester side, then in the third tier, secure a shock 2-1 League Cup fourth-round replay win over the Premier League Irons at Edgeley Park. So bad was Dowie’s mishap that it made the “Own Goals & Gaffs” section of John Motson’s famous “Motty takes the Mic” video:
Stockport also won an FA Cup third-round replay against West Ham 1-0 at the same venue in January 1935, but the Hammers won the second and most-recent FA Cup meeting between the two, a fourth-round tie, 3-2 at the Boleyn Ground in January 1958.
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West Ham have a fully fit squad to choose from tonight, barring Lukasz Fabianski, who has a thigh problem, and Arthur Masuaku who is a long term absentee with a knee injury.
Stockport County have been outside of the football league for ten years and sit in fourth place in the National League. Despite being desperate for promotion, the Hatters will be desperate to take a Premier League scalp, especially after being given a second bite at the cherry. Indeed, the Greater Manchester club were originally knocked out by Chesterfield in the fourth qualifying round, only for the FA to order a replay after the victors were found to have fielded an ineligible player. Stockport took full advantage, winning 4-0.
West Ham United and Stockport County have met 14 times in competitive fixtures.
The first was in Division Two (Championship) at Edgeley Park on 26 April 1920, near the end of West Ham’s first season in the Football League, and ended in a 1-0 win for the home side. However, the Irons got their own back a week later, winning the reverse fixture 3-0 at the Boleyn Ground.
Stockport have won seven of the 14 meetings and West Ham have just four victories, with three draws, although the Hammers have outscored their Greater Manchester rivals 17 goals to 15.
Tonight, David Moyes’ men are huge favourites and will be looking to avoid any more upsets.