Stunned West Ham boss Sam Allardyce hailed the performance of Sheffield United keeper Mark Howard after the Blades stopper inspired Nigel Clough’s men to a shock Capital One Cup win at Upton Park.
Howard pulled off a string of superb saves in normal time and when the game went to a penalty shoot-out, the 27 year-old denied Enner Valencia before Michael Doyle fired home the decisive spot-kick.
Allardyce was bothered by his side’s wasteful finishing, which meant Winston Reid’s own goal - after Diafra Sakho had given the Hammers a first half lead - and the eventual miss from Valencia proved costly.
“The fans know we should have won the game,” said Allardyce of the 1-1 draw.
“We opened them up time and time again but the end product deserted us. At the end of the day it is our fault.
“It was an inspired performance from their goalkeeper - whatever we threw at him he saved it or blocked it.”
Opposite number Nigel Clough was equally impressed with Howard and said: “He has been in great form so far this season.
“We have made him number one and we are delighted.”