WEST HAM 2, MAN UNITED 2.
Robin van Persie came to Manchester United’s rescue just as they looked to be crashing out of the FA Cup with Budweiser in their third-round tie at West Ham.
The Dutchman popped up with an injury-time equaliser as the Reds live to fight another day as they forced a replay at Old Trafford.
It was a case of the late, late show as van Persie scored his 20th goal of his debut campaign for United in the 91st minute.
And it was a goal of stunning quality as Ryan Giggs delivered a wonderful 55-yard crossfield pass for van Persie to run on to and score with a clinical finish.
United fielded a strong line up, though van Persie, Rio Ferdinand, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young were held in reserve on the bench while there was no Wayne Rooney, Patrice Evra or Michael Carrick.
Javier Hernandez partnered Danny Welbeck up front while Shinji Kagawa was back in midfield.
The Hammers had chances to take the lead when Alou Diarra’s effort was cleared off the goalline by Paul Scholes and Jack Collison also went close.
Hernandez had a goal ruled out for offside while Nemanja Vidic’s header was cleared off the line by Dan Potts.
United took the lead midway through the opening period when Rafael and Hernandez combined down the right and the Mexican crossed to the far side of the box for Tom Cleverley to bend in a delightful shot past keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
The Hammers equalised four minutes later when James Collins headed home a pinpoint cross from Joe Cole who was making his debut on the return to the club where he kicked off his career.
Welbeck, Rafael and Cleverley all had decent chances to restore United’s lead.
Joe Cole was a handful as he set up Carlton Cole whose header was well saved by David De Gea.
And in a carbon-copy move to their opening goal, Joe Cole fired over another great cross for Collins to head home as the Hammers suddenly seized the initiative.
United summoned their big guns as van Persie, Valencia and Giggs were introduced to try and prevent their cup exit at the first hurdle.
Just when it looked as though United might be knocked out, van Persie came to the rescue to earn a replay at Old Trafford.