West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has praised non-league Kidderminster harriers after the Hammers left it very late to scrape through to the next round of the FA Cup.
Kidderminster took an early lead as Alex Penny fired home. They looked on course for a famous victory before half-time substitute Rice grabbed a late equaliser in added time with a smart finish.
The game looked set for penalties before Jarrod Bowen poked home in added time of extra time to break Kidderminster hearts and the Hammers through to the next round.
Rice told BBC Sport: “Massive, massive respect to Kidderminster. We watched a few videos of them this week, we’ve seen their results and they’ve been flying.
“Speaking to a couple of their players afterwards you can see they’re top guys, and you could see it on the bench with their manager. We weren’t at our best today and scraped it with two late goals.
“Kidderminster fought for every ball. We weren’t at the races in the first half. Luckily enough, we got one back late in the second and then we nicked at the end.
“We really need to improve if we want to push on, but massive congratulations to them as well because they were excellent.”
“When you play in games like this, you always know what it’s going to be like,” he continued.
“The fans are on top of you and they’re going to be really up for it. They will fight for every ball and give a hundred per cent. It can be a shock to the system.
“We don’t come to places like this very often. We knew what to expect, but it’s really hard to get to grips with the game at the start. I think any player would tell you that.
“As the game started to settle, we started to move the ball around a little bit more, but they were in a great shape, pressed hard and made some great substitutions.
“We’re through to the next round so that’s the most important thing.”
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