Etherington left low by loss

BY foxsports • May 14, 2011

Etherington was part of the Hammers side beaten on penalties in the last cup final to be held at the Millennium Stadium, a match in which they had led 2-0 and 3-2. Playing their first-ever FA Cup final, Stoke were never really in the game on Saturday but that was no consolation for winger Etherington, who insisted such a devastating defeat was always harder to take second time around. "That time I was devastated and just as devastated now, if not more," he said. "To lose it twice is obviously hard to take. "To get there and for it not quite to happen is devastating." Potters boss Tony Pulis gambled on the fitness of Etherington, who looked certain to miss Saturday's game when he tore his hamstring at the end of last month. Etherington, who looked half fit and was substituted in the second half, said: "I hadn't done any training all week, literally hadn't kicked a ball. "I had a grade two tear in my hamstring and I was just happy to be out there, to be honest with you. "Usually, it's four to six weeks and the medical staff here did wonders with me. "It was intense treatment with me all day, every day, and I felt good enough. "I thought I'd ease myself into it and just up until I got took off, I felt as though I was getting in the game. "It wasn't to be and obviously everyone's devastated." He added: "We were poor first half and Man City played well. Plenty of chances. "Second half, we were better but it wasn't to be. "They've popped up with a goal and hung on in the end." Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen threatened to be Stoke's hero after denying City more than once before the break. He said: "I actually thought halfway through the second half that it was going to be our day. "Kenwyne (Jones) had a good chance - it was a brilliant save from Joe Hart. "And then when I, and I think the rest of the team, thought they were running out of ideas, they scored. "And then, from then on, we didn't create any chances." He added: "We've definitely played better. "We probably didn't hit the form that we've been showing in the last month or so. I think that's the disappointing thing. "But this is our first chance of the big tournament, the big cup, and the players will learn a lot from this. "The club has come so far in three years. "It's disappointing but, when the season finishes, we will all be proud of what we've achieved."

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