Premier League: Stoke City v West Ham full time report

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Premier League: Stoke City v West Ham full time report
Stoke 1 West Ham 1
West Ham earned their first Premier League point of the season with a battling draw at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium.
Without boss Avram Grant – who missed the game to observe the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur – the Hammers took the lead in the first half when Scott Parker profited from slack home defending to prod home from a yard out.
Kenwyne Jones thumped home an excellent cross from the lively Jermaine Pennant to equalise shortly after the break, before the forward saw a powerful effort brilliantly turned onto the post by Robert Green shortly after.
Ricardo Fuller’s header hit the underside of the crossbar late on, while Frederic Piquionne also struck the woodwork from long range in the first half.
The visitors will be the happier of the two sides, as they finally get their first point of the season on the board.
With both boss Grant and defender Tal Ben Haim absent on religious grounds, the Hammers came into this clash hampered, but they started marginally better than their hosts, with the attacking Victor Obinna and Piquionne looking lively on the wings.
However, an old problem was soon to rear its head, and low on confidence goalkeeper Green was lucky to get away with fumbling a Pennant free kick into the path of home defender Robert Huth. The German scored his side’s late winner against Aston Villa last week, but could only hit a post this time.
Despite that, West Ham were playing the better football, and were about to take the lead through the scrappiest of goals.
Obinna’s free kick created havoc in the Stoke defence, and after both Rory Delap and Ryan Shawcross failed to clear under pressure from Carlton Cole, Parker was on hand to hook the ball into the net from underneath the crossbar.
Moments later, and with the Hammers well on top, Piquionne’s terrific long range effort crashed back off the crossbar, but the visitors always needed to be aware of Stoke’s threat from set pieces, and it wasn’t long before Jones was heading a Delap long throw over the bar.
Whether Grant was aware that his side were leading at the break is unclear, but if he was, he was about to get some unwelcome news at the start of the second period.
The quicksilver Pennant was sent down the right flank by Jonathan Walters, before the former Liverpool winger – on loan at Stoke from Real Zaragoza – produced a superbly flighted cross to the back post, where Jones was on hand to thump home a header from close range.
The goal increased both the volume and confidence flowing through the Britannia Stadium, and it wasn’t long before the powerful Jones was shrugging off Matthew Upson and hitting a fierce drive that Green did brilliantly to flick onto a post. The goalkeeper may have had his critics following his high profile error for England at the World Cup, but this was truly a terrific save.
The Hammers still carried a threat, and Obinna saw an effort well saved by Sorensen, but Stoke – for whom boss Tony Pulis had sent on Ricardo Fuller and Eidur Gudjohnsen – were finishing the stronger.
Fuller’s header from a Delap long throw somehow stayed out after hitting the underside of the crossbar, but that was the last real effort on goal, with a point apiece certainly a fair outcome.
Frustration for the hosts then, but relief for the Hammers.



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