WEST HAM UNITED 3 STOKE CITY FC 0
Stoke got off to a promising start today, for some twenty minutes playing the ball about confidently, although without much threat on the West Ham goal. A decision by keeper Asmir Begovic undermined all the good work. The beneficiary - you might have guessed even before the game started - was Demba Ba (21mins)! A hopeful ball over the top from Noble was pursued by Ba and Wilson.The Stoke man was favourite to get the ball away to safety until Begovic came rushing out to clear. He missed the ball completely. Ba, still under challenge from Wilson, poked the ball into the empty net from two yards out.
Having been gifted a goal West Ham generally bossed the game for the rest of the half, adding to their tally (35mins) when Da Costa headed home from a freekick with Stoke guilty of slack marking at the set piece. Da Costa does not score many goals, and only scores against Stoke.
Stoke recovered their composure in the second half , Etherington joined later by Fuller and Jones, offering a greater attacking threat. Kenwyne missed a golden opportunity which he would have gobbled up earlier in the season heading Etherington’s superb cross from the right wide of goal. This was at a time when Stoke were pressing and the home crowd were clearly becoming anxious.Had Stoke got back to 2-1 we might have been looking at a different final outcome.
With seven minutes to go it was however the Hammers who completed the scoring, Hitzlsperger finding the roof of the net with a powerful shot from left of goal after Piquionne failed to capitalize on Parker’s cutback from the rightside byline.
This is the first time we have conceded three goals in a league match this season. We are 12th in the table,but in terms of points now uncomfortably close to the bottom three.