Thursday, October 19, 2017

Honours even as Hammers hold Stoke

SoccerNews in English Premier League 18 Sep 2010

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Bottom club West Ham secured their first point of the season after eking out a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Stoke in the early English Premier League game on Saturday.

Scott Parker had fired the Hammers into a first-half lead before Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones levelled for the home side early in the second half.

The result failed to lift West Ham from the foot of the table. The London club, whose Jewish manager Avram Grant had skipped the match to observe Yom Kippur, remain rooted to the bottom with one point from five matches.

Goalscorer Parker however believed the result could signal an upswing in the Hammers fortunes.

“I think we can take huge positives out of today. They put us under immense pressure and we defended really well,” Parker told Sky Sports. “We came here today low in confidence and we can leave high in confidence.”

Asked about the absence of Grant, Parker replied: “It was going to be difficult when your manager’s not here but we understand the circumstances.

“We just got on with it and came here and got a result.”

The draw saw Stoke climb out of the bottom three, leapfrogging Wigan and West Bromwich Albion, who were playing later Saturday.

West Ham took the lead mid-way through a scrappy first half at the Britannia Stadium in which both sides struggled to carve out many clear chances.

Stoke had come closest to scoring when a jittery Robert Green fumbled a Jermaine Pennant free-kick, allowing Robert Huth to jab a close-range effort against the post with the Hammers goalkeeper beaten.

But after surviving that scare, West Ham were to take the lead on 32 minutes when a free-kick from from Victor Obinna caused havoc in the Stoke defence.

A frantic clearance from Rory Delap cannoned back off Ryan Shawcross and into the path of Parker, who hooked into the net from close range to claim his second goal of the season.

Moments later West Ham could have doubled their lead after a surging run from Frederic Piquionne ended with the former Portsmouth striker thumping a curling 20-yard shot against the woodwork.

The opening 45 minutes were also increasingly fractious, both sides picking up two yellow cards apiece from referee Lee Mason.

Shawcross was lucky not to see red after an off-the-ball incident where he appeared to swing an arm into the face of West Ham forward Carlton Cole.

Having preserved their lead until half-time, West Ham saw their advantage vanish within a few minutes of the restart.

A perfectly weighted Jon Walters pass released Pennant down the right-hand side and the winger picked out Jones with an exquisitely flighted cross that the Trinidadian striker nodded home from close range.

Jones almost put his side ahead on 59 minutes only to be denied by a superb point-blank save by Green, who diverted the striker’s shot onto the upright.

Thomas Sorensen saved from Obinna and Manuel da Costa as the Hammers pushed for a winner, while Stoke came close to snatching victory in the 82nd minute when Ricardo Fuller sent a header against the underside of the crossbar.

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