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West Ham 1 Stoke City 1: Bojan rescues point for Potters

A howler from Adrian handed Stoke City a deserved 1-1 draw with West Ham in another difficult afternoon for the hosts at the London Stadium.

Glenn Whelan’s own-goal midway through the second half looked to have given the Hammers victory, only for Adrian to inexplicably abandon his goal to try to intercept a long ball forward, allowing Bojan to grab the equaliser.

The stalemate extends the Potters unbeaten run in the Premier League to six matches and Mark Hughes will be much the happier manager after what had been a disjointed contest bereft of chances.

West Ham are without defeat in their last four games at the London Stadium, but again struggled for fluency and created few openings.

The Hammers face a difficult run of fixtures, facing Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in their next four Premier League games, as they continue to hover dangerously above the relegation zone.

Neither side was able to make an impression in an extremely quiet opening period, with Jonathan Walters’ flashed drive across the face of goal the only opening of the first 15 minutes.

Stoke were shorn of their main attacking outlets Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri, while West Ham struggled to get lone forward Andre Ayew into the game in his first start at the London Stadium.

It took until the 26th minute for the first clear opportunity of the game, when a one-handed Lee Grant save denied Angelo Ogbonna as he rose highest to meet a West Ham corner.

Wilfried Bony should have done better with a header of his own just moments later, but mistimed his jump and nodded wide.

The second half began much in the same vein, with an ambitious 35-yard drive from Phil Bardsley that whistled over in the 55th minute a brief moment of excitement.

Payet began to see more of the ball, but the France international was unable to link up with the isolated Ayew, much to the growing frustration of the Hammers support.

Pedro Obiang and Charlie Adam tried their luck from distance at opposite ends of the field as both sides continued to fail to string together meaningful attacking moves.

West Ham’s performance forced Bilic into a double change on 63 minutes, withdrawing Ayew and Manuel Lanzini and pushing Michail Antonio up into attack with substitute Ashley Fletcher.

It paid immediate dividends just two minutes later, as Antonio appeared to guide a fantastic near post header beyond Grant from a pinpoint Payet cross to give the Hammers a much needed lead against the run of play, although it was later given as a Whelan own-goal.

That goal inspired Stoke into action, and substitute Peter Crouch was inches away from turning in an Adam free-kick, but Adrian was able to scramble clear.

Stoke owed their eventual equaliser to Adrian, who careered out of goal and failed to intercept a throughball ahead of Walters, allowing substitute Bojan the simplest of finishes to draw the visitors level on 74 minutes.

The Spanish goalkeeper redeemed himself somewhat late on, though, as he got down well to turn an Adam effort wide and earn a share of the spoils.

 

Key Opta stats:

– Stoke have now gone seven league games unbeaten against West Ham (W3 D4); their joint-longest unbeaten run against a Premier League opponent (also Blackburn).
– After losing two of their first three Premier League games at the London Stadium, West Ham are now unbeaten in three (W1 D2).
– Stoke have won just six of their 45 Premier League games in London, drawing 10 and losing 29.
– Bojan has scored two goals from just three shots on target in the Premier League this season.
– Jonathan Walters has been directly involved in 57 Premier League goals for the Potters (39 goals, 18 assists); more than any other Stoke player.
– Only Hull City (13) have fired in fewer shots on target on home soil this season than West Ham (14).

Sat 5 Nov, 2016
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