December 8 2013 Latest news:
Steve Blowers, Recorder Reporter
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Premier League: West Ham United 0 Stoke City 1
Stoke substitute Jermaine Pennant condemned West Ham United to their first defeat of the season with an 82nd-minute winner at Upton Park.
And after seeing the Potters make the goal-shy Hammers look about as dangerous as a chocolate teapot, Sam Allardyce will be counting the days until crocked Andy Carroll returns to action next month.
Indeed, with West Ham failing to muster a single, worthwhile effort on target, Big Sam has limited options in the attacking department and with the transfer window about to close on Monday evening, he will surely be hoping that he can somehow find reinforcements.
Both sides had enjoyed Capital One Cup success in midweek and each manager, predictably made sweeping changes for the return to the bread and butter of the Premier League.
Kicking off in fifth-spot, Allardyce fielded an entirely different eleven to the team that had dispatched Cheltenham Town, while Mark Hughes made seven switches from his tenth-placed side that had beaten Walsall, thanks to Kenwyne Jones’ hat-trick.
But while the Stoke striker had clearly found the way to goal on Wednesday evening, three days later, the same sadly could not be said for Mohamed Diame, whose ambitious fourth-minute effort skewed away for a throw-in.
Five minutes later, Jones had a great chance to break the deadlock, when he bulldozed clear from halfway, but jostling James Collins just did enough to force the Trinidad & Tobago forward off-balance and his 12-yarder flew high into the Bobby Moore Stand.
Having just been upended by Mark Noble, Charlie Adam then dusted himself down and forced Jussi Jaaskelainen to save his low, curling, 20-yard free-kick as the visitors enjoyed the best of the opening exchanges.
Preferring to pass their way through a cluttered midfield, the Potters were starving West Ham of possession and, indeed, when Big Sam’s side did get their foot on the ball, they then had limited options in the shape of well-shackled, lone-striker Modibo Maiga.
Midway through the half, Jon Walters looked all set to gobble up the left-overs, when Jaaskelainen failed to hold Marc Wilson’s stinging 25-yard volley but the floundering Finn somehow recovered to parry the Stoke striker’s point-blank follow-up and the ball somehow flew wide to the relief of all in claret and blue.
Ten minutes before the break, frustrated West Ham finally carved out a decent opening for themselves, when Matt Jarvis sent over a hanging right-wing cross but having eluded Ryan Shawcross, Maiga could not get any power or direction on a tame header that drifted well wide and that was about as good as it got for the Hammers in a first period dominated by a superior Stoke side.
It did not get much better after the restart as Diame was reduced to trying his luck with a speculative 35-yarder and then Winston Reid tumbled awkwardly over a stooping Jones.
Having recovered, Reid then headed colossus Collins’ deep free-kick over the top, before Allardyce went for a much-needed reshuffle by replacing Stewart Downing with Tuesday night’s dream debutant Ravel Morrison, who arrived to hopeful applause from the sun-drenched East Enders.
By now, the Potters were not looking quite so dominant and Wilson and N’Zonzi were both off-target from distance, while Diame and Reid did not fare much better effort with wayward strikes.
But going into the final quarter-hour, Hughes made a double-switch as Pennant and Glenn Whelan replaced Adam and ex-Hammer Matthew Etherington, who departed to warm applause.
And that change soon produced a match-winning dividend, when the consequently cautioned Reid conceded a clumsy free-kick on the edge of the Hammers area and Pennant curled the resultant set-piece over the wall and inside the left-hand post of the groping Jaaskelainen to give Stoke victory.
HAMMERS: Jaaskelainen, Demel, O’Brien, Collins, Reid, Noble (Collison 84), Diame (Lee 87), Nolan (capt), Downing (Morrison 64), Jarvis, Maiga Unused subs: Adrian, Tomkins, Rat, Taylor.
POTTERS: Begovic, Cameron, Pieters, Huth, Shawcross (capt), Wilson, Etherington (Pennant 76), Adam (Whelan 76), N’Zonzi, Walters, Jones. Unused subs: Sorensen, Muniesa, Assaidi, Crouch, Jerome
Booked: Reid (81), Cameron (85), Collins (90+4).
Referee: Jon Moss
Hull City manager Steve Bruce believes that Arsenal have the ability to win the league this season.