Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Joey Has Hammer Blow for Potters

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Joey Has Hammer Blow for Potters

Article excerpt

West Ham United 1 Stoke City 1 WEST Ham missed out on the opportunity to move up to fifth in the Barclays Premier League after being held to a draw by Stoke.

The Hammers fell behind to an early Jonathan Walters goal as Stoke went in search of their first away league win in 15 outings but ended up with a share of the spoils thanks to a rare Joey O'Brien goal.

West Ham's task was always going to be harder after conceding as Stoke looked to sit back and soak up the pressure.

Sam Allardyce's side struggled to create chances in the first half but were much more potent after the break and dominated proceedings following O'Brien's strike, only his second goal for the club.

The hosts saw more of the ball in the opening 10 minutes but Stoke showed their usual aerial threat on a couple of occasions, most notably when Ryan Shawcross angled a long ball forward which Peter Crouch knocked down into the path of the onrushing Charlie Adam, who could not keep his shot down.

Unsurprisingly Stoke's opening goal came from a set-piece - but it was not scored in their manner.

George McCartney cleared the ball behind after 12 minutes and Glenn Whelan rolled the corner across the ground and into the area where a clever run from the far past allowed Walters to convert with a thumping effort past Jussi Jaaskelainen and Andy Carroll on the line. West Ham were struggling to break down a resolute Stoke defence though Carroll, still searching for his first goal for the Hammers, managed to get a head on a Gary O'Neil cross but Asmir Begovic collected.

Stoke, playing on the counter-attack, pushed forward and almost doubled their lead through another corner.

This time the corner was launched high into the penalty area and Robert Huth powered a header towards goal that was pushed clear by Jaaskelainen.

Nolan came close to a sixth goal of the season as he finally forced Begovic into a decent save with West Ham starting to exert control on the game. …

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