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Premier League
Saturday, 17th October 2009

Stoke City 2
West Ham United 1

by Staff Writer


West Ham United are now in serious trouble after falling to a fourth consecutive away defeat at the Britannia Stadium this afternoon.

The Hammers - who are without a league win since the opening day of the campaign - were beaten at Stoke for the first time in 26 years thanks to a goal either side of the break - a result that leaves Gianfranco Zola's side two points adrift of the relative safety of 17th place at the bottom of the Premier League.

Although the Hammers fought well ultimately they return home pointless - and today there can be few excuses for Zola who had a full compliment of players to choose from bar the suspended Scott Parker and the perenially injured Kieron Dyer (long-term injuries excepted).

Once again there will be questions asked of Zola's decision making, for he waited until there were just 12 minutes of normal time remaining before making his first substitution - despite being 2-1 down since the 69th minute and having a bench featuring no less than four attacking options in Jimenez, Stanislas, Hines and Franco.

The latter clearly cannot have made much of an impression for he had to wait until the final minute of injury time before being given an airing - although at least Zavon Hines, brought on with 80 minutes on the clock, had some influence.

It had looked so much better for the Hammers at the break - not for the first time this season - after Matthew Upson's first goal since the opening day of the season ensured Zola's side went into the half time break on level terms.

England centre half Upson - who endured a torrid time against Fulham in his last outing - popped up at the far post to convert a Mark Noble corner ten minutes ahead of the break to restore parity after Stoke had taken an early lead through James Beattie.

That lead was no more than the Potters had deserved for a lively opening ten minutes and came from the penalty spot after Julien Faubert was adjudged to have sent Matthew Etherington tumbling inside the box. Rob Green, despite diving the right way, had no chance with Beattie's well-struck effort.

However the game was won in the 69th minute when Beattie notched his second of the afternoon after following up a parried Fuller shot that Rob Green failed to push wide of his goal - all of which followed a sustained period of pressure from the visitors.

Stoke, who are always a handful at the Brittania should have been reduced to ten men moments later after defender Roberth Huth aimed a right hook at Matthew Upson. The cowardly manner in which he did so - the German standing behind Upson at the time - probably saved his bacon on the day but a three match ban will almost certainly follow as the incident was clearly seen on camera.

That will be little consolation to Zola and his troops tonight however as they look back on yet another hugly disappointing afternoon, and one which leaves the club in serious trouble despite the season still being in its early stages.



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Player Ratings

Robert Green
Comments to follow.


Julien Faubert
Comments to follow.


Herita Ilunga
Comments to follow.


James Tomkins
Comments to follow.


Matthew Upson
Comments to follow.


Radoslav Kovac
Comments to follow.


Valon Behrami
Comments to follow.


Jack Collison
Comments to follow.


Mark Noble
Comments to follow.


Carlton Cole
Comments to follow.


Alessandro Diamanti
Comments to follow.


Substitutes


Zavon Hines
(Replaced Diamanti, 78 minutes) Comments to follow.


Junior Stanislas
(Replaced Kovac, 83 minutes) Comments to follow.


Guillermo Franco
(Replaced Collison, 89 minutes) Comments to follow.


Peter Kurucz
Did not play.


Jonathan Spector
Did not play.


Manuel Da Costa
Did not play.


Luis Jimenez
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Attendance: 27,026.

Man of the Match: tbc.

West Ham United

Robert Green, Julien Faubert, Herita Ilunga, James Tomkins, Matthew Upson, Radoslav Kovac, Valon Behrami, Jack Collison, Mark Noble, Carlton Cole, Alessandro Diamanti.

Goals: Matthew Upson 34                  .

Booked: Julien Faubert 10 Carlton Cole 75 Zavon Hines 85      .

Sent off: None.

Stoke City

Sorensen, Huth, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Collins, Delap (Lawrence 68), Diao (Whelan 78), Whitehead, Etherington, Fuller, Beattie (Kitson 83).

Substitutes: .

Subs not used: Simonsen, Higginbotham, Sanli, Wilkinson.

Goals: Beattie (11 pen, 69).

Booked: Diao (28), Shawcross (38), Whelan (90).

Sent Off: None.

 

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Staff Writer's Man of the Match: tbc


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