A Point at the Potteries is Well Deserved
By Tom Dowsett
Saturday 18 Sep 2010 16:40:00
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West Ham United may still be waiting for their first win in over a year and, indeed, their first win of this season but they got off the mark with a well-earned point in a 1-1 draw at Stoke City's Britannia Stadium this afternoon.

Avram Grant, although absent due to the Yom Kippur festival, picked a team that showed three changes from last weekends defeat to Chelsea. Manuel Da Costa, Danny Gabbidon and Frederic Piquonne came in for Tal Ben-Haim, Herita Ilunga and Luis Boa Morte.

The Hammers started brightly and looked assured throughout the first half but could easily have gone behind when Robert Huth hit the post following a now familiar fumble by Robert Green on 19 minutes.

West Ham deservedly went ahead on 32 minutes with a goal that would have been more suited to the home side's style of play. Victor Obinna's teasing cross was pressured by Mathew Upson and Carlton Cole and the rebound fell to Scott Parker who smashed it home from a yard out.

The visitors could have increased their advantage just two minutes later when Piquonne's fierce drive rebounded off the crossbar.

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The Hammers went into the break with their lead still intact. However, the second half did not start quite as comfortably. Just three minutes in and Kenwyne Jones jumped unopposed to head in Jermainne Pennant's pinpoint cross.

On 52 minutes Valon Behrami, who was making his 50th start for the Club, picked up a knee injury and was replaced by Radislav Kovac.

Now it was West Ham's turn to endure some pressure but they rode their luck and slowly regained a degree of control. But not before Green produced a superb save on 59 minutes to push Jones' blistering effort onto the upright.

At the other end, Obinna forced a brilliant one-handed save from Thomas Sorensen following good work from Mark Noble.

The travelling fans might have thought they had clinched the points five minutes from time, as Parker had a clear sight of goal but his effort flew past the near post.

Their first point means that the Hammers head into the London Derby against Tottenham Hotspur next Saturday with confidence boosted but first it's the Third Round of the Carling Cup and an away trip to Sunderland on Tuesday night.


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