• Date: Sat 27 March 2010
  • Venue: Upton Park
  • Ref: Marriner, A
  • Attendance: 34,564

West Ham United vs Stoke City

Team Lineups

West Ham United

Robert Green
Matthew Upson
Jonathan Spector
Julien Faubert
Manuel Da Costa
Kieron Dyer (Alessandro Diamanti, 46)
Scott Parker
Mark Noble (Araujo Dall'lgna Ilan, 76)
Valon Behrami
Ahmed Hossam Mido (Benni McCarthy, 84)
Carlton Cole

Stoke City

Thomas Sorensen
Danny Higginbotham
Robert Huth
Danny Collins
Abdoulaye Diagne-Faye (Andy Wilkinson, 25)
Glenn Whelan
Liam Lawrence
Rory Delap
Matthew Etherington (Ricardo Fuller, 67)
Mamady Sidibe
Dave Kitson (Sanli Tuncay, 48)

Match Report
Super-sub Ricardo Fuller stepped from the bench to make it a nightmare for West Ham United boss Gianfranco Zola, as Stoke City won 1-0 at Upton Park. Last season, Fuller was sent off for fighting with his skipper Andy Griffin at Upton Park, but this time around, despite suffering from food poisoning, he landed the killer punch on wobbling West Ham, with a brilliant individual 69th-minute winner that sent City into tenth place. The Jamaican's seventh goal of the season left the East Enders level on points with 18th-placed Hull City, who have a game in hand on Zola's strugglers. Ahead of this crucial contest, inconsolable co-chairman, David Sullivan, had e-mailed Hammers season ticket holders apologising for the 'pathetic showing' in Tuesday evening's lamentable loss to fellow strugglers Wolverhampton Wanderers. "We need this team to show us their talent, their desire, their passion, their dare," he wrote with the team languishing in 17th spot. "We need new heroes." After such a destabilising build-up to this game, gallant Zola had already made one valiant stand by reportedly banning his boss from a pre-match team meeting. But despite changing half his outfield team following that Wolves defeat, sadly no heroes were to emerge for the Italian, who recalled Manuel Da Costa, Kieron Dyer, Jonathan Spector, Mido and Mark Noble in place of the injured James Tomkins (ankle) plus substitutes, Alessandro Diamanti, Fabio Daprela, Benni McCarthy and Radoslav Kovac. Following their defeat against Spurs last Saturday, Stoke made two changes as Liam Lawrence and Mamady Sidibe replaced the suspended Dean Whitehead and the benched Fuller. Certainly those two fresh faces caused some early concerns for the Hammers. With just five minutes on the clock, Lawrence charged down a clearance and volleyed high over from 18 yards and Sidibe saw his angled effort bundled off the line by Mido. Abdoulaye Faye then powerfully nodded ex-Hammer Matthew Etherington's subsequent deep corner just inches wide, as the Potters set about a fragile home defence that had conceded 14 goals on its way to five successive defeats. Although both Spector and Carlton Cole were bundled out in the heart of the City area, while Mido nodded Dyer's near-post cross high over, the visitors looked more dangerous and another Etherington corner saw Danny Higginbotham head wide. As the first half entered its final quarter-hour, though, the pile-driving Scott Parker released Cole with an inch-perfect throughball, but the advancing Thomas Sorensen did enough to make the Hammers' top-scorer send the ball wide. And as West Ham started to find their feet, the Stoke keeper again came to his side's rescue when he parried Cole's stinging shot but with the goal at his mercy, the stumbling Mido showed just why he is only on a reported £1,000 per week. To the amazement of the home fans amongst the crowd of 34,564, he frustratingly failed to convert the simple rebound to leave it goalless at the break. Zola brought on Diamanti for Dyer in time for the restart and, just moments into the second period , Dave Kitson pulled up sharply and was replaced by Tuncay, who soon saw his keeper gather 20-yarders from Parker and Cole. Diamanti and Noble also tried their luck with wayward long-distance efforts, but just as West Ham looked like gaining the upper hand, Stoke struck the killer blow. Having just replaced Etherington, Fuller collected Danny Collins' punt forward and danced his way past Da Costa and Matthew Upson, before brilliantly blasting past Robert Green from eight yards to break the deadlock. Zola responded by replacing Noble with Ilan, who skied over at the far post and, after Spector sent a 25-yarder inches wide, the Hammers took one last roll of the dice as McCarthy replaced Mido. But, alas, there was to be no way back for West Ham, who have just six games left to save their season.
Live Text Commentary
Full time
 

FULL TIME: WEST HAM 0 - 1 STOKE: It's all over at Upton Park and it is a sinking defeat for Gianfranco Zola's side who have now lost six on the bounce. It was a meagre performance from the East Londoners and Stoke deservedly take all 3 points.

90

A free-kick in a superb position for Diamanti 20-yards out but disappointingly for his side he strikes the set-piece straight into the wall.

90

Diamanti's shot on the edge of the box is blocked by a Stoke defender. It almost falls to Ilan six-yards out but luck is not on their side.

90
Yellow Card
 

Delap is cautioned for a foul on Parker.

90

Spector's cross finds Cole whose looping header is a yard wide of the post.

89

McCarthy turns his marker in the box but is dispossessed before he can get the ball out of his feet.

87

Stoke are still seeing a lot more of the ball as this game fizzles out.

85

Upson and Da Costa are forward for Diamanti's corner which does not fall to a claret and blue shirt and Sorensen collects.

83
Substitution
 

Last roll of the dice from Zola as Benni McCarthy is introduced in place of Mido.

83

Spector tries his luck from 20-yards but slices his shot wide of the target.

81

The confidence in the West Ham players is completely lost now and there is nothing about their game that suggests they may find an equaliser.

79

Diamanti's in-swinging corner is flicked on by Cole and Ilan is inches away from connecting with the ball at the far post.

76

Green makes a fantastic save to deny a Tuncay free-kick and keep his side in the game. The rebound falls to Lawrence who cannot get his shot on target.

76
Substitution
 

A switch in personel for West Ham as Ilan replaces Noble.

75

Fuller chases down a bouncing ball and blasts a left-footed effort wide from a tight angle.

74

The hosts have not created anything in this second-half and the home fans begin to get restless.

72

The pressure is on West Ham to find a response now as shell-shocked fans at the Boleyn continue to urge their side forward.

70
Goal
 

WEST HAM 0 - 1 STOKE: FULLER gets his first touches on the ball and breezes past two defenders before drilling a shot past Green. A wonder goal from the forward.

69
Substitution
 

Etherington, who has suffered from food poisoning this week, is not fit to continue here and makes way for Ricardo Fuller.

67

Spector plays a good-looking ball into the area and it is met by the grateful arms of Sorensen at the near post.

65

This tie has the look of a bore draw about it and anxiety seems to have swept over the ground.

63

A quick break from West Ham sees Behrami burst down the left flank but Stoke recover well and snuff out the attack.

61

Noble gets a break but leans back as he sets himself for the shot, striking his 25-yard effort over the bar.

60

Diamanti lines up a free-kick in a decent position and sends it into the stand behind the goal.

59
Yellow Card
 

Whelan picks up the first booking of the game.

58

Wilkinson is in a decent position for Stoke but disappointingly sends his cross over the heads of everyone in the box.

56

Stoke give the ball away cheaply and Cole gets a shot away from the edge of the box, striking the ball straight at Sorensen.

54

West Ham have tried to limit Delap's run up for throw-ins by placing advertising boards closer to the pitch! This does not stop him launching this one into the box though but it is dealt with by Green.

51

Huth strikes a free-kick straight into the wall and knocks Noble to the floor!

50

Parker injects some pace into the game and lets fly from distance. He fails to trouble Sorensen but it is more promising from the hosts.

49

Etherington tries to plant a cross on the head of Tuncay who clashes with Upson before West Ham clear their lines.

47
Substitution
 

Another enforced change for Stoke as Kitson pulls up and has to leave the field. Sanli Tuncay takes his place.

45
Substitution
 

Half-time sub from Zola as Kieron Dyer, who may not be fully match fit, is replaced by Alessandro Diamanti.

Second half
 

West Ham get the second-half underway.

Half time
 

HALF TIME: WEST HAM 0 - 0 STOKE: The scoreline is a fair reflection of the game with both sides asking questions, though Mido's close range miss will go down as the closest anyone came to scoring.

45

Green snatches the ball off the feet of Sidibe who was setting himself for a shot from six-yards out.

45

Huth does well to get his body in the way of a Dyer shot with West Ham pressing.

42

The Stoke defence fends off another West Ham attack as Parker tries to pass the ball through a crowd of red and white shirts on the edge of the area.

40

Scott Parker comes to life in the centre of the park and slides a pass through to Valon Behrami who slices a shot over from 12-yards.

38

Another opportunity for Mido as the ball almost falls to his feet inside the box but Danny Higginbotham does well to shield it away from the lurking Egyptian.

35

Cole hits a shot from 25-yards which Thomas Sorensen palms into the path of Mido who makes a mess of the golden opportunity, missing the target altogether from seven yards out.

33

There is no fluency about this game at the moment with both sides desperately trying to create something but finding themselves stuck for ideas in attacking areas.

31

Stoke are enjoying a decent spell of pressure now as Delap arrows another throw-in into the box which is dealt with by Da Costa.

28

Matthew Etherington moves forward for Stoke and searches out a team-mate but his cross does not beat his marker Jonathan Spector.

26

A mistake from Robert Huth leaves Cole through on goal but the big defender recovers well to stop him in his tracks.

25
Substitution
 

Faye has not recovered fully from that earlier knock and Tony Pulis is forced to make an early substitution as he makes way for Andy Wilkinson.

23

Dyer is very lively for the hosts and almost gets a left-footed shot away from inside the box.

21

There is an urgency about the hosts in their attack but it is Stoke who have looked more threatening in the final third.

19

West Ham seem to have settled a little now and the players will be thankful to have the support of a noisy crowd behind them.

17

Faye goes down awkwardly following a goal-mouth scramble in his own box and play stops as he receives treatment.

15

as Cole gets a shot away inside the box and strikes the legs of a Stoke defender as West Ham try to mount some pressure.

14

Lawrance sends another inviting cross into the box and Green does well to pluck the ball out of the air.

12

Nice football from West Ham as Carlton Cole tries to play through Dyer but his through ball runs out for a goal-kick.

11

Stoke are causing the hosts all sorts of aerial problems in these early stages and there is a nervousness about West Ham's defence.

9

Lawrence's bending corner runs through to a surprised Faye at the far post and he cannot steer the ball past Julien Faubert.

8

Rory Delap launches a long throw into the box and wins his side a corner as Mido nods the ball behind.

6

Liam Lawrence comes close to giving Stoke a dream start as he blasts an effort over the bar from 15-yards out.

3

West Ham try to catch Stoke on the break and Kieron Dyer bursts into the box but his run is cut short by Faye..

2

Stoke win an early free-kick which is swung into the box but Rob Green makes a save from a Abdoulaye Faye's header.

Kickoff
 

Referee Andre Marriner gets the game underway.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Dean Whitehead is suspended for Stoke's trip to East London so Liam Lawrence is handed a place in the starting line-up. Mamady Sidibe is also preferred to Ricardo Fuller up-front.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Under-fire Gianfranco Zola makes five changes to the West Ham side that were brushed aside by Wolves midweek. Manuel Da Costa comes in for the injured James Tomkins while Jonathan Spector, Kieron Dyer, Mark Noble and Mido all make starts.