Writer: Charlie Bennett
Date:Saturday September 18 2010
Kenwyne Jones second goal in a matter of day`s earnt Stoke a point at home to bottom side West Ham. Scott Parker gave the visitors the lead after Rory Delap failed to clear a Hammers set-piece before Jones got on the end of a pin-point Jermaine Pennant cross. In their search for a winner Pulis`s side hit the woodwork three times in what proved to be a frustrating afternoon.
Boss Pulis made just one change from the side that beat Aston Villa on Monday night. Out went central midfielder Marc Wilson and his place was taken by Jermaine Pennant, making his full debut, on the right wing. Rory Delap took Wilson`s central midfield slot next to Dean Whitehead as he moved in from the wide right.
Pennant`s pace and intelligence caused the Hammers plenty of problems and his dead-balls created several chances. But West Ham retained possession well early on and our dodgy looking defence were nervous as they faced up against the likes of Carlton Cole and Victor Obinha.
Obinha had the first effort on target as his volley deflected into the arms of Sorensen but Stoke should have taken the lead through Jones shortly after. A wicked in swinging free-kick from Jermaine Pennant fell kindly for Jones but he sliced his effort wide when well placed.
Pennant then conjured up another tempting free-kick and the ball hit the post, the first of several times this afternoon, courtesy of Huth at the back post. The tall German had a narrow angle but perhaps should have made the most of his chance after keeper Rob Green`s glowing error.
But the Potters went to sleep and Parker opened the scoring. A poor tackle by Danny Collins gifted West Ham a free-kick by the corner flag and as the ball fell loose in the box Delap walloped the ball into the face of Shawcross, and Parker said thank you very much and tapped his side into the lead.
In a very similar fashion to Monday night against Villa the Potters crawled into their shell and Piquionne almost doubled the lead but his curling shot hit the bar. West Ham`s woeful defence almost allowed Jones to ghost in unmarked to head a Delap throw into the net but the Trinidad man blazed it over.
It was a poor first half from Stoke who, although they looked like scoring, looked like conceding plenty as well. Sorensen was poor under the high ball and the defence lacked communication on numerous occassions that got them in trouble more then once.
However after Pulis`s half-time rollicking, the Potters came out all guns blazing and it took under three minutes to grab an equaliser. Walters and Pennant seemed to have switched places and it worked straight away. Pennant dashed to the by-line to reach a Walters ball through and his first time cross was judged to perfection for the incoming Jones to head in from less then two yards.
A repeat of Monday was on the cards as Etherington made his impact by almost powering Jones lay off past Rob Green. The crowd were alive for the first time and were driving the team forward again. Dean Whitehead gave a much improved performance in the centre of midfield and he kept the pressure on the Hammers defence by recycling possession to the wide men Etherington and Pennant.
Jones then came within inches of scoring his second. A great ball from Danny Collins down the line saw Jones cut in and outmuscle Matty Upson. The number nine smashed his shot towards the corner but Green miraculously tipped it onto the post. Replays showed that Walters was much better placed if Jones could have squared the ball.
The shell shocked Hammers finally emerged and Sorensen was forced into two great saves to prevent them from taking the lead again. Obinha`s accurate half-volley needed tipping past the post before Da Costa`s header from a corner saw the Dane produce an outstanding save down at his far-post.
It looked as if Rory`s throws were going to fail us yet again but sub Ricardo Fuller got on the end of one and his downward header cannoned the bar, it was that kind of afternoon. It was nice to see Eidur Gudjohnsen make his Stoke debut but he couldn`t spark a late rally and both sides had to settle for a point. Stoke go 17th and next up face the long journey to Newcastle next Sunday for another match live on Sky.
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Date:Saturday September 18 2010
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