Rare Pennant goal gives Stoke rare away win
31st August 2013
A rare Stoke away was completed by an even rarer Jermaine Pennant goal as Stoke beat West Ham at the Boleyn Ground 1-0.
The Potters dominated the game throughout and were unlucky not to win with a more comfortable margin.
Hat-trick hero from Stoke`s Second Round League Cup victory, Kenwyne Jones was rewarded with a first Premier League start of the season and nearly continued his rich vein of form when produced a smart turn to free himself from his marker. Jones honed in Jaaskelainen's goal but failed to put his shot on target.
West Ham only had one whiff of a chance in the game and that was against the run of play when Modibo Maiga rose highest in the box to meet a Matt Jarvis cross but his header went horribly wide.
Stoke controlled most of the game, with their new passing style, which brought the best out of the likes of Steven N`Zonzi and Marc Wilson, who were allow to show their expansive passing repertoire.
The Potters dominance was nearly rewarded just before the break when Charlie Adam smashed a shot towards goal but was inadvertently blocked by the face of West Ham defender fell to Marc Wilson 25-yards out who superbly hit a left foot volley which was amazingly saved by the West Ham stopped once again after the ball dipped lately, the Finnish keeper managed to get up and superbly save the rebound after the on rushing Jonathan Walters tried to pick up the scraps.
Stoke continued to play their passing, flowing football and weren`t afraid to mix up when was needed. Hughes and Stoke stayed calm and continued to implement their new style.
Mark Hughes decided to mix it up slightly as he brought on Glenn Whelan and Jermaine Pennant for Matthew Etherington and Charlie Adam.
This proved to be a moment of genius as Glenn Whelan won a free kick on the edge of the box and fellow sub Pennant stood up to the ball. Pennant with Beckham-esque precision managed to get the ball up and over the wall and beat the on-form Jaaskelainen to send the travelling Stoke fans into raptures.
It was something of a fairy tale for a player whose Stoke City career looked all but over at the end of last season. Mark Hughes placed a lot of faith in City's number 7 when he decided to renew his contract, and the former Arsenal midfielder has started to repay to the faith Hughes had shown in him.
West Ham tried to push for an equaliser late in the game, but Asmir Begovic, who hadn`t had to make a save all game, bossed his box late on, continually coming to collect the ball and easing the pressure on Stoke.
The Frenchmen has really started to show his ability in the system, his calmness and passing ability is really starting to be a commodity for Stoke's new style as he time and time again starts Stoke's counter attacks along with his tenacity that helps the Potters regain possession.