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02:19 28th October 2010

Potters Bow Out Of Carling Cup

STOKE CITY'S hopes of securing a quarter final place in the Carling Cup were undone by the class of Scott Parker . . . after they had led through a goal from record signing Kenwyne Jones for much of the fourth round tie at Upton Park.

The inspirational Parker headed a West Ham equaliser seven minutes from time to cancel out Jones' fifth goal of the season in the early stages of the game and that set the home side up to claim a hard-fought 3-1 victory in extra time.

West Ham looked the more likely winners after getting back on level terms and it was no surprise when Manuel da Costa and Victor Obinna struck goals in the extra 30 minutes to book their place in the quarter finals of the competition.

All that was a contrast to the early stages of the tie when Jones rose to head home a Jermaine Pennant corner in the sixth minute and they had further chances to stretch their lead, particularly when Tuncay headed narrowly wide.

But Parker lifted his side after their uncomfortable start and it was eventually the England international who broke down City's gallant resistance.

With Matthew Etherington, Ricardo Fuller and Danny Collins all unfit, Pulis took the opportunity to hand starting places to a number of fringe players.

Tuncay was rewarded for his stunning equaliser against Manchester United with a spot alongside Jones up front, with Jon Walters operating on the left.

West Ham were without key men Matthew Upson and Ferederic Piquionne and so like Pulis, Avram Grant opted to make a number of changes.

The decision to pair Tuncay with Jones paid immediate dividends as City took the lead in the sixth minute of the game from a corner.

It was Tuncay's burst down the left which earned the corner, and when Pennant sent over his cross from the left, Jones rose to head home.

The Potters maintained their promising start and Tuncay latched onto a ball from Andy Wilkinson, but lost control at a crucial point when he had worked his way into a shooting position just inside the box and West Ham were able to clear the danger.

There was a scare for City when the home side threatened for the first time. Begovic was relieved to see a shot from Barrera fly wide after taking a deflection and then the 'keeper saved a Benni McCarthy header comfortably from a Boa Morte cross.

There was a glorious opportunity for the Potters to go further in front in the 19th minute when Danny Higginbotham whipped a cross in from the left and Tuncay escaped his marker to meet it with a firm header but watched it flash past the upright.

The alarm bells were ringing in the West Ham defence when Ben Haim turned the ball back to Stech without spotting the incoming Jones, but the 'keeper reacted smartly enough to clear as City's record signing attempted to charge it down.

For the second time in the half, Barrera unleashed a shot from the edge of the box which took a wicked deflection, but once again it flew wide of the target.

With the energetic Parker at the heart of most of West Ham's best moves, the home side exerted pressure at the end of the first half and went close to an equaliser on two occasions, Cole firing across goal after a neat turn in the box and then McCarthy completely missing his attempted shot at goal after some excellent approach work from Cole.

City began the second half as they had done the first by creating an excellent chance from which they were close to adding a second goal from a corner.

Pennant dragged the ball back to Whelan on the edge of the box and he went for accuracy with his shot which took a deflecting and flew agonisingly wide.

West Ham hit back and had a couple of good opportunities themselves as Tomkins headed wide from a corner which Begovic flapped at and then the inspirational Parker ended another burst forward with a shot that was only inches off target.

City made a couple of changes which saw Pennant and then Jones withdrawn and they were replaced by Pugh and Gudjohnsen.

West Ham also made changes in their search for an equaliser and Victor Obinna soon made his presence felt after his introduction with a powerful shot from the edge of the box which drew the best out of Begovic with a diving save.

The home side then had appeals for a penalty waved away by Howard Webb when Shawcross challenged Faubert as he burst forward into an excellent goalscoring position, the City skipper managing to push the ball behind for a corner.

But the Hammers got themselves on level terms seven minutes from the end of normal time and not surprisingly it was Parker who got the goal.

Barrera whipped the ball in from the left hand side and Parker burst into the box to send his glancing header beyond the reach of Begovic.

West Ham piled on the pressure in the closing stages and they clearly looked the more likely winners with City having to defend in numbers.

They managed to hang on until the end of the 90 minutes, but the Hammers went in front six minutes into extra time.

Noble took advantage of some weary legs in City's ranks with an electrifying burst into the box and he pulled the ball back for Da Costa to score from close range.

It could have got a lot worse for the Potters when Obinna found space on the edge of the box and unleashed a fierce drive which flashed wide of the target.

He wasn't to be denied in the seond half of extra time with City throwing men forward in search of an equaliser and pushing Shawcross up front.

They were caught on the break as Obinna burst clear and he kept his nerve to fire an unstoppable shot past Begovic to seal West Ham's triumph.

    Data provided by Press Association


    The Potters played out four replays to finally beat Bury in the FA Cup in 1955