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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:14 5th November 2016

REPORT: West Ham Utd 1-1 Stoke City

BOJAN’S first goal of the season was enough to earn his side a deserved share of the spoils at West Ham United’s London Stadium on Saturday afternoon.


The Spanish maestro stepped off the bench and sent the travelling 3,000 Potters supporters into raptures with a clinically taken half volley from 12-yards out.


It had looked like being a day of frustration for Mark Hughes and his side, who appeared to be on course to falling to their first league loss in six outings.


Michail Antonio did the damage with a pinpoint header midway through the second period, before Jonathan Walters teed up Bojan 10 minutes later to peg the Hammers back.


Walters was one of two changes to the starting line-up from the team that comfortably brushed aside Swansea City last time out.


The Republic of Ireland ace came in for the injured Xherdan Shaqiri, whilst Egyptian protégé Ramadan, who impressed hugely on his first league start for the Club, replaced the suspended Marko Arnautovic.


It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two teams and could have taken the lead on several occasions during the initial exchanges.


Walters, who was making a real nuisance of himself on the right flank, twice managed to get in behind Aaron Cresswell and whilst on the first occasion his delivery let him down, his second was far more productive and only the outstretched leg of Antonio denied Ramadan his first goal.


Wilfried Bony continued from where he left off against the Swans and managed to manoeuvre enough space to strike an effort at goal, although a more viable option would have been to free Ramadan, who was unmarked to his left.


At the other end Lee grant produced a sensational save to thwart the lively Antonio, who powered a header at goal, before the Derby loanee showed tremendous composure to gather a dangerous ball into his box.


Slaven Bilic’s men were more on the front foot after the interval, and finally managed to arouse their supporters somewhat, although their pressing up the field was rarely threatening to breach the stubborn Stoke backline.


Phil Bardsley had already rifled two ambitious efforts from distance well over the bar earlier in the day before he very nearly caught Adrian out with a stunning strike that flew inches over the station from no fewer than 35-yards out.


As the visitors began to assert themselves once more, the Hammers delivered a devastating blow when Antonio riddled free of his marker and glanced a header beyond the reach of Grant and into the back of the net via the inside of the post.


Hughes responded immediately by thrusting Peter Crouch and Bojan from the bench - a decision that would ultimately pay dividends for him.


Crouch was a totally different proposition for the United defenders to contend with, and his sheer height and presence up top allowed space for the likes of Joe Allen, the superb Charlie Adam and Bojan to stamp their authority on the game.


You could sense a goal was coming, but Bilic will have been hugely frustrated with the way the leveller came as his stopper, Adrian, came racing out of his area to chase down a ball over the top, Walters lifted it over the stranded stopper and Bojan clipped the ball home.


It was the least the Potters deserved for their efforts, and whilst the home side pushed forward late on in a bid to try and ignite one final hurrah, Stoke’s backline stood firm to prolong their unbeaten run in the Premier League to six matches.

 

    QUICK FACTS

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