West Ham earns first league point at Stoke

BY foxsports • September 18, 2010

West Ham earned its first point of the season on Saturday, drawing 1-1 at Stoke to halt a miserable four-match streak in the Premier League.

Scott Parker's close-range finish put West Ham ahead after 32 minutes, but Kenwyne Jones headed in Stoke's equalizer at the start of the second half.

''We can take huge positives out of today,'' Parker said. ''They put us under immense pressure and we defended really well.

''We came here today low in confidence and we can leave high in confidence.''

Bottom-place West Ham was without manager Avram Grant and defender Tal Ben Haim, who were both observing the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

''It was going to be difficult when your manager's not here but we understand the circumstances,'' Parker said. ''We just got on with it and came here and got a result.''

The two teams had lost seven out of eight Premier League games between them before the start of play, and it was a scrappy opening at the Britannia stadium.

West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green, who had spilled a Didier Drogba free kick in the buildup to a goal in the team's previous match, against Chelsea, almost repeated the error when he failed to deal with Jermaine Pennant's delivery into the box. But the dropped England keeper's blushes were spared as Stoke defender Robert Huth hit the loose ball against the post.

Having seen Stoke fail to make the most of its set pieces, West Ham then took the lead via a free kick of its own.

Victor Obinna crossed into the box and the ball bounced off two Stoke players before Parker prodded it over the line.

Looking energized, the visitors almost doubled their lead within two minutes as Frederic Piquionne unleashed a drive from the edge of the area that hit the crossbar.

But Stoke responded three minutes into the second half. Jon Walters released Pennant down the right channel and the former Arsenal and Liverpool winger whipped in a cross that Jones headed in at the far post.

Former West Ham winger Matthew Etherington had a chance to put Stoke ahead soon after, having been fed by Jones, but he saw his effort deflected behind for a corner.

Pennant was providing plenty of impetus by pinging balls into the box, but Stoke's front line couldn't capitalize.

Green tipped Jones's strike against the post after the striker had outmuscled Matthew Upson, and the woodwork denied Ricardo Fuller in the last 10 minutes.

Fuller's header from Rory Delap's throw-in bounced into the turf and up off the bar.

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