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West Ham United
24 October 2010
• Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: A. Marriner
• Attendance: 27372
T. Şanlı 81'
J. Hernández 27', 86'
FULL TIME! And that's that. United pick up a vital three points despite a Tuncay strike which looked to have sucked the life out of Ferguson's side. Hernandez has shown an excellent sense of positioning for both goals and his winner could prove vital in the title race.
90' + 4'
Nani's effort is well saved by Sorensen. It stays 2-1, United have a corner and Stoke are not where they want to be.
90' + 2'
Jones has picked up a knock and has gone off for treatment. United were always playing a dangerous game by keeping it at 1-0, but Hernandez comes to the rescue for Ferguson's side.
Four additional minutes as Sorensen bombs forward for a corner. But the set piece comes to nothing.
It's that man again - Hernandez. The Mexican found space in the area and following Evra's shot, the striker pounced and tapped home. The United fans are sent wild.
Goal Javier Hernández
GOAL! United restore their lead.
Assist Marc Wilson
Goal Tuncay Şanlı
A fantastic strike by Tuncay. Following a rare mistake by Paul Scholes, Tuncay was given space on the edge of the United area and his left-footed curling effort was too much to Van der Sar.
GOAL! Stoke equalise through a magnificent Tuncay strike.
Eidur Smari Gudjohnsen
On comes Gudjohnsen. Straight away he wins a corner but has Pulis made these changes too late?
United are starting to keep the ball now. Stoke are chasing. It's not where Pulis's men want to be at this stage in the game.
United nearly go two up. Quick throw out by Van der Sar to Berbatov and the Bulgarian dribbles to the edge of Stoke's area before crossing to Hernandez. The ball was not the easiest to meet, but the Mexican managed to connect, but his effort flashed wide. United need that second goal.
United have dramatically dropped the tempo of their play. Neither side has created any chances, but Ferguson's side are playing a dangerous game.
Tuncay is on, and the striker has under 30 minutes to weave a bit of delight at the Britannia. Stoke need something. Jones has been isolated and Pennant has faded.
Yellow Card Marc Wilson
Nick Price, notes: "Big reception for Sanli Tuncay, who's just emerged from the bench to warm up. The Turk is rumoured to be far from happy at not being picked in match day squads recently, allegedly storming home on more than one occasion. "But the ex-Boro man remains a favourite here, and with Walters and Jones faltering, he could well make an appearance to change things as Stoke struggle to break down United."
Stoke still continue to press United. Chances are rare in this second half, you get the impression United will settle for 1-0.
Another Delap throw is dealt with comfortably, this time Nani heads clear. Stoke seem devoid of any creative spark.
The intensity of the match is high. Stoke are certainly pressing for an equaliser, but chances are few and far between.
Evra was bundled over in the area by Delap and calims for a penalty were forthcoming. The left-back was not going to get to the ball ahead of Sorensen, but there was certainly a push on the Frenchman.
Yellow Card Danny Collins
Collins rattles into Nani. Ferguson berates the referee before he's even had the chance to get his cards out of his pocket. The Stoke defender is booked for his efforts.
And the game restarts. Neville has been substituted and Wes Brown has come on to replace him. It's the right decision considering the right-back could easily have been sent off in the first half for that challenge on Etherington.
45' + 3'
And it is. Andre Marriner blows for half time. Hernandez's superb header should dominate the talk during the interval. There's been little in the way of chances, but perhaps United have slightly shaded proceedings.
45' + 2'
Vidic gets on the end of a United corner, but blazes over. That looks like the end of things for this half.
Clearly the Stoke fans are on the same level as me, as Goal UK's chap at the Britannia Stadium, Nick Price, says: "Potters chant "If he played for Stoke, you'd send him off" at referee Andre Marriner following another Neville foul."
Close shave for Neville, who is already booked. The right-back chops down Etherington, who has given him a difficult time in the opening half. Andre Marriner waves away any sending off calls from the home fans. Tony Pulis looks on, perhaps slightly resigned to the referee's decision. Neville's challenge was worthy of a yellow.
Yellow Card Paul Scholes
United almost go two ahead after Faye sells Sorensen short with a back pass. The Stoke goalkeeper attempts a clearance, which cannons off Hernandez but the ball goes over.
Nothing comes of the free-kick. And the subsequent throw, which was taken by Delap was dealt with by United. Stoke seem unable to reply to Hernandez's goal.
Clumsy by Evra. The left-back concedes a free-kick in a dangerous area after a silly foul on Pennant. Chance for Stoke.
Yellow Card Gary Neville
There's a break in play as Etherington is injured. Having seen the replay of Hernandez's header, the Mexican's effort looks even better. He was literally facing the other way, so to get power and direction on the header seems witchcraft on the part of the young striker.
Our man at the Britannia Stadium, Nick Price, says: Frustration for Stoke fans as United have retained possession with relative ease since taking the lead. That goal had been coming given how slack the Potters had been on the ball, and the Boothen End has been quiet after Hernandez's header.
Stoke have pushed on straight after cinceding but United's defence are holding firm. Frailties shown earlier in the season appear to have vanished for Ferguson's side.
Assist Nemanja Vidic
Goal Javier Hernández
Nani took an age to deliver the ball from a corner but when he did, the winger hit the ball deep. Vidic met the cross and headed back to Hernandez, who, despite facing away from goal, superbly directed his headed effort past Sorensen.
GOAL! Manchester United take the lead.
Nani nails a free-kick straight into Stoke's wall. There's always too much expectancy from his set pieces.
United are not getting the ball on the floor and as a result Berbatov and Hernandez are struggling to get hold of the ball in attack. Stoke have Jones as a target man, who has held the ball up well on several occasions.
That's unlike United teams of old - Ferdinand hoofing clear to no one in particular. Stoke continue to press.
Apart from Hernandez's chance, United have failed to really open Stoke up. The home side have not created much but Pennant is looking bright.
Excellent piece of skill from Berbatov. Practically dribbled out of his own area to create a potential counter. But Nani failed to capitalise on the break and gave the ball away.
Delap has a pop from all of 40 yards after Van der Saar was left to scramble back to his goal following a clearance. The shot troubled the advertising boards more than the goal.
United are slowly started to venture into Stoke's box, much to the annoyance of the home fans. Berbatov fails to make anything of possession in the area though.
Glorious chance for Hernandez. Nani clipped the ball over to the Mexican, who was in yeards of space, but the striker tried to head the ball back to Berbatov and not towards goal. A strange choice.
Stoke are getting in the faces of United, as you'd expect. The game has not settled yet. The the home side have looked bright.
Nick Price is Goal UK's man at the Britannia Stadium this afternoon, and he observes: A sell-out at the Britannia and a cracking atmosphere here already with the travelling support in good voice, but they're being drowned out by cries of "We only hate Man United!" from the Stoke fans. They don't though, they also hate Port Vale.
And the referee Andre Marriner blows the whistle to start the match.
Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Faye, Collins, Pennant, Wilson, Delap, Etherington, Walters, Jones. Subs: Begovic, Higginbotham, Whelan, Gudjohnsen, Pugh, Sanli, Wilkinson.
And the teams are as follows... Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Fletcher, O'Shea, Scholes, Nani, Hernandez, Berbatov. Subs: Kuszczak, Brown, Smalling, Carrick, Obertan, Macheda, Gibson.
Finally the spotlight will be off Wayne Rooney for 90 minutes as Manchester United will need to secure three points in order keep close to league leaders Chelsea.
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