Hosts secure vital three points to aid survival fight
West Ham moved out of the relegation zone in the Premier League thanks to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Stoke City at Upton Park with the goals coming from Demba Ba, Manuel Da Costa and Thomas Hitzlsperger.
The first chance of the game went the way of visitors and Jon Walters nearly scored after poking his foot at a Rory Delap cross from a tight angle which forced Robert Green into producing a good save as the ball was creeping in.
Minutes later Ryan Shawcross was unlucky not to fully connect with a header as he was clear of the West Ham defence when the ball was hooked back into the area after a Delap throw but the ball was just out of his reach to make good contact.
Despite the early chances falling Stoke’s way it was West Ham who took the lead in the 21st minute through Ba after Begovic came out for the ball and missed his kick leaving the striker with an open goal to tap the ball into an empty net.
West Ham began to dominate the game and got a deserved second goal from a free-kick when Scott Parker was brought down by Shawcross. Thomas Hitzlsperger whipped in a delightful ball to the back post and Da Costa leaped upon his man to head across Begovic into the Stoke net.
Federic Piquionne should have give the Hammers a three goal cushion when he was one-on-one with Begovic but he fired wide after receiving the ball on the right after Robert Huth’s clearance from Ba’s shot fell directly in his path.
Hammer time | Carlton Cole congratulates Demba Ba at Upton Park
Just before the break Begovic had to produce a good save to deny Hitzlsperger getting on the score-sheet as his half volley from 20 yards looked destined for the net after he picked up Ba’s knockdown.
In the second half Stoke came out fighting and West Ham were grateful to Green as he made a great save to deny Delap who hit a sublime shot towards goal but Green was equal to it to maintain the Hammers' two goal cushion.
West Ham hit Stoke on the counter straight away and Carlton Cole shot could have wrapped up the points for Avram Grant’s side but Begovic produced an excellent save to push the ball away for a corner to keep the Potters in the game.
Another misunderstanding at the back could have cost Tony Pulis’ side as Shawcross let Cole get behind him but luckily for the defender Begovic was on hand to deny the England international again to keep him from getting on the score-sheet.
Stoke responded to the pressure by adding Kenwyne Jones to their strike force and that move nearly paid dividends straight away but his header from Matthew Etherington’s shot crept just past the post with Green stranded.
Cole came close yet again after great work from Tomkins who slipped the striker in but his left foot shot flew just past the post to further frustrate the former Chelsea man.
West Ham finally got the third goal they craved through Hitzlsperger who deserved a goal for his endeavour all game when Parker raced through the Stoke defence and cut the ball back for Piquionne whose shot was blocked on the line only for the ball to rebound for the German who crashed the ball past Begovic and into the net.
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