Premier League: Stoke 0 West Ham 1
By Football News
West Ham United recorded their first away victory since November with a hard fought 1-0 win over Stoke City in the English Premier League.
Substitute Jack Collison was the match-winner when he put the visitors ahead with his second goal of the season deep into first-half injury time. The midfielder drilled a low shot past Asmir Begovic after excellent work from fellow substitute Ricardo Vaz Te, inflicting just Stoke's second home defeat of the league campaign.
Both teams were forced into changes following defeats in their last outings; Stoke brought Michael Kightly, Cameron Jerome and Andy Wilkinson in for Geoff Cameron, the injured Matthew Etherington and the suspended Robert Huth.
West Ham's only change was Matt Taylor coming in for Kevin Nolan, who broke his toe against Tottenham.
However, two enforced changes inside the opening ten minutes set West Ham back and the hosts dominated the early exchanges.
Once the visitors had weathered that pressure they created the best chances of the half but could only manage some timid finishing.
James Collins saw a free header loop over Begovic in the 25th minute only for it to clip the top of the crossbar on its way over.
And moments later Collison fired straight at the Bosnian goalkeeper from an unmarked position on the edge of the penalty area.
West Ham should have had a penalty 10 minutes later as Ryan Shotton's lazy tackle ended a surging run for Mohamed Diame inside the penalty area, but referee John Moss was not interested in giving what appeared to be a clear foul on the midfielder.
Andy Carroll, with only three goals this season, then missed the best chance of the half as he got in front of his marker to meet a cross but he headed miles wide with a mistimed header.
With the half all but over West Ham took the lead through Collison after an excellent run from Ricardo Vaz Te, the forward playing a neat reverse pass to Collison and he calmly fired beyond Begovic from 12 yards.
After the break chances continued to be scarce, but both goalkeepers were forced into saves just before the hour.
Begovic was called into action as Vaz Te rolled a perfect pass in behind the Stoke defence for Matt Jarvis, the winger setting himself and firing a good effort toward the bottom corner, but the Bosnian stopper used his feet to clear the danger.
Minutes later the hosts had a fabulous chance but saw it wasted by Peter Crouch. Jerome raced away down the right hand side and although his cross was deflected it ran right into Crouch's path, but his effort from the edge of the area was saved well by Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Stoke piled the pressure on for the remainder of the half but even though Charlie Adam, Kenwyne Jones and Brek Shea were all introduced they could not break down a resolute and well organised Hammers defence, with Adam denied by the crossbar from a superb late effort.