Parker pain after Stoke

Scott Parker boarded the team bus at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday with yet another man of the match award but with no sense of satisfaction.

The Hammers talisman was voted the star performer on view by the TV pundits watching the 2-1 defeat by Stoke City, but Parker's personal prize of a bottle of Champagne was not what he wanted to take back to London. Most frustrating was seeing Danny Higginbotham smash in a winning free-kick from 20 yards.

Parker conceded that Stoke had taken the game to their visitors but still believed the Hammers had more than risen to the challenge - especially after a first half when Robert Huth's early header was cancelled out by Frederic Piquionne's opportunistic goal.

"In the second half we were under more pressure. You come to Stoke and the pressure they put you under in these sorts of games is tough but I do think we still deserved something out of the game. But it was not meant to be."

Clutching his Champagne, Parker said he would be doing all he could to ensure the Hammers' mini-revival in the Barclays Premier League keeps bubbling along. "We will put this behind us and go again now, but obviously we are disappointed."