STOKE CITY v WEST HAM UNITED
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY 15 MARCH 2014
REFEREE: CRAIG PAWSON
Final score - Stoke City 3-1 West Ham United
94: Diame commits a foul and the suffering is nearly complete. The final whistle is blown. We will have all the usual post-match coverage for you on West Ham TV and our other media platforms. Thanks for joining us.
93: The Stoke fans are giving it the 'Ole!' for every completed pass. I doubt there is a more annoying thing in football than losing and having the opposition fans mocking you. It is annoying me.
91: Demel tries to pick out Joe Cole down the right, but he overhits it. Goal kick. It's been that sort of afternoon, the opening quarter aside. A fair number of fans of both sides have left.
90: Yet another chance for Stoke as 'Zonzi blasts the bouncing ball on the volley and Adrian parries before collecting ahead of Arnautovic. The last 20 minutes have been nightmare viewing. We will have another four, at least, too.
89: Carlton Cole wins a corner. Joe Cole takes and Tomkins is penalised for a foul on Wilson.
88: This game needs to end. Stoke come close to a fourth as Ireland and Crouch combine to set up Arnautovic, who opens up his body and side-foots over the bar.
86: That's sheer frustration from Noble as he hacks down Arnautovic. Yellow card for the No16.
84: How big is that decision at 2-1 now, when Muniesa clearly handled the ball? Armero is playing wide on the left. It's 4-5-1 again for the Hammers.
83: Carroll is replaced by Pablo Armero, who makes his debut. For reasons unknown to me, the Stoke fans boo Carroll off. They like to whistle and boo here.
82: This could get ugly. Adrian is forced into two plunging saves low to his left in quick succession. The first is from Arnautovic and the second from Crouch.
81: Stoke have given an illustration of why you have to take your chances.
79: Goal! And Stoke score from it. The initial corner causes a bit of a scramble. The ball is cleared and Noble lofts it back in. The header clear sets Stoke on the counter. Ireland times his pass to Odemwingie superbly and the Nigerian laces the shot high into the net.
79: West Ham have a corner. Joe Cole...
77: Crouch is penalised. It's not a foul on McCartney. Anyway, Whelan's complaints are such that he is booked.
76: Carlton Cole is on for Nocerino. It's 4-4-2 now with Joe Cole wide right and Diame wide left.
75: Diame and McCartney combine on the left. Diame crosses and Nolan wins the header. It hits Wilson. Nolan appeals for handball again, but I don't think that's a penalty. Nor does Mr Pawson.
74: Carroll and company remonstrate with Mr Pawson but he is not going to change his decision. The replays are conclusive. That was a clear handball.
72: The Stoke fans are whistling away but it's the West Ham players who are complaining because the Hammers should have a penalty. It's clear as day. Carroll rises and Muniesa leaps and punches the ball away. How has the referee not spotted that?
69: Goal! That's why and that's a poor goal to concede. Arnautovic is found in space on the edge of the D. There are no midfielders around to close him down, so he manages to get through a challenge from Reid, then shoots low with his left foot. Adrian gets a hand to it, but cannot keep it out.
67: McCartney's cross is better this time and Carroll leaps with Begovic and a defender. The goalkeeper drops the ball, but it hits Wilson on the shins and is collected by the Bosnian. West Ham have undoubtedly been the better side half-time. They need to make this pressure pay.
65: Some pinball in the centre circle ends with Carroll collecting a pass and spinning before releasing Cole. He lays back for McCartney in space, but the left-back curls his cross out for a goal kick.
62: Joe Cole replaces Downing. This is Cole's first league appearance since the home defeat by Newcastle on 18 January.
61: Nolan has the ball in the net, but it's ruled out for offside. Correctly. Begovic comes for a long ball forward and Carroll challenges with the goalkeeper. The ball drops for Nocerino, who clips it over the group of players on the edge of the box. Nolan is offside before he taps the ball in. He does not like the decision, but it is the right one.
59: Chance! Nolan finds Carroll inside the box with a superb through ball. Carroll is in about the same position Ireland was before half-time. He shoots low and across Begovic, who diverts the ball over the crossbar with his right leg. The corner is taken short and wasted.
58: Stoke are knocking on the door here. Cameron wins a throw, then the cross comes in from the right and is cleared by Reid from Crouch's knockdown. Crouch tries to latch onto a cute ball into the box from Arnautovic with the outside of his foot. The ball eludes Crouch's toe and Adrian can collect.
56: It is an interesting clash of formations today. Ostensibly, both teams are playing a 4-2-3-1, with an attacking midfielder supporting the striker and two wide players. The interpretation of the formation is slightly different, however. Anyway, today's attendance is 27,015.
54: It's been better from West Ham since the break. They've got more tempo to their play. Tomkins launches a free-kick into the box and it is headed out for a throw in an attacking position. Demel takes, then heads the ball to Downing, who is offside.
50: It is blustery out there. Long balls forward are either holding up or being carried on the wind. Meanwhile, Diame's dancing feet see him beat Cameron twice before finding Noble. Got to love watching Mo dance. Now he's at it again by the corner flag before winning a throw. From it, he is there again, beating Wilson before crossing to the far post for Nolan. The skipper leans back and can only divert his header a yard or two wide. Unlucky.
48: Cameron is being fitted up with some Terry Butcher-esque tape around his head. McCartney is up too, but he doesn't need any bandages. Tough as nails, is our George.
46: Reid heads Cameron's cross clear and McCartney is there to nod clear before he clashes heads with Cameron. That did not look nice. Both players are down and have their respective medical people on. Cameron appears to have smashed his face into the back of McCartney's head.
46: The game is back up and running as Stoke kick-off...
Half-time score - Stoke City 1-1 West Ham United
Before we re-start, Ravel Morrison has scored to put QPR 1-0 up at half-time at home to Yeovil in the Championship.
Well, it all started so well with Carroll nodding in his first goal of the season after just five minutes. West Ham continued to hold the upper hand for the opening 20 minutes or so before Stoke improved and began to carry a greater threat. The goal may have owed a bit to good fortune, but Crouch's tenacity made it happen. From then on, both sides had half-chances before Adrian denied Ireland on the stroke of half-time. It's been a lively game played in a lively atmosphere. Join us again for the second half in about ten minutes or so...
46: Seconds before the break and Stoke have a golden chance to go ahead. Crouch and Arnautovic carve open the West Ham defence and Ireland springs the offside trap. Demel is the man playing him on. Ireland is on the right side of the penalty area and that benefits the Hammers as he opens his body up to shoot from a difficult angle. Adrian blocks and the ball bounces back over Ireland's head. Tomkins prods out for a throw. Seconds later, the half-time whistle is blown.
45: We will have at least one added minute.
43: McCartney is tripped as he pokes the ball to Carroll. Play goes on and Carroll turns past Wilson before thumping a shot a yard over from 25 yards. 'Ooooohs' from the West Ham fans.
42: Classic! Adrian takes a free-kick from about 15 yards inside the West Ham half. Begovic collects and tries to score! He fires the side-winder volley down the middle of the pitch and it's on target, but Adrian scampers back to collect with ease.
40: On the balance of play, Stoke have done enough to warrant their equaliser, disappointing as it is for all of us of a West Ham persuasion. 'Zonzi collects and spins into space 30-odd yards out before dragging a shot well wide.
38: West Ham trying to settle down again after conceding. Demel collects wide right and is tripped by Arnautovic level with the edge of the penalty area. Nocerino takes and it's a decent ball in, but Muniesa is there to head clear from inside his penalty area.
34: Stoke's fans have found their voices. Shawcross strides forward into space and crosses from deep, but this time Adrian can come and claim unchallenged.
32: Goal! Stoke are level from the set play. Crouch wins the header above Tomkins. It bounces down and up before Adrian diverts it onto the crossbar. Crouch reacts quicker than Tomkins and acrobatically volleys in via Odemwingie's shoulder.
31: Tactically, the midfield three are rotating depending on the angle of Stoke's attack. At times, all three have been the furthest man forward in advance of Carroll. For now, Stoke have a corner as Crouch's long-range effort deflects well wide off Tomkins.
30: Fine control by Crouch on his chest to find Cameron. He then tries to poke a ball inside for Odemwingie, but when the ball clips the Nigerian's heels, Nolan steps in on the cover and clears up to halfway. Alert play by the skipper.
28: Diame collects a pass from McCartney and spins away down the left touchline. He tries a curled through ball for Nolan to run onto, but it is just too strong and bounces into Begovic's hands on the edge of the box.
27: Cameron crosses from the right after a period of Stoke possession. Crouch gets in front of Reid to win the header into the box, but Tomkins reacts quicker than Ireland before firing the clearance into the stand. Safety-first, and applauded by Adrian. West Ham deal with the throw before Noble is fouled.
25: Handball by Ireland. Adrian takes a little time over the free-kick, which leads to whistles from the home fans. When the ball drops, Noble tries to release Demel down the right. Arnautovic cuts it out, but Downing races back to make a sliding challenge to halt the counter. West Ham working very hard all over the pitch.
23: Demel's hurried clearance is superbly controlled by Carroll on halfway. He is felled by Shawcross. Strong play from the No9. Tomkins' free-kick is diagonal and over the head of everyone. Goal kick.
22: The home crowd are getting a little frustrated with a perceived lack of fight in some areas. A number of times, West Ham players have won their physical battles with their opposite numbers. If West Ham can get a second, that frustration will only grow. Meanwhile, the West Ham fans are enjoying themselves in the sunshine.
20: A period of midfield battling with no goal efforts leads to the cameraman finding David Moyes in the crowd. We host Manchester United next weekend, of course.
16: Nolan goes down under a challenge from opposite number Shawcross. Free-kick 35 yards out to the left of Begovic's goal. Noble and Downing stand over it... Noble floats this one into the goalkeeper's hands. Stoke try to spring out on the counter but first McCartney and then Noble deal with the danger. Noble clears and is fouled by Ireland.
15: Arnautovic shoots from 30 yards. The ball flicks off Nolan's foot and over the bar. Corner. Cameron gets his head to the set piece, but can only glance it across the face of goal and out for a goal kick. Mark Hughes looks a bit frustrated in his dugout seat.
14: Pieters is going to have to be replaced. He is helped off by the Stoke physio, with Spaniard Marc Muniesa on in his place. Muniesa has played just one Premier League game since December.
13: Stoke have a player down. It is Pieters who has the physio on. Meanwhile, Carroll has a change of footwear, or it might even be one of his socks which he is changing.
10: It's good again from West Ham as Carroll challenges for a high ball, but Demel's cross is cleared. Diame gets the cross in next but Stoke clear and counter with a superb sweeping move down their right. The low cross is only blocked a few yards by Nocerino and 'Zonzi's fierce shot hits Noble and loops behind for a corner. From it, Stoke threaten at the far post, but the shot is weak and hits a defender before dribbling wide. Replays show the ball hit Odemwingie, but Mr Pawson gives a corner. The corner is too deep and flies out for a goal kick on the near side.
9: Nocerino's corner is headed back to him. He crosses low to the near post and Begovic holds on.
8: Carroll battles again from a diagonal ball forward from Reid. The ball drops and Carroll reacts quickest. He shoots low and the ball nicks off a toe and behind for a corner. Shawcross is marking Carroll from this Nocerino corner.
6: That's West Ham's 800th Premier League goal. Stoke nearly cancel it out within 60 seconds, though, as Crouch's cross is met by Ireland, whose low shot is brilliantly saved by Adrian low to his left. Corner. West Ham deal with the low delivery to the near post and then the follow-up.
5: GOAL! CARROLL IS BACK! Noble floats the free-kick to the right-hand post, where Carroll rises high above Crouch and Begovic and nods into the roof of the net. Great header. He wanted that more than Crouch. Begovic will think he should have stayed on his line.
4: Good control by Carroll before he spins and makes space for a shot, which is blocked. The ball spins into the air and Noble controls before being tripped by Ireland 35 yards out.
3: Good atmosphere building here, as always. West Ham are pressing high and forcing Stoke into some early errors. Nocerino has had a few touches, which will help settle him into the game.
2: Carroll helps on Noble's pass for Downing, who streaks into space down the left. He tries to run Cameron but the American stands firm, gets his body in a good position and concedes a throw. West Ham cannot make anything from it.
3pm - We're off! West Ham kick-off and immediately the long diagonal is aimed towards Carroll. He wins it but the header flies out for a goal kick. The Hammers fans are making a right din to my right.
2.56pm - Here they come! One fan has text me suggesting this is the strongest team Sam Allardyce has ever fielded at West Ham. Do you agree? Let us know on our social media platforms by clicking on the link above!
2.52pm - A minute's applause is held for late Stoke City midfielder Calvin Palmer, who has died aged 73. Palmer scored 27 goals in 196 games for the Potters between 1963 and 1968, including the 1964 League Cup final. He also played for Nottingham Forest, Sunderland and Crewe Alexandra.
2.45pm - The Hammers have completed their warm-up under a rapidly darkening sky here at the Britannia Stadium. They were roared off down the tunnel by the 2,600-odd West Ham fans who have made the journey up to the Potteries this afternoon. It is - as it always is - blustery inside the ground. It reminds me of Basildon town centre. I mean that it is like a natural wind tunnel, not that it looks like the Eastgate Shopping Centre.
2.12pm - We correctly predicted the Stoke starting XI in our Tactically Speaking feature, which you can read now by clicking on the link above.
2.05pm - Today's teams are in! West Ham make four changes, with Carroll, Reid, Diame and Nocerino in for Carlton Cole, Collins, Jarvis and Taylor. On-loan AC Milan and Italy midfielder Nocerino makes his first start for the Hammers in midfield. Nocerino's last league start was for AC Milan in their 3-0 home Serie A win over Atalanta at the San Siro on 6 January. He also started AC Milan's 2-1 Coppa Italia quarter-final defeat at Udinese on 22 January.
Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross (c), Wilson, Pieters, Odemwingie, Nzonzi, Ireland, Whelan, Arnautovic, Crouch
Subs: Sorensen, Muniesa, Palacios, Guidetti, Etherington, Wilkinson, Shotton
West Ham United: Adrian, Demel, McCartney, Tomkins, Reid, Noble, Nocerino, Nolan (c), Downing, Diame, Carroll
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Armero, Collins, Taylor, J.Cole, Jarvis, C.Cole
Good afternoon and welcome to a sunny Britannia Stadium for today's Barclays Premier League fixture between Stoke City and West Ham United.
The Hammers make the short trip from the FA National Football Centre at St George's Park, where they trained on Friday, to take on the Potters. A win will almost certainly keep West Ham in the top ten come the end of the weekend. It would also take the Hammers onto 34 points and within touching distance of safety.
Barclays Manager of the Month Sam Allardyce has a near fully-fit squad to pick from, with only Joey O'Brien (shoulder) and Marco Borriello (calf) unavailable. Stoke boss Mark Hughes has suspension issues of his own, with midfielder Charlie Adam and forward Jon Walters both banned. Winger Oussama Assaidi could return from a knee injury, but centre-back Robert Huth (knee) is out for the season.
Big Sam may be tempted to make changes following the 1-0 defeat at Everton last time out, with the likes of Andy Carroll and Winston Reid itching to return to the starting XI after having to make do with places on the bench in recent weeks.
West Ham return to the Britannia Stadium almost exactly a year since they scored a 1-0 Premier League win through Jack Collison's goal. However, the Hammers will face a tough task to repeat that trick, seeing as Stoke have beaten Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea on home soil this season. Of Stoke's 12 league defeats, only two have come here.
Away from home Stoke's, record has been poor, with their sole victory on their travels coming at the Boleyn Ground back in August.
We will have the confirmed team news at 2pm. Before then, please enter our matchday Twitter competitions #WHULINEUP and #WHUGOAL and you could win a signed prize.