One week,after easily beating Stoke in the league, the intrepid hammers venture north to face the Potters again, but this time in the FA CUP, with a place at Wembley in the semis at stake.
WHUFC stayed pretty much the same with Obima coming in for Demba Ba. I was expecting the same level of commitment as last week, and another high tempo performance would of seen us through.
Stoke came out of the blocks on fire and pressured WHU back into their third. Green pulled of an amazing save from former hammer Etherington after just 2 minutes. West Ham could not get it together and payed the price, after another long throw from Delap is met by Huth, it’s one nil Stoke.
Stoke kept the pressure on, and West Ham had no response. Then a great ball from Hitzelsperger, found big Fred, and he bundled the ball in whilst being attacked by Huth. This caused uproar with the Stoke back line, claiming handball. I must say the jury is out, as i think he took it down with his shoulder.
Onto the second half, which was uneventful, except for Etherington diving to win a penalty, which was then saved by Green. Towards the latter end of the half, CC gave away a free kick on the edge of the box, and the resulting free kick gave Danny Higginbottom the winner after a wicked deflection from Rob Green’s hand.
Overall a poor performance from the Hammers who couldn’t get to grips with the negativity of Stoke today, and can now do their customary “concentrate on the league”. However, i have two further points to make.
The ref gave Stoke a penalty, for Etherington diving, and then missed Tompkins being thrown to the ground by Walters despite it being right in his eyeline. Refs take a lot of stick, some unjustified, but blatant mistakes like this make them an easy target.
Secondly, Stoke fans, fair play to you for the win, you were 10 times better than last week, BUT, how can you watch that crap every week. You all get excited about a thrown in for gods sake. Wouldn’t you like to see some semblance of the beautiful game on a Saturday ? I honestly think i would chuck in my season ticket the day that comes to Upton Park (or Stadio Strafordio).
The next two games are Spurs away and Man u at home. 4 points would see us safe for the time being but I am expcecting a return of 1 and an exciting end to the season.