Stoke 2 West Ham 1
The only change in the West Ham team from last week was Piquionne in for Ba.
Whereas West Ham coped really well with Stoke's aerial challenge in the league in the first half here they were not as effective. There was an early warning when Green was forced into a very good save from an Etherington header from close range.
In the 12th minute however Green was unable to get to a powerful header from Huth, who rose unchallenged to head home a long throw from Delap.
West Ham themselves hardly showed any threat going forward until Hitzlsperger passed a wonderful through ball to Piquionne. Piquionne clearly handled the ball before bundling the ball home but neither the ref or his assistant saw the handball so the goal was given.
In the second half a combination of Stoke's diving and a ref desperate to atone for his earlier mistake handed the game to Stoke. Two minutes into the half Etherington dived in the area and the ref gave a penalty. Green did really well diving to his left to save from Etherington's spot kick.
In the 59th minutes Walter fell over and the ref gave Stoke a freekick. The freekick was fired against Obinna's arm and the ref gave another freekick, this time on the edge of the penalty area. Higginbotham fired in the kick and despite getting a hand to the ball Green couldn't keep the ball out.
In the last 15 minutes it was all one way traffic and West Ham peppered Stoke's goal. Obinna, Keane and Cole all forced good saves from Sorensen. In the 83rd minute Tomkins was clearly wrestled to the ground in the penalty area by Walters but, true to form, the referee gave a foul against Tomkins.
So in the end a combination of Stoke diving and a very poor refereeing performance ensured that ugly won the game. West Ham were not on their best form today. They seemed to miss Ba up front and only hit their recent form in the last 15 minutes of the game.