West Ham 3 Stoke 0
Aware of Stoke's aerial threat Grant went with Da Costa and Upson in the centre of the defence and Tomkins pushed out to right back. Up front Piquionne was brought in alongside Cole and Ba.
The tactic of using height worked very well for West Ham, with Da Costa in particular winning every header at the back and being more that useful at set pieces in attack. In the first 20 minutes of the game there wasn't much goal mouth action but this all changed when Noble played a ball forward. Begovic rushed out of goal and completely missed the ball, leaving Ba in a chase with Wilson to get to the ball first. Ba won the chase and tapped the ball home from 4 yards.
In the 29th minute Da Costa made it 2-0 to West Ham when he leaped higher than every one else to head home a Hitzlsperger freekick from 8 yards. Six minutes later it should have been 3-0 to West Ham when Piquionne was left free at the far post but he could only manage to hit the side netting from 8 yards.
At the other end Stoke hardly troubled Green at all in the first half. Their only real chance came in the 11th minute when Walters tried a deft flick at the near post which did force Green into a save.
Stoke came into the game a little more in the second half and actually managed a number of goal scoring opportunites. The first chance of the half however fell to Tomkins who headed just wide at the far post in the 48th minute.
Stoke's best chances fell to Delap, Jones and Fuller. Delap forced a save from Green with a long range effort, the movement in the air causing the keeper a bit of a problem. In the 69th minute Jones headed just wide from 8 yards. In the 86th minute Fuller shot just wide from 9 yards.
However West Ham were also creating chances. Cole twice forced saves from Begovic and also shot just wide from 8 yards. Any nerves West Ham might have been feeling however were put to rest in the 83rd minute.
Parker drove to the byline and pulled the ball back for Piquionne. Piquionne's 8 yard shot was blocked and fell to Hitzlsperger who smashed the ball into the back of the net from 9 yards.
So West Ham keep a clean sheet and move out of the bottom three. They also pull off back-to-back wins in the Premier League for what seems like an age and have now won three games on the trot. They have also now scored 14 goals in their last 4 games.
Things are certainly looking up. Hopefully West Ham can keep the momentum going in the league with some tough games coming up.