Grant's belief in new blood pumps fresh life into West Ham

West Ham 3 Stoke City 0

One team kept a clean sheet and scored with a towering header from a set play, the other was struggling from the moment its defence conceded a comedy goal. If the good news for West Ham United is that they have taken on some of Stoke City's battling qualities, the bad news for the team from the Potteries on Saturday was that, at times, they resembled the east Londoners at their most unconvincing.

The league table suggests that Stoke are also in danger of sliding into the relegation danger area that has been West Ham's habitat for most of the season unless they rediscover their identity away, where they have now lost six successive league games.

This was West Ham's first clean sheet since New Year's Day, and it appears it will be the reinforcements in midfield and forward strength that keep them up.

Avram Grant, their manager, finally has competition for forward places, with Demba Ba, who arrived from Hoffenheim in January after failing a medical at Stoke, scoring his fourth goal in four league games. And Thomas Hitzlsperger, the summer signing whose debut was delayed until last month by injury, has given them a valuable left-footed midfield presence.

It was his free-kick that was headed in by Manuel da Costa to double the lead and his thumping finish that sealed the victory in the second half.

"I don't remember a player that has such a big impact in their first games in the Premier League as Demba Ba," Grant said. "Demba and Hitzlsperger I have followed for a long time and I believe in them."

Stoke can take revenge on Sunday, when the teams meet in the FA Cup sixth round, and Tony Pulis, their manager, is not panicking yet. "We haven't done too bad away from home this season; that's the first time we've conceded three goals. I think we were the only Premier League club not to do that. So we're disappointed today, we dust ourselves down and get on with it."

Scorers: West Ham Ba 21, Da Costa 29, Hitzlsperger 83.

Subs: West Ham O'Neil (Ba, 81), Obinna (Cole, 86), Gabbidon (Parker, 90). Stoke Etherington 5 (Pennant, 51), Fuller 5 (Carew, 65), Jones 4 (Delap, 68).

Booked: Stoke Shawcross, Wilson, Pugh.

Man of the match Noble. Match rating 7/10.

Possession West Ham 60% Stoke 40%.

Attempts on target West Ham 10 Stoke 5.

Ref A Marriner (West Midlands). Att 33,066.

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments