West Ham United 0 Stoke City 1 match report: Mark Hughes' magic touch even turns Pennant into a winner

 

upton park

Last season nothing went right for Mark Hughes but since he joined Stoke City in May the Welshman can do little wrong. Almost his first act as manager at the Britannia Stadium was to offer the out-of-contract Jermaine Pennant a new 12-month deal and yesterday the former Arsenal and Liverpool winger paid him back with a late goal that gave Stoke only their third win in 30 Premier League away games.

Pennant, whose escapades have included a drink-driving conviction and forgetting he owned a Porsche that he had left at a railway station for five months while at Real Zaragoza, came on as a late substitute to curl home a free kick, his first goal since May 2011 and the first West Ham had conceded this season.

"I've always admired his talents," Hughes said. "He has had problems – he will tell you that himself. But I think he is in a different place in his life now and he hasn't disappointed me." Hughes has now won more points in three games with Stoke – six, after their home victory against Crystal Palace eight days ago – than the four he managed in his 12 matches in charge of QPR last season. But also, more remarkably, he has transformed the former long-ball outfit into a footballing side.

While Stoke's key performers in this well-deserved victory were footballers such as Charlie Adam rather than long-throw merchants of the Rory Delap variety, West Ham relied exclusively on set plays and had few other ideas. The prospect of going the top of the table, even at this meaninglessly early stage of the new season, seemed to be too much for Sam Allardyce's men, who froze and never looked likely to take the three points they would have needed.

Even one would have been more than they merited after failing to register a shot on target. Stoke passed the ball more in accordance with the values associated with the Academy of Football and it took a double save from Jussi Jaaskelainen after 22 minutes from Marc Wilson's thunderous volley and Jonathan Walters' follow-up to keep them out.

When Steven N'Zonzi wasted a chance for Stoke after pilfering possession from Mark Noble, you wondered whether West Ham might make them pay, but Modibo Maïga headed unconvincingly wide and the injured Andy Carroll was only one of 34,946 inside the Boleyn Ground imagining what he might have done with such a chance.

Adam was taken off after 76 minutes, presumably tired out after running the game, but when his replacement Glenn Whelan was brought down by Mohamed Diamé 20 yards out, fellow substitute Pennant won the points. "It was an off-day for us," Sam Allardyce said. "It shows we're still not established in the Premier League." .

West Ham (4-3-3): Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Reid, O'Brien; Noble (Collison, 84), Nolan, Diamé; Jarvis, Maïga, Downing (Morrison, 64).

Stoke (4-2-3-1): Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; N'Zonzi, Wilson; Walters, Adam (Whelan, 76), Etherington (Pennant, 76); Jones.

Referee: Jonathan Moss

Man of the match: Charlie Adam (Stoke)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?