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)

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea