West Ham v Stoke as it happened

Live text commentary as West Ham equalise after the break to draw with Stoke in a hard-fought Premier League match at Upton Park.

19 November 2012 Last updated at 22:38 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 2236: 

    West Ham must now prepare for Sunday's match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, while Stoke host Fulham on Saturday. While Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis head home to plot the downfall of their next opponents, I shall bring this evening's live text commentary to a close. Thank you, as always, for your contributions. Join Chris Bevan on Tuesday for an evening of Champions League football, featuring Chelsea and Manchester United, both with tricky trips to Juventus and Galatasaray respectively. Bye for now.

  2. 2227: 

    This evening's strikes takes the tally of Premier League goals over this weekend (and Monday) to 35, the most productive round in the Premier League so far this season - and the most since April 28-30 last season, when 36 strikes found the net. Where would we be without stats? Struggling to find anything to write about, I suppose.

  3. 2221: 

    Stoke manager Tony Pulis on the corner routine which led to the opening goal: "We worked on it for two or three days and never scored a goal in training! It was a great ball in and a great finish by Jon Walters. I'm not supposed to say this, but we obstructed a player. When you work on something on training and it comes off, then obviously it's fantastic. Our lads had to defend for their lives in the second half."

  4. 2218: 

    West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "We could have finished them off with more clinical finishing, but there is another point on the board for us and we have to settle for that. I liked the way we sustained the pressure on Stoke, the belief and the spirit was not dented by the early goal. I think everyone in the second half raised their game, took Stoke to the wire and I think everyone would say we deserved the three points."

  5. 2211: 

    So, I've dusted off the record books (sort of) and come across an interesting fact: Stoke are now on their longest run without a top flight away win since 1984 to 2009 (set over two periods in the division). Tony Pulis's men are winless in 16 Premier League matches away from home. And, interestingly, Stoke goalscorer Jonathan Walters has not been on the winning side in each of the last six Premier League matches he has scored in.


    Some Body on Twitter: "And that is why Stoke & West Ham will always only ever be Stoke & West Ham. #BBCfootball #BoringestEver"

    Mutelo R M on Twitter: "Andy Carroll giving it the lip service when he got substituted. You''ve started 8 & scored 0 bro, just leave it yes."

    Rob Byles on Twitter: "Baines surely makes the Movember 11, both on ability and his formidable effort at facial growth."

  7. 2202: 

    West Ham captain Kevin Nolan: "We were unlucky in the end. We created enough chances to win it. I was guilty of two missed opportunities but it's a great result after going 1-0 down to these guys. It was a good game. A great point in the end."

    Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam: "In the first half I thought we were excellent, but we switched off two minutes into the second half. Overall, we should be pleased with a point because they're going well."

    Adam on the corner routine which led to Jonathan Walters's goal: "I think at this level you need something different, and we've been working all week on it and we knew there was a gap there. Fortunately it worked and we deservedly went 1-0 ahead. This is a tough place to come."


    Liam on Twitter: "How can anyone seriously suggest Nolan should be picked for England? Spends more time abusing officials than playing the game!"

    Don Limani on Twitter: "I can see the match is really exciting(!) the focus is more on Movember than what is happening in the match!"

    James King on Twitter: "RE Movember XI: Get David Seaman out of retirement to play in goal."

  9. 2155: 

    So West Ham remain seventh with 19 points, while Stoke are 14th - a point behind Norwich and Newcastle - with 13 points in the bag. A draw was probably a fair result, with the visitors edging the first half while West Ham dominated after the break. By the way, you can read Mike Henson's match report as it's already been pinged up on the website.

  10. 2153: 
    FULL-TIME- West Ham 1-1 Stoke

    Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble combine to create half a chance for Carlton Cole, but Noble's looping, hopefully, cross into the box was perhaps asking too much of his striker. And that proves to be the final chance of the match as the referee's whistle blows. As you were as far as the Premier League table is concerned.

  11. 2149: 

    Second corner to West Ham in as many seconds... the ball finds the head of Winston Reid but his header, from eight yards, kindly falls for Asmir Begovic. The home fans, you feel, sensing a late winner, although Stoke now have the ball and Mark Noble has conceded a free-kick for a foul on Charlie Adams.

  12. 2147: 

    Wonderful play from George McCartney as gallops from the left byline, drills a low cross which Asmir Begovic cut out at the near post. Four minutes of added time... and West Ham threaten again courtesy of a corner.

  13. 2145: 

    Andy Carroll, sweat perspiring from every pore, is still without a goal in the claret and blue, makes way for Carlton Cole while Matt Taylor replaces Modibo Maiga.

  14. 2142: 

    Substitute Guy Demel, on the edge of the box, looks up, whiffs a chance, but he lashes his effort wide. West Ham content to play across the defence. Patience is a virtue, folks. The home team disappointingly give away possession and Sam Allardyce decides to make a host of changes.


    Rob, Durham, via text: "RE David Movember XI: Theo Walcott would have to be involved given his current form, and Michael Owen can't be denied his role on the bench!"

    Ali Al-Balaghi via text: "RE David: Don't forget about Walcott and Owen in that lineup! A goalkeeper is needed though."

  16. 2140: 

    Just under 10 minutes remaining, not included added time, and there's a lovely ebb and flow to the game: West Ham dominating possession while the visitors threaten on the counter-attack. Andy Carroll becoming more influential as the clock ticks on, but more outside the box than inside. No-one can criticise the striker's work ethic, though.

  17. 2138: 

    Mohamed Diame comes close to topping an industrious display with a goal, but the midfielder's radar was just a tad off target. Steven Nzonzi then bisects the West Ham defence with a wonderful pass down the left wing, but the linesman deems Jonathan Walters to be off-side, much to the disbelief of Tony Pulis.

  18. 2133: 

    I'm guessing Sam Allardyce must be the manager of the movember XI?! Anyway, back on the pitch and Tony Pulis is looking a rather animated on the sidelines while goalscorer Joey O'Brien makes way for Guy Demel as Allardyce freshens up his line-up.


    David via text: "Wonder who would make a movember XI? Crouch, Whelan, Huth and Walters would surely make the team."

  20. 2132: 

    Off trots Matthew Etherington and on jogs Michael Kightly. More food for thought - Stoke have scored only three second-half goals this season. That puts them bottom of the Premier League's second-half goals table.

  21. 2130: 

    The West Ham midfield dictating the tempo although, worryingly for the Hammers, Kevin Nolan has hopped off the pitch and is currently receiving treatment. Just under 20 minutes left, we're all square but the home side look the more threatening.

  22. 2128: 

    Kevin Nolan galloping down the wing, posing the Stoke defence all sorts of problems. The captain's doggedness gives Mark Noble the opportunity to hit a hopeful cross towards Andy Carroll, who is proving to be a nuisance and earns his team a corner, although it all comes to nothing. Zero. Nadda. Zilch.

  23. 2122: 

    Stoke currently only threatening from set plays. Steady goalkeeping from Jussi Jaaskelainen ensures Ryan Shotton's long throw poses as much threat as a startled ant. The home team again penetrating down the left, with Nolan attempting to outfox Asmir Begovic but the Bosnian proves to be as wily as they come.

    Steve Claridge, BBC Radio 5 live at Upton Park

    "Anything you can do... After Tony Pulis's routine brought about the first goal, that was Sam Allardyce showing that his side can work a set-piece as well. Not far away that from Gary O'Neil."

  25. 2120: 

    West Ham camped in opposition territory, with the lively Modibo Maiga causing all sorts of problems on the left. A cute pass from Mohamed Diame sets Gary O'Neil free on the left, but his curling effort whizzes agonisingly wide. Sam Allardyce wincing from the sidelines. That was close.

  26. 2118: 

    A third corner... a fourth corner... Peter Crouch twice comes to his team's rescue, heading away the danger. West Ham have Stoke in a vice-like grip at the moment. The visitors are creaking but as soon as I type that, Matthew Etherington prepares to take a corner at the other end of the pitch.

    Steve Claridge, BBC Radio 5 live at Upton Park

    "It has gone from pretty pedestrian to a million miles an hour. It is fantastic stuff. It is a great game of football, incredible how it has turned around."

  28. 2115: 

    Robert Huth has had a couple of sticky moments, twice conceding cheap corners. Andy Carroll is jostling inside the box, and the alert Modibo Maiga nearly directs the England striker's venomous header towards goal. Asmir Begovic's legs prevent the ball from going over the line. Gary O'Neil snatches at the follow up.

  29. 2112: 

    Excitable energy reverberating around Upton Park, with Kevin Nolan conducting West Ham's attacking play. The captain spraying it left towards the tricky Mdoibo Maiga. The pressure eventually tells, with Stoke conceding a free-kick, although Mark Noble's punt into the box comes to zilch - as does his corner seconds later. West Ham dominating possession, though, and even though he doesn't look it at the moment - bellowing directions towards his players - I'm sure Sam Allardyce will be happy about that.

    Steve Claridge, BBC Radio 5 live at Upton Park

    "We have seen two fantastic moves, West Ham have got down outside of Stoke on both occasions. They should have scored from the first one and they did from the second. It feels like a completely different game from the first half. It suddenly looks stretched and Stoke have lost that control that they had on midfield."

  31. 2105: 
    GOAL- West Ham 1-1 Stoke - Joey O'Brien (47 minutes)

    Mohamed Diame's shot is blocked, but he directs his ricocheted effort towards the path of Gary O'Neil who then whips in a menacing cross for Joey O'Brien. The 26-year-old gets the better of Ryan Shawcross, tapping in from close range beyond the hapless Asmir Begovic. A first Premier League goal for O'Brien and the West Ham fans are in full song.

  32. 2104: 

    Neat play down the left by West Ham, George McCarthy crosses for Kevin Nolan but the former Newcastle midfielder, well inside the six-yard box, can only direct the ball towards the diving Asmir Begovic. What a chance. What a miss.

  33. 2102: 

    Charlie Adam gets the second half under way at Upton Park and in a blink of an eye the visitors are threatening, Ryan Shotton hitting a long ball into the box.


    Simon Aindow on Twitter: "When and how did Mark Hughes' management career go down the tubes?"

    QPR head of media and communications Ian J Taylor on Twitter: "Rumours suggesting Mark Hughes has been sacked as QPR manager tonight are not true."

    Jon Taberner on Twitter: "Nice to see West Ham gettin the stick for the long ball team, that tags been haunting us for years!"

    Niklas Lanwehr on Twitter: "Cannot see Kevin Nolan ending this game without a booking - hes got his mean face on and will explode soon."

  35. 2059: 

    Replays showing just how brilliantly worked Stoke's goal was. The wily Jonathan Walters was standing on the back post when Whelan was about to take the corner, but quickly dashed behind the West Ham defence, towards the near post, to finish clinically from 12 yards. A perfectly executed training ground routine. No wonder Tony Pulis was gambolling on the touchline after Walters's first-time effort.


    BBC Sport's Jacqui Oatley on Twitter: "Jaaskelainen deep in conversation with ref Chris Foy as they walked down the tunnel. No prizes for guessing what was said."

    Steve Claridge, BBC Radio 5 live at Upton Park

    "It has been difficult for West Ham, they have pushed Kevin Nolan on and got overcrowded two for three in midfield. Without the threat down the flanks, they have offered little coming forward. Aside from a little half chance for Kevin Nolan, Stoke have dominated from minute one."


    Jason Williams on Twitter: "Maiga needs to take Nzonzi shooting practice sometime and show him how it's done."

    Jack Bentley on Twitter: "*This* is how we (Stoke) play! Get into the final third, then play. Don't let them play in our half. Clever and enjoyable."

    Sanj on Twitter: "That was some strike form Nzonzi...Maiga's was some strike too...just for all the wrong reasons

  39. 2047: 
    HALF-TIME- West Ham 0-1 Stoke

    Whistle blows and nervous murmurs ripple around Upton Park. Stoke, looking the more threatening in attack, deserve their lead.

  40. 2046: 

    Good work from George McCartney as the defender steals the ball in opposition territory. Eventually, the ball finds Mohamed Diame who wastes possession with a hopefully attempt, which bobbles across goal. The linesman indicates two minutes remaining and the Hammers go long in search of Andy Carroll...

  41. 2044: 

    Kevin Nolan falls to the ground in pain, looks like the Hammers captain has suffered a nasty knock on his shin after a clash with substitute Ryan Shotton. Glenn Whelan sportingly kicks the ball out, allowing the physio to trot on with the magic sponge. It seems to have done the trick, the captain gingerly walking towards the sidelines.

  42. 2040: 

    An interesting stat from Infostrada - it is two-and-a-half years since West Ham last won at home in the Premier League after conceding the opening goal - the 3-2 victory against Wigan in April 2010. Of course, worth remembering they were in the Championship last season.

  43. 2037: 

    The crossbar is still rattling after Steven Nzonzi takes a first-time 25-yard whack which has the beating of Jaaskelainen but not the crossbar. Seconds later, Modibo Maiga's effort is equally as spectacular but, unfortunately, for the West Ham forward it's not nearly as precise as Nzonzi's attempt. Let's just say the ball is probably still in orbit.

  44. 2036: 

    As Andy Wilkinson trots off, the noise inside the stadium rises a few decibels as West Ham threaten. The Hammers work it from defence, through midfield and into Andy Carroll, but the ball fails o stick tot he big striker's feet. Stoke take a more direct route: Steven Nzonzi controls the ball with his chest and takes a shoot but his effort his high and wide.

  45. 2033: 

    First substitution of the game as Andy Wilkinson departs and Ryan Shotton comes on. The defender was able to jog from the pitch, didn't look injured, so we're unclear why he's left the field. More news on that when we get it.

  46. 2030: 

    West Ham beginning to zip the ball on the floor with Kevin Nolan and Mohamed Diame beginning to dictate play from midfield. The crowd scream that Andy Carroll was nudged in the back inside the box by Geoff Cameron, but the referee just waves play on. Allardyce apoplectic on the sidelines. Looked like contact was made, to be fair.


    David, Manchester, via text: "Why don't people give the Allardyce long ball thing a rest for a moment? West Ham have Benayoun, Jarvis, Nolan, Noble, Maiga, Vaz Te, not just long ball players. Allardyce in his time has signed Okocha, Anelka, Djorkaeff, Hierro, Campo, Stelios, Ngotty, Basturk. It's impolite really (to put it politely) to say the man doesn't understand good football... "

  48. 2029: 

    Kevin Nolan releases the lively Mohamed Diame, he evades one defender sends in a cross but there isn't anyone in claret and blue ready to pounce. West Ham continue to pressurise. Modibo Maiga sets Kevin Nolan free but they midfielder fails to get a true connection. The home side have upped the ante and are starting to get their rewards.


    Mark in Cambridge via text: "Sam is a really good manager but I can't believe West Ham fans are saying they don't play a long ball game. When free kicks in your own half are punted into the box then I'm afraid you are a long ball side. Nowt wrong with that but don't try to dress it up to something it isn't. Cheers."

  50. 2025: 

    Nervous grimacing from the West Ham fans as Jussi Jaaskelainen has to deal with a back pass. The goalkeeper does well though and, quick as a flash, the ball is crossed to Andy Carroll, but the striker's header lacks oomph and drops tamely for Asmir Begovic. Another Stoke corner... Hammers fans breath easy this time as Jaaskelainen calmly catches Robert Huth's header.

  51. 2021: 

    West Ham doing their best to bring Andy Carroll into the game, but the on loan Liverpool forward will be hoping for more precise service if he is to cause the Stoke defence any concern. Stoke penetrating down the left, but they're are wasteful as their opponents in possession. Scrappy.

  52. 2020: 

    A quick update on the future of QPR boss Mark Hughes. There are lots of rumours tonight suggesting that he has been sacked but Kia Joorabchian, an advisor to the Rangers boss, has insisted to the BBC that Hughes remains in charge at Loftus Road.

  53. 2016: 

    Confidence oozing through the Stoke side, with Charlie Adams attempting an audacious shot from inside his own half a la Xabi Alonso or David Beckham. The Scot's effort is off target by some distance, though.

    Steve Claridge, BBC Radio 5 live at Upton Park

    "The technique is fantastic with the ball coming across the front of Jonathan Walters at pace. He has struck it beautifully. I scored a goal just like that when Tony Pulis came to Portsmouth! I didn't hit it as well as that one though."

  55. 2013: 
    GOAL- West Ham 0-1 Stoke - Jonathan Walters (12 minutes)

    Twelve minutes elapse and Stoke earn their first corner of the match. Danger, you sense. It's a well-worked goal. Training ground stuff. Glenn Whelan takes the corner, Jonathan Walters runs across goal, strikes it first time, low and into the corner, evading the desperate attempt of Andy Carroll to stop it on the line. That's Walters third goal of the season.

    Steve Claridge, BBC Radio 5 live at Upton Park

    "It is not pretty or massively different to how we imagined the game before we started. But even the best games take a while to settle down."

  57. 2009: 

    The game settles to a more pedestrian pace after a frantic start. Groans from the West Ham faithful as a diagonal ball forces Jussi Jaaskelainen to dash towards the edge of the box. Safe hands and danger averted. Seconds later, Asmir Begovic punts the ball long for Steven Nzonzi, who knocks it on to Peter Crouch. The the moustachioed beanpole forward, looking like a 1920s gangster, tamely heads to Jaaskelainen, though.


    Tom from Bradfield: "As a big west ham fan it angers me to see all these comments about our long-ball football. Anyone who actually watches west ham at the moment would appreciate the football we are playing."

    Joff from Barnstaple: "Bring on El 'hoofico'."


    JD on Twitter: "Hope all hose watching WHU's 'long ball' have a good watch tonight...See the neat passing we actually play!"

    Tony Brown on Twitter: "Fancy Carroll to score tonight."

    Rob of the robots on Twitter: "Sick of all the criticism of long ball, teams plays to their strength. If everyone played the same it would be incredibly dull."

  60. 2005: 

    Oof! From one end to another. Peter Crouch perfectly directs the ball towards the onrushing Charlie Adam, but the midfielder can't find the target. A great chance for the former Liverpool midfielder. Who said this would be a dull affair? Not me. At the other end of the pitch, West Ham earn a corner - but Kevin Nolan meekly directs it into Asmir Begovic's welcoming hands. A lively start.

  61. 2003: 

    Canny play by Modibo Maiga on the left. He aims for the towering Andy Carroll, but Glenn Whelan nips in ahead of the England striker to head the ball away for an innocuous corner. Neat defending from the Stoke man.

    BBC Radio 5 live's Steve Claridge at Upton Park

    "I'm expecting West Ham to try and win this game, the emphasis is on them. The win last week took a little bit of pressure off Stoke. They don't lose many but they don't win many of them either. Stoke will make it difficult for them."

  63. 2000: 
    KICK-OFF- West Ham v Stoke (2000 GMT)

    We eventually get under way at Upton Park after a false start.

  64. 1958: 

    Captain Kevin Nolan stretches his hamstrings, then chats to one of the mascots before leading his team out to a jam-packed Upton Park. The crowd crackling and in full voice as bubbles float around the evening sky. We're minutes away, folks.

  65. 1956: 

    West Ham manager Sam Allardyce on BBC Radio 5 live: "The spirit in the camp is good. Our squad is stretched to the limit but hopefully the players that we have left can keep on where we left off against Newcastle. To be 12 games in and in fifth in the table, which would be the case if we win tonight, would be well beyond expectations."

  66. 1953: 

    On this day in 2001, West Ham drew 4-4 at Charlton Athletic with Paul Kitson scoring a hat-trick. Just thought I'd throw that one in there.


    Brent, London, via text: "Lookin forward to those tika taka merchants Stoke and WHU tonight. Allardyce v pulis, battle of tactical geniuses. Eat your heart out el 'clasico."

    BBC Radio 5 live's Steve Claridge at Upton Park

    "I think there has been a subtle change in the sort of players that Stoke have recruited in recent times. Would you have thought a couple of years ago that Charlie Adam would have signed for Stoke? I'm not sure I would."

  69. 1949: 

    Stoke manager Tony Pulis on BBC Radio 5 live: "Maybe at times Sam doesn't get the credit he deserves. He has got a big team promoted and that is a tough task. There is a lot of pressure down there because it was a cup final for everyone in the championship every time they played West Ham."


    George Nixon on Twitter: "Agree with Allardyce, something i don't normally do, N'Zonzi is a very good player, would've had him at Arsenal to replace Song."

    Aiyesa Dare on Twitter: "Perfect match to watch for Physics Exam tomorrow.. I need to know how a projectile really look like.. Just Lob the ball."

    Faron Bloomfield on Twitter: "Stoke and WHU play long ball because their target men are massive and good in the air, no idea why Newcastle do it."

  71. 1945: 

    London Evening Standard football correspondent James Olley has tweeted that it "sounds like QPR have sacked [manager] Mark Hughes". We've spoken to a press officer at the club, who could not confirm this is the case. If we hear anything more, you'll be the first to know.

    LINE-UPS- West Ham v Stoke (2000 GMT)

    West Ham: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Reid, Tomkins, McCartney, Noble, Nolan, Diame, O'Neil, Carroll, Maiga. Subs: Spiegel, Cole, Taylor, Collins, Demel, Spence, Hall.

    Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson, Whelan, Adam, Nzonzi, Walters, Crouch, Etherington. Subs: Sorensen, Palacios, Jones, Upson, Kightly, Shotton, Jerome.

    Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

  73. 1942: 
    West Ham v Stoke (2000 GMT)

    West Ham manager Sam Allardyce makes two changes from the team that beat Newcastle at St James Park with Matt Jarvis and Yossi Benayoun replaced by Gary O'Neil and Modibo Maiga after both were forced off in the victory on Tyneside.

    Ryan Shotton replaces the suspended Dean Whitehead amongst the substitutes in the only change to the 18-man Stoke squad that beat QPR last time out. Glenn Whelan, Charlie Adam and Jon Walters have all overcome minor niggles to take their place in the starting line-up.

  74. 1940: 

    West Ham co-owner David Gold on BBC Radio 5 live: "You set out your targets and there is a question of how much money you personally are going to spend. There is the money that the club generates and then there is the money that the owners and principals put in. I think we have got the balance about right."


    Jay Wakefield on Twitter: "Judging by some of the comments tonight, you'd think they'd been forced to watch the game tonight."

    Nick Ladd on Twitter: "#bbcfootball this match could be enough to blind a man..."

  76. 1933: 

    Allardyce has made many astute signings as West Ham boss, but one of his finest acquisitions perhaps was Steven Nzonzi during his tenure as Blackburn manager. The Frenchman is now at Stoke and is being billed by his manager as a player capable of gracing the Champions League.

    "If he keeps improving, I think he could play in the top four or five teams," says Pulis, who bought the 23-year-old on Allardyce's recommendation.

    "He said to sign him. He said don't hesitate, just take him, because he's going to be a top player. He was very open and honest about it, as he usually is," recalls Pulis of Allardyce's insight.


    OptaJoe on Twitter: "49 - Mark Noble has made more tackles than any other player in the Premier League this season. Snappy."

  78. 1928: 

    West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "I'm a little disappointed. I would have preferred Ricardo Vaz Te, Matt Jarvis or Yossi Benayoun available, but we have Matt Taylor back on the on the bench and that is a plus for us.

    "There is a little bit of extra pressure on us with the possibility of us going fifth as a newly-promoted side, but we went away to Wigan and were well beaten. You never know what is going to happen in the Premier League."


    Adam Williams on Twitter: "The only table that matter is the league table, win tonight and we'll be 5th, I'll take that."

    Young HerbY on Twitter: "Both teams very compact in defence, be interesting to see who cracks. Might depend on the two giants upfront."

    Jon Bennett-Tomlin on Twitter: "All these people saying West Ham just play long balls...Sorry we can't hear you from all the way up here!"


    Alex Cooke via text: "Stoke haven't won away from home because we simply aren't scoring enough goals. Loaning Jermaine Pennant out was a bad idea and we seem to be slowly starting to rely on the long balls again like a few seasons ago. On the other hand, a win here may dispel any ideas and get us back to the form we had last season before the Europa League finished us off."

    Jon via text: "Well if Tony Pulis cannot understand why Stoke are not winning games then he should listen to the fans and play 4-4-2 but he is to stubborn to do that we need points come on top, sort it out for the sake of the club and the fans."

    Sam via text: "I think the stick stoke gets is a bit harsh, they spend little yet manage a mid-table finish every season through hard work and good organisation."

  81. 1923: 

    So, what's going right for Sam Allardyce's team, I hear you ask. Well, let me tell you, or allow me to steal some quotes from an article my colleague Frank Keogh has written in which midfielder Mark Noble extols the influence of manager Allardyce.

    "His man management is second to none," says the 25-year-old. "Sam likes his teams to be organised and every detail to be bang on and that's making the difference. We are keeping clean sheets, we are working hard as a team and are hard to break down. It's enjoyable to be out there at the moment."


    George Utteridge on Twitter: "Whoever hoofs it furthest will win."

    Talking Sport on Twitter: "Bit harsh to say tonight's game isn't a football match considering some of the play Stoke produced at Old Trafford. Stokelona."

    Joseph Trotter on Twitter: "I've got my neck-brace on and my chair tilted upwards especially for the occasion."

  83. 1920: 
    BBC Radio 5 Live's Ian Dennis at West Ham v Stoke

    "You have to tailor your style to what you have. If you are a sensible manager and you have a striker like Andy Carroll, then play to his strengths and the options that he gives you."

  84. 1919: 

    West Ham co-owner David Gold on BBC Radio 5 live: "We feel vindicated because Big Sam is delivering. We brought in a man who brought in discipline. He brought in humour as well and people respect him. He is everything we hoped he would be and everything that people said he wouldn't be.

    "A lot of people said that he would bring a game based around the long ball and I remember thinking that I better check this. I went and looked at a few dvds and sure he hits the ball long if he is 1-0 down with a minute to go, but then so would Barcelona."

  85. 1918: 

    I'm not too sure whether West Ham play fewer long balls than Barcelona but I'll trust Freddy on Twitter on that stat. What I do know, thanks to Opta, is West Ham are fourth in the table of Premier League teams which play the highest percentage of long passes (a long pass defined as +35 yards). Stoke, by the way, are third in that table, with Newcastle top.

  86. 1914: 
    BREAKING TEAM NEWS- West Ham v Stoke (2000 GMT)

    Two changes to the West Ham team which beat Newcastle. Yossi Benayoun and Matt Jarvis are out and have been replaced by Modibo Maiga and Gary O'Neil.


    Simon Aindow on Twitter: "Is tonight's fixture what Pele had in mind when he spoke of the beautiful game?"

    Freddy on Twitter: "Bit harsh lumping west ham with the long ball tag. Check your stats! We play fewer long balls than Barcelona!"

    Jay C on Twitter: "Looking forward to listening to #ElLongBallio on @bbc5live, got some fantasy football players to listen out for #bbcfootball"

  88. 1908: 
    BREAKING TEAM NEWS- West Ham v Stoke (2000 GMT)

    Injury doubt Glenn Whelan starts for Stoke after recovering from the hamstring injury sustained while on international duty while Jon Walters and Charlie Adam, who were also doubtful, also make the starting line-up.

  89. 1903: 

    If Tony Pulis is at a loss as to explain why his team haven't won a league game away from the comforts of the Britannia Stadium since January then there's perhaps no point in us trying to do so. Although, kick off isn't until 2000 GMT so we might as well give it a bash. Does Stoke's away form mean West Ham fans have already started counting their chickens and hatched eggs? You can tweet us your thoughts using the hashtag #bbcfootball or you could opt for the classic text on 81111, typing your name (please!) and FOOTBALL before your message.

  90. 1900: 

    Potters fans haven't had many enjoyable road trips of late. In fact, Stoke haven't won away from home in 15 Premier League matches. That's 1350 long minutes(ish) with no wins and just eight goals to cheer. It's a run which has left manager Tony Pulis a little perplexed.

    "If you look at the performances this season away from home, we have probably been better than we have at home," says the Welshman. "We have played well - we just haven't turned it into wins. If you are asking me the reason why, I just can't work it out."

  91. 1855: 

    As well reading all about the match thanks to this very text commentary, why not tune in your wireless to BBC Radio 5 live and listen to live coverage of this ding dong from 2000. Ian Dennis, Darren Fletcher and Steve Claridge will be the men wrapped up warm in the commentary box. But before all of that, Mark Chapman is in the studio for the Mini Monday Night Club at 1900 and will be, so I'm told, chatting with Hammers co-chairman David Gold.

  92. 1848: 

    We were spoilt over the weekend, with an average of 3.6 goals a game in the Premier League. I'll be honest, I'm not sure the ball will ripple the net with such regularity at Upton Park, that's if this season's stats are anything to go by anyway.

    West Ham and Stoke have conceded merely 21 goals between them in the league so far but while such miserliness is impressive, neither team has been particularly prolific at the other end of the pitch. Stoke have scored just nine times in the league so far and - although I don't want to heap more negativity on proceedings - I'll just add: A team managed by Sam Allardyce has failed to beat, or even score, against Stoke in the last four attempts.

  93. 1840: 

    A very good evening to you! There's a certain joie de vivre around Upton Park these days, you can even whiff the confidence from Salford. West Ham fans have the smell of European football in their nostrils and victory under the floodlights this evening will consolidate their place in the top six. But if any team can startle and drag their opponents back down to earth with a walloping thud then it's Stoke.

  94. 1835: 

    On Saturday we had El Sackio and tonight, ladies and gentlemen, on a crisp autumn evening in east London, we might witness El Long Ballio. In the dug outs are two gnarled managers, respected for their organisation but perhaps not credited for their understanding of the aesthetics of the beautiful game. Some say it's not going to be pretty. I say: PAH! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and one thing is for sure, tonight's match will be very, very competitive.

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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 19 Nov 2012 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man City 12 15 28
2 Man Utd 12 12 27
3 Chelsea 12 11 24
4 West Brom 12 6 23
5 Everton 12 6 20
6 Arsenal 12 10 19
7 West Ham 12 3 19
8 Tottenham 12 -1 17
9 Fulham 12 3 16
10 Swansea 12 2 16
11 Liverpool 12 1 15
12 Newcastle 12 -4 14
13 Norwich 12 -9 14
14 Stoke 12 -1 13
15 Sunderland 11 -2 12
16 Wigan 12 -9 11
17 Reading 11 -5 9
18 Aston Villa 12 -12 9
19 Southampton 12 -12 8
20 QPR 12 -14 4