Stoke City’s fabulous string of victories came to an end on Saturday afternoon. A hard-fought draw with West Ham earns the Potters a satisfactory point.
It was the kind of balanced, edgy game that many perhaps predicted. In a first period short of chances, Stoke City fell behind to a Glen Whelan own goal midway through the second period.
Subsitute Bojan Krkic scored his first goal as a Potters substitute with a volleyed finish past stranded Hammers goalkeeper, Adrian.
Stoke could have nicked the three points at the end, had Charlie Adam not seen his awkward free-kick not turned around the post by the West Ham stopper.
A point for the Potters is a good result and keeps momentum going as the international break looms.
Changes enforced for Mark Hughes
It was the one blip in an otherwise impeccable October for Stoke City.
Both Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic were missing due to injury and suspension, respectively.
Hughes gave a start to promising youngster Ramadan Sobhi as Jon Walters took up a position on the other flank.
In an otherwise unchanged side, Wilfried Bony and Joe Allen were tasked with keeping the attacking capability flowing.
First half lacked any real quality
The first 10 minutes of the opening period went by without a whimper as Stoke looked to do their best to subdue the crowd.
The first chance fell to Walters after he was slipped in behind by Bony. The Irishman was forced wide and his effort to cross was hacked away.
Ramadan was in plenty of space and would surely have been the better option had Bony looked to his left.
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The Hammers’ first genuine look at the Stoke goal brought the save of the match from Lee Grant.
Angelo Ogbonna climbed highest to head towards goal, bringing a smart stop from the Stoke City goalkeeper.
A trademark Dimitri Payet free-kick looped onto the top of Grant’s goal at the end of a lacklustre first half.
Changes force Stoke City into action
Slaven Bilic decided it was time to take action in the West Ham dugout as the second-half began as the first ended.
After an hour had passed, the Croat brought on Ashley Fletcher and Emilio Fernandes, pushing Michail Antonio further forward.
The substitutions paid off for the Hammers as they took the lead minutes later.
Payet’s cross was met by Antonio, whose glancing header nicked Whelan on its way in. It’ll go down in the ‘Own Goals’ column…for now.
After going behind Mark Hughes made a double substitution of his own. Peter Crouch and Bojan came on for Bony and Whelan.
Minutes later, much like West Ham’s change in fortune, the substitutions paid off.
Adrian came flying out of his goal to meet Walters, whose cross lobbed the keeper and found Bojan who made no mistake.
Adrian’s fortune prevented Stoke from the three points after he made a meal of dealing with Adam’s late free kick.
A good result for Hughes and Stoke City
The Potters manager would have taken a point at the beginning of the game, although saw chances to go on and win the match:
"“We went a bit more direct as we felt there was an opportunity there,” said Hughes. “[Bojan has] been a bit frustrated as he hasn’t had a lot of game time of late but he showed his quality.”"
The draw leaves Stoke City on the verges on the Premier League’s top-half. Unbeaten in six, Hughes and the Potters have plenty to be happy about as we head into another international break.