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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 December, 2003, 22:09 GMT
West Ham 0-1 Stoke
On-loan defender Frazer Richardson scored a priceless winner for First Division strugglers Stoke against an out-of-sorts West Ham at Upton Park.

The Leeds player showed his quality with a neat first-half strike from the edge of the penalty area, which gave England goalkeeper David James no chance.

The victory finally ended Stoke's run of eight successive defeats on the road.

Stoke made the brighter start and after Ade Akinbiyi was caught offside trying to break clear, Marcus Hall unleashed a left-foot volley but it failed to trouble James.

John Eustace was the next Stoke player to try his luck in the seventh minute but his 25-yard strike flew well wide.

The Potters then worked themselves into a good position in the 21st minute, only for Darel Russell to clear the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area.

The home fans had to wait until the 26th minute before the first spell of sustained pressure from the Hammers resulted in a corner.

Wayne Quinn curled the ball over from the left and Ian Pearce's far-post header was scrambled clear by Hall.

West Ham's best chance of the half fell to David Connolly, whose thumping shot came back off a post in the 30th minute.

But Stoke took the lead three minutes later when Richardson picked his spot from the edge of the area with a crisp strike.

West Ham failed to lift themselves at the start of the second period and manager Alan Pardew replaced the ineffective Brian Deane with Scotland international Don Hutchison.

The hosts' first real chance of the second half fell to the substitute in the 70th minute, but his right-foot volley from Michael Carrick's corner flashed well wide of the goal.

At least Hutchison was able to inject some urgency into West Ham's play and he then forced a save from Ed de Goey seven minutes later.

Stoke responded with a quick counter-attack and Eustace was unfortunate to see his superb 25-yard volley rebound off the woodwork.

West Ham applied the pressure in the latter stages, but Stoke deservedly held on for three precious points.


West Ham: James, Repka, Dailly, Pearce, Quinn, Carrick, Mullins, Stockdale, Connolly, Harewood, Deane.
Subs: Bywater, Hutchison, Ferdinand, Horlock, Garcia.

Stoke: de Goey, Thomas, Marcus Hall, Taggart, Clarke, Eustace, Russell, Halls, Richardson, Noel-Williams, Akinbiyi.
Subs: Cutler, Asaba, Neal, Commons, Johnson.

Referee: B Curson (Leicestershire).





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