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Barclays Premier League

Britannia Stadium (ATT 27,500) 2nd May 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: P Walton

Stoke Stoke City vs West Ham United West Ham

Stoke 0

ft

Tristan strike sinks Potters

Faye has late header cleared off the line as Hammers hold on

By Hayley Paterson.   Last Updated: 02/05/09 6:34pm

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Tristan: Celebrates winner

Tristan: Celebrates winner

Diego Tristan's free-kick was enough to claim a West Ham win over Stoke City that enhances their chances of securing a lucrative European spot.

Moment of the match: Abdoulaye Faye looked like he has snatched a point for The Potters late on but Mark Noble headed off the line. Attempt of the match: Ricardo Fuller had a glorious chance to score as he turned in the box from eight yards out and blazed over. Save of the match: Robert Green was brave throughout but on one particular occasion got down at the feet of Fuller to deny the Jamaican from point-blank range. Talking point: Should Fuller's 'goal' have stood? On the replays it doesn't look like much of a foul on the West Ham keeper and was a turning point in the game. Goal of the game: Only one to choose from but it is fully deserved, sweet strike from the Spaniard. Man of the match: Noble was particularly impressive despite going off early, Green was solid but for me Lucas Neill was the driving force for the Hammers.

Gianfranco Zola's men travelled to the Britannia Stadium to face a Stoke City side eager to ensure their Premier League survival, being one point away from that magic 40-point safety mark.

Tony Pulis's side had an effort disallowed when striker Ricardo Fuller was adjudged to have fouled Robert Green before firing home.

Minutes later David Di Michele netted at the other end, but it had already been disallowed due to a Tristan handball in the build-up.

However West Ham made sure of the opener just after the half-hour when a foul from Abdoulaye Faye resulted in a freekick around 25 yards out. Tristan stepped up to convert as he curled his effort superbly into the top corner.

Half-chances came and went for either side as late on Mark Noble headed Faye's looping effort off the line to ensure all three points stayed with the Hammers.

Few changes were made from either side for West Ham's trip north. Zola made one change from the side which lost to Chelsea as the Italian boss opted for Robert Kovac ahead of Kieron Dyer.

Tony Pulis welcomed back James Beattie with his first start since shaking off a thigh injury and Andy Wilkinson came in at the back.

Threat

As ever, Stoke were a threat from Rory Delap's long throws and he picked out Ryan Shawcross in the opening minutes, only for the defender to head straight at Green.

Fuller then found the net for Stoke two minutes later after beating Green to the ball, but his effort was disallowed for an earlier infringement on the England 'keeper.

Di Michele then found the net in the 14th minute only to have it disallowed after Tristan appeared to have handled the ball as he laid it off to the Italian.

A resilient Stoke side have been tough to breakdown on home turf this season but Tristan gave West Ham the lead in the 33rd minute with a superb set-piece.

Faye brought down Di Michele and Tristan stepped up to lash the free-kick past Thomas Sorensen for his third goal of the season.

Stoke almost equalised in the 40th minute when former Hammers midfielder Matthew Etherington found Fuller with a deft lay-off, but Green reacted well to take the ball off his toes as he prepared to shoot from point-blank range.

The open game was slightly marred as it neared the end of the first-half when Delap and West Ham's Luis Boa Morte both lunged in for the ball.

The long throw specialist seemed to come out of the challenge worse off but reacted by kicking out at the Portuguese winger as referee Peter Walton booked them both.

Atmospheric

No changes were made during half-time as Stoke started to counter well and began to string a few passes together.

Fuller clipped a shot wide of the post in the 59th minute as Stoke, urged on by their atmospheric home support, pressed for an equaliser.

The Potters came close to equalising again in the 74th minute when Liam Lawrence delivered a corner from the left. Faye powered in a header at the back post but Noble cleared off the line.

They kept pushing forward but West Ham should have added a second in stoppage time as they went on the counter. Tristan had time on the ball with substitute Freddie Sears unmarked at the back post, but the Spaniard opted to chip the advancing Sorensen only to see his effort go wide of the far post.

Zola's side managed to hang on for the three points and also ended Stoke's excellent unbeaten run of eight games to remain seventh in the Premier League.

The Hammers need to win their last three matches to have the chance to play European football next season while Pulis' side will have a nail-biting finish to their solid league campaign.

Stoke CityTeam StatisticsWest Ham United
0Goals1
01st Half Goals1
2Shots on Target3
6Shots off Target4
4Blocked Shots1
7Corners0
9Fouls11
1Offsides2
3Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
65.5Passing Success74.9
22Tackles21
72.7Tackles Success81
40.2Possession59.8
53.5Territorial Advantage46.5

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Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 8 22
2 Manchester City 8 17
3 Southampton 8 16
4 West Ham United 8 13
5 Liverpool 8 13
6 Manchester United 7 11
7 Arsenal 8 11
8 Swansea City 8 11
9 Tottenham Hotspur 8 11
10 Stoke City 8 11
11 Hull City 8 10
12 Aston Villa 8 10
13 Everton 8 9
14 Leicester City 8 9
15 West Bromwich Albion 7 8
16 Crystal Palace 8 8
17 Sunderland 8 8
18 Newcastle United 8 7
19 Burnley 8 4
20 Queens Park Rangers 8 4

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