Stoke 0 West Ham 2

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West Ham kept their play-off hopes on the right track, after a disciplined and hard working display saw off a resolute Stoke challenge.

The Hammers found themselves penned in their own half for much of the first period but on a rare foray into their opponents half, David Connolly wriggled free and put the visitors ahead six minutes before the break - which was followed up after the interval with a decisive second from Marlon Harewood.

However, it was Stoke who began the contest the brighter, with Clive Clarke driving over from distance on six minutes.

Clarke was proving a thorn for West Ham and the player could have broken the deadlock twice, before Connolly's decisive break-away.

However, Stoke were made to pay for their indecision in front of goal when the former Wimbledon hit-man made space adroitly and fired home with aplomb.

Fifteen minutes into the second period and West Ham struck again after another lightning break.

Bobby Zamora and Connolly were involved in neat build up play before releasing Matthew Etherington down the right flank.

The wideman crossed with precision and Harewood had the relatively simple task of guiding his header inside the post.

Stoke responded immediately and could have reduced the deficit - only for Darel Russell to flash his distance drive wide.

The home side can take credit for their endeavour but it was ultimately West Ham's superior class which proved decisive.