Premier League: West Ham 1 Stoke 1

19 November 2012 23:47

A Joey O’Brien goal saw a resurgent West Ham rescue a point in a 1-1 draw with Stoke City at Upton Park on Monday night.

Stoke went ahead in the 13th minute when Jon Walters completed a clever corner routine but the Hammers equalised after the interval through the defender, who directed a Gary O’Neil cross beyond Asmir Begovic.

Modibo Maiga and O’Neil replaced Matt Jarvis and Yossi Benayoun in Sam Allardyce’s starting XI, while Pulis was handed a boost before the game as injury doubts Glenn Whelan, Jon Walters and Charlie Adam were all passed fit to play.

And it was Adam who had the first chance of the game when he connected with a Peter Crouch knock-down in the penalty area but volleyed tamely over the bar early on.

The pair combined again shortly afterwards to force George McCartney to concede a corner and, from the resulting delivery, Stoke went ahead as Walters’ sharp run to the near post allowed him plenty of time and space to drill Glenn Whelan’s precise cross beyond Jussi Jaaskelainen.

The visitors almost doubled their lead from another corner as Matthew Etherington found Robert Huth but Jaaskelainen pushed the centre-back’s header away from danger.

West Ham finally mustered a response through Kevin Nolan, played in by Maiga, but the midfielder’s powerful shot from close range was parried by Begovic.

Pulis made a substitution just after 30 minutes when Andy Wilkinson was forced off with an injury and replaced by Ryan Shotton.

Stoke continued to press, though, and were inches away from a second goal when Steven N’Zonzi let fly with a thunderous volley from 20 yards, which had Jaasklelainen well beaten but rattled against the bar.

Mohamed Diame skewed a long-range effort well wide just before the interval to sum up a disappointing half for the Hammers.

The hosts improved after the break and could have had an equaliser just a minute into the second half but Nolan tamely cushioned a well-placed McCartney cross into Begovic’s chest.

West Ham were level moments later, however, as Diame bundled through the Stoke defence and fed O’Neil, whose pass left O’Brien with the simplest of finishes inside the six-yard box.

The Hammers continued to dominate and were nearly in front when Andy Carroll nodded Mark Noble’s corner into Maiga’s path but Begovic was equal to the striker’s side-footed effort.

Stoke tried to change the game but West Ham went close again through O’Neil, whose shot from a narrow angle on the left-hand side curled beyond the far post and out of play.

Both sides made substitutions in search of a winner, Carlton Cole one of those introduced in place of the unhappy Carroll, but Begovic denied Nolan what would have been an open goal by blocking another McCartney delivery before saving a soft Winston Reid header to ensure that the Potters left Upton Park with a point.

Shevchenko rejects Ukraine job

19 November 2012 15:31

Andriy Shevchenko has turned down the chance to become Ukraine’s new coach as he feels he is not ready for the job.

The Ukrainian Football Federation (FFU) are in the market for a new coach after Oleg Blokhin’s decision to leave for Dynamo Kiev earlier this season, and they had earmarked the former AC Milan star as the ideal candidate for the position.

Nevertheless, the 36-year-old believes taking charge of the national team would not be the right start to his coaching career.

“I believe that leading the national team of Ukraine today is a somewhat premature step for me. I hope the leadership of the football federation can understand my decision,” he told the governing body’s website.

Ukraine are fifth in Group H of the 2014 World Cup qualification with two points from three games.

Cahill keen on Everton loan return

19 November 2012 15:26

New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill wants to Everton on loan in the January transfer window.

MLS players have often used the North American close season to join European clubs on loan in recent years, with LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan enjoying two spells at Goodison Park.

And now Cahill has pitched the idea of making a short-term comeback at the club with whom he spent eight years in the Premier League.

“I know I have a lot more to offer,” Cahill said in an interview with Sky Sports.

“The main thing is that I get to enjoy the MLS but I also get the chance of joining back up in the Premier League and playing in the best league in the world.

“There is no shadow of a doubt, I am eager to come back. Hopefully something can be done (with Everton).

“It would be nice but it is not down to me. I have to respect that sometimes the ship has sailed.”

Cahill was delighted to see the Toffees emerge once more as contenders for Champions League qualification, with David Moyes’ team fifth in the table.

The Australian admitted that the match he most missed taking part in is the Merseyside derby.

“I am so happy for Everton and nobody more than the chairman and manager whose rewards are starting to show,” he said.

“The biggest thing I miss is the derby. There are two great teams in one city and when I watch the derby it gives me goosebumps.”

Hoilett slams QPR performance

19 November 2012 15:08

Junior Hoilett has slated QPR’s 3-1 defeat to Southampton on Saturday.

The defeat left the club marooned at the bottom of the table and manager Mark Hughes under intense pressure.

Hoilett scored a consolation goal for the Hoops but admitted to the club’s official website that they got what they deserved.

“The first half just wasn’t good enough,” the Canadian said.

“We came out second to everything and that’s not acceptable.

“We got a rollocking from the manager at half-time. We came out strong in the second half, but we left ourselves with too much to do to get ourselves back into the game. We’ve just got to look to the next game now and push on from here.

“The goal means nothing to me personally. It’s a team sport and when you’re going through a tough time like we are you can’t personally take anything from scoring in a defeat.”

The QPR fans were audibly unhappy with the team’s performance and chants of “You’re only here for the money” were heard during the game, as well as calls for Harry Redknapp to be brought in as Hughes’ replacement.

“I can understand the fans’ frustrations,” Hoilett said.

“We’re as frustrated as they are because we want to change this around and climb the table.

“Everybody in the dressing room was hugely disappointed with the result.

“We’re all really disappointed and frustrated with how things are going at the moment, but we will work hard to put it right. We’ve got to stick together as a team.”

QPR face Manchester United next weekend at Old Trafford, with both teams determined to get back to winning ways after defeats on Saturday, and Hoilett knows that the pressure will be on.

“The next one is a tough one against Manchester United,” he said.

“But we need to treat it like any other. We need to work hard in training this week as a team and be ready for Old Trafford.”

Barkley heads back to Everton

19 November 2012 14:54

Midfielder Ross Barkley has returned to Everton following his loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday.

The 18-year-old midfielder has been recalled after his loan expired because of injuries to captain Phil Neville and Darron Gibson.

Neville is set to miss the next two months after undergoing knee surgery, while Gibson is struggling with a thigh injury.

Kevin Mirallas is also set to miss the next few games with a hamstring injury, forcing Barkley’s return.

Barkley, who has represented England at Under-21 level, joined the Owls on an initial one-month loan back in September before it was extended by a further four weeks.

The midfielder made 13 appearances for Sheffield Wednesday, scoring four goals.

His last performance for the Owls was in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest.