Stoke withstood a second-half battering to earn a good point at Upton Park thanks to Jonathan Walters' excellent goal
That was probably a fair result in a decent game, although Stoke had to withstand a bit of a battering in the second half. Maybe 2-1 West Ham would have been a fair result. No matter, because I've fulfilled my contractual obligations and I'm away. Thanks for your emails; I'm off to think really hard about Andy Carroll. Night.
90+2 min Second ball!
90+1 min It's another appalling corner from Taylor, but it somehow finds its way to Reid eight yards goal. He has to jump almost backwards to head towards goal and thus can't get any power on it. It goes straight into the hands of Begovic.
90 min After a quiet 10 minutes, West Ham are pushing hard for a winner. Demel's corner is deflected behind for a corner on the right. It's a poor one from Taylor, but he gets another chance 20 seconds later. There will be four minutes of adding panting for Stoke's defenders.
89 min "Never mind Berti being onside, how about Des Walker in those Pumas," says SImon Frank. "Takes me back to that brilliant Forest team of the late 80s that you promised to write an article about." Ahem. One of these years.
88 min McCartney, on the left wing, uses Diame by not using him and makes an excellent run into the area before sidefooting a dangerous low cross that is blocked by the sprawling Begovic.
87 min "Evening Rob," says Phil Withall. "I was under the impression that thinking of Andy Carroll during one's activities was one of the Catholic Church's recommended forms of birth control."
86 min Carlton Cole comes on for Andy Carroll, who chunters all the way off the field, shakes his head and ignores Sam Allardyce on the touchline. West Ham have also brought on Matt Taylor for Modibo Maiga.
85 min A promising Stoke attack ends Wilson Palacios, who I swear used to be able to play football, falls over his own feet. In a dark corner of Staffordshire, Roll Up Man nods sagely, and wearily begins to roll another.
82 min "Lori Smith started writing before West Ham scored but only finished her missive and got it published almost 20 minutes later," says Robin Hazlehurst. "Ryan Dunne went through the whole process in 217 seconds. I'm sensing compatibility issues there that would no doubt cause Deidre a sharp intake of breath to say the least."
It's nothing the thought of Andy Carroll's ponytail couldn't resolve.
81 min Stoke have calmed things down somewhat after enduring a white-knuckle ride for the first 25 minutes of the second half.
78 min Steven Nzonzi is a very good player. He has just stabbed a fine pass to put Walters through on goal, but Walters was this far offside. Which is a good excuse for a gratuitous Nicola Berti video.
77 min West Ham make their first substitution, with Guy Demel replacing Joey O'Brien, who will sleep well tonight.
76 min "Re: your comment in the 71st minute," says John. "I was very, very worried about you. Was sure something more had happened since '1 min: West Ham kick off from right to left' but wasn't 100% sure, given the teams an' all."
75 min Begovic has been wasting time all half, to Sam Allardyce's irritation, and he's just taken the best part of 60 seconds over a free kick.
74 min Stoke replace Matthew Etherington with Michael Kightly.
73 min It's still all West Ham. This has certainly been a game of two distinct 45-minute segments.
"Come now Rob, a love of football, although charming, is hardly as important a quality in a lady as a love of Batman and Star Wars!" breathes Ryan Dunne. "PS to Lori: so what's your favourite episode of Seinfeld?"
71 min I've just realised the auto-refresh on our sexy new MBM tool doesn't actually work, so it's worth pressing F5 every few minutes so that you get the amended entries on goals and the likes.
69 min Shotton heads behind for West Ham's 98th corner of the second half. It's a poor one from O'Neil, who has been otherwise excellent since half time.
68 min There's a suggestion O'Brien was offside for the goal. I'm not so sure. His arm was beyond the last man, but I think the only bits of the body that matter in offside decisions are those with which you're allowed to touch the ball.
66 min "I am a woman and, coincidentally, a West Ham supporter," says Lori Smith. "I have read Dear Deirdre/Andy Carroll's letter and, unfortunately, I am revolted (er 'it gie's me the dry boak' – as they say in Scotland, where I now live!) I wish someone would speak to Andy, as his hairstyle reminds me of a Sumo wrestler, and is therefore not conducive to amorous feelings as far as I am concerned, as a man in a nappy doesn't do it for me! However, chacun à son goût! Great to see West Ham have scored since I started writing this. COYI!"
So you're a woman, a real one, living in Scotland, who loves football? I give it 127 seconds – at most – before Ryan Dunne emails in.
64 min West Ham almost score with a training-ground routine of their own. O'Neil played a short corner on the left and then hit a crisp pass to Diame on the edge of the box. As Stoke's defenders rushed out he played a neat through ball to O'Neil, who was onside and curled a fine first-time effort just wide of the far post. West Ham have been magnificent since half time. They have totally overwhelmed Stoke.
62 min Glenn Whelan is replaced by Wilson Palacios, and you know what that means: a gratuitous link to Palacios's number one fan.
61 min Shotton came on for the injured Wilkinson in the 32nd minute. I missed that didn't I. It's that level of ineptitud- sorry, human charm that makes you love the MBMs, right?
60 min Nolan appeals for a penalty after taking a ride on the back of Shotton at the far post. I'm not sure Shotton did anything wrong there; he just stood still. But West Ham's dominance is total, and they soon win two more corners. From the first, Whelan clears off his own line, although it wasn't as dramatic as it sounds: it was a very gentle shot from 20 yards that he was able to control rather than hoof clear.
57 min Another chance for West Ham. O'Neil's right-wing corner is curved deep towards Carroll near the penalty spot. He wins the ball with a monstrous leap and heads it down towards Maiga, whose close-range shot is desperately blocked. O'Neil whistles the rebound right across the face of goal.
55 min After a sharp Stoke break, O'Brien concedes a corner with an excellent clearance from Etherington's dangerous cross. Nothing comes of the corner.
53 min West Ham are all over Stoke like an inexpensive one. Diame, who looks a bit of a monster when he gets going, is running the game. Whelan finds a way to stop him: a ludicrously inept tackle that gives West Ham a free-kick 30 yards from all. It's chipped in and headed clear by Crouch to give Stoke a couple of seconds' respite.
51 min "Surely it can't just be me who wonders why Chris Foy is deemed to hail from Merseyside when Mike Dean opts for Wirral," says Ian Copestake. "I thought a ref. would like to be more specific than that, or perhaps he is just ashamed of St.Helens. Yours, in outrage."
49 min "Suspected at the time that Noel Gallagher had no idea what acquiesce meant, confirmed in The Masterplan ('sail her home with acquiesce')," says Daniel Harris. "Other than Ironic, are there any other examples of the same?"
West Ham are level now. When Diame's fierce shot was blocked he played the ball wide to O'Neil on the right. He sidefooted a superb low cross at pace, and O'Brien held off a Stoke defender – THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME OKAY — to screw the ball high into the net from six yards. I have not a solitary clue what O'Brien was doing in the penalty box. It's his first Premier League goal and he has a big dumb grin plastered all over his face.
46 min Nolan almost equalises after 55 seconds of the second half. A good move down the left ended with an excellent cross from McCartney into the six-yard box. Nolan got between two defenders but sidefooted a volley straight at Begovic. I suppose it was an awkward chance in the sense that it came at thigh height, but a finisher of his quality should have scored.
46 min Stoke kick off the second half from right to left.
Something else to think about while you have your half-time snack.
"If it wasn't for the age of the author," says Ben Monk, "I'd assume that Dear Deidre letter was from Big Sam."
Something to think about while you have your half-time snack.
Announcement at Upton Park station: "Customers are advised not to urinate on the platform as you will cause a scene and a slip hazard." !!!— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) November 19, 2012
A predictably earthy half of football ends with Stoke deservedly in the lead. They have been excellent; West Ham have been merely okay. Whoever came up with the idea for Jon Walters' goal deserves a lot of credit. See you in 10 minutes for the second half.
45+1 min Second ball!
45 min "Is Acquiesce by Oasis a new fragrance?" says Alix Sharkey. "Only I've heard that whole Mouthbreathing Dad Rock thing isn't really working out for them these days."
44 min West Ham have missed Benayoun and Jarvis, with O'Neil and Maiga doing very little thus far.
43 min That was a painful blow for Nolan, with a Stoke player – they all look the same, okay – studding him on the shin in his follow through. Nolan is built differently to most modern footballers, however, and he will carry on.
42 min Banter.
41 min Nolan is down with an injury so Stoke boot the ball out of the play. Not all of them, obviously; I just have no idea which player it was.
39 min Stoke haven't won away in the league since January. They deserve this lead, however.
38 min Nzonzi, who had that sighter a moment ago, hits the bar with a storming effort! A Stoke free kick was only partially cleared, and when it was headed forward towards Nzonzi he thrashed a wonderful rising half-volley from 20 yards. Jaaskelainen was beaten and the ball clattered off the lower half of the crossbar.
37 min Noble is booked for reducing Walters. It was clumsy as much as anything, but he went through him from behind and that generally brings a yellow card.
36 min Nolan's marching round with the face on after a couple of dodgy decisions from Chris Foy. Somebody is going to put a reducer in any minute now. Nzonzi picks up a loose ball 25 yards out and swooshes it a few yards wide of the far post.
32 min A long ball is played towards Andy Carroll on the edge of the box. Geoff Cameron gets Carroll in a headlock, then gives him a wedgie, then tasers him to the ground. Chris Foy says play on and the Sky replay kindly shows Sam Allardyce shouting the eff word on the touchline.
30 min "My excuse?" says Simon McMahon. "A sad and slightly desperate need for acceptance and human company, despite not having the social skills to actually interact with and meet people face-to-face. Isn't that why everyone reads the MBMs?"
27 min This is a fine period for West Ham. Maiga's gentle touch on the right of the box allows Nolan to drag a snapshot towards goal from 10 yards. Begovic, whose positioning was immaculate, beats it away.
26 min "I'm closely following your MBM, but also watching University Challenge," says Matt Dony. "Not one of the eight contestants could identify Acquiesce by Oasis. I realise this isn't relevant to you, or most of the readers, but it just hammered home to me that there is a clear generation gap between students and myself. It's not a nice feeling. On topic, I hope Carroll plays well and gets his picture on the back pages for the sake of whoever wrote that letter."
25 min Diame beasts his way into the box onto an excellent backheel from Nolan, and Begovic comes from his line to bravely dive at his feet.
24 min Jaaskelainen makes an important save for West Ham. It came from a set piece, believe it or not. Adam's left-wing corner was looped towards goal by the head of Huth, and Jaaskelainen leapt to his left to claw the ball away. A good save rather than an OMGDIDYOUSEETHAT one.
23 min Carroll gets his first half chance of the game. Noble curled a good ball wide to either O'Brien or O'Neil, one of the Os. He drilled a flat cross towards the far post, where Carroll got above his man but, like Crouch earlier, couldn't generate power on his header.
21 min Stoke have been much the better side in the last 15 minutes. Carroll hasn't got in the game at all.
19 min Technically that goal shouldn't have been given, because Charlie Adam deliberately blocked off George McCartney, who was marking Walters. Players usually get away with stuff like that, though.
15 min "Mark Noble has to be one of the more consistent players I've ever seen," says Colin Sebsatian. "He's always seems to have 30+ appearances and score a few goals, but never blow you away. Never awe inspiring, never overly poor, just consistent. Consistency in a player is underrated."
Yep, he's a good player, although the perception that he is a goalscoring midfielder is utter horse pucky: 95 per cent of his goals are from the penalty spot. He is a fine penalty taker, mind, carrying on the tradition of Ray Stewart and Julian Dicks.
Adam curls an imaginative ball behind the West Ham defence towards Walters, and McCartney puts it behind for a corner. He didn't actually have to that because Walters wouldn't have got there. And that decision has cost West Ham big time, because Walters has scored a cracking goal from the corner.
This was straight from the training ground, a bit like the old Anderton/Sheringham routine. The corner, on the right, was cut back along the ground to Walters, who started beyond the far post but curved his run away from goal and around the line of defenders to meet the ball at the near post, 12 yards from goal. It still wasn't an easy chance, because the ball was bobbling and he also had to take it first time. Walters caught it beautifully and blasted it right through the legs of Andy Carroll on the line. Sam Allardyce 0-1 Tony Pulis.
12 min "Pulis's wedding," says Nick Pettigrew. "At a guess, the bride threw the bouquet 40 yards over the bridesmaids' heads..."
Pulis got married to Rory Delap? HONK! Come on, honk with me now.
10 min A 60-yard free-kick from Begovic is headed across goal by Nzonzi towards Crouch, who can't get enough on his header and plants it straight at Jaaskelainen.
9 min "So, here's a question, which you are uniquely qualified to answer," says David Horn. "Which is the more grim – waking up before 4am to OBO a depressingly familiar subcontinental procession of English wickets, or working the late-shift to MBM the fixture that, perhaps more than any other this year, typifies all that is stereotypical about English hoofball? Have you seriously upset some Guardian-scheduling overlord?"
I enjoy them both equally David. What can I say: I just love my job. I'm a very lucky boy.
8 min A promising West Ham attack comes to an end when Robert Huths the ball clear. It's been a lively start from both sides, if a little on the scruffy side.
6 min Do you reckon Tony Pulis wore a baseball cap on his wedding day?
5 min "Interestingly," says Robin Hazlehurst, "the Dear Deidre letter doesn't at any point make clear whether it is written by a man or a woman." I just assumed it was a bloke. You get to know your own kind, and their predilections.
4 min A half chance for Charlie Adam. Cameron drills an angled 50-yard pass onto the head of Crouch, who nods it down for the onrushing Adam. He had got away from Noble, 15 yards from goal, but he couldn't get over the bouncing ball and blasted his shot high over the bar.
3 min "Evening Rob," says Simon McMahon. "Re: tonight's proceedings. I see your 'end of season' quality and raise you a 'contractually obliged' feeling."
That's true for the players, and indeed for me. So what's your excuse?
2 min An exciting run down the left from Maiga ends with Glenn Whelan heading behind for a corner. It's swung out by Noble but comes to nothing. West Ham have started strongly.
1 min: West Ham kick off from right to left.
“I've gone off sex since the birth of my son … the only way I can get in the mood is by thinking about Andy Carroll.”
Do you use a Premier League footballer as a sexx aid? If so, email details to firstname.lastname@example.org*
* Don't. Please.
There was a, like, totally amazeballs League Cup semi-final between these sides in 1972. It lasted seven weeks and went to two replays. It included famous penalties saves from Gordon Banks and also Bobby Moore – yep – before Stoke triumphed in the second replay, which was simply one of the greatest League Cup games ever played. You can read more about it here.
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Reid, Tomkins, McCartney,
Noble, Nolan, Diame, O'Neil, Carroll, Maiga. Subs: Spiegel,
Cole, Taylor, Collins, Demel, Spence, Hall.
Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson, Whelan,
Adam, Nzonzi, Walters, Crouch, Etherington. Subs: Sorensen,
Palacios, Jones, Upson, Kightly, Shotton, Jerome.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)
Hello and welcome to live Hoof By Hoof coverage of the first football match to be played in outer space. God has put grass in sky especially for West Ham versus Stoke. The players will kick the ball as hard and as high as they can until, after 24 minutes, the ball decides this is no way to live and pops itself just as Charlie Adam is preparing to blooter it back in time.
That's one interpretation of this match. Mud sticks, particularly when people think you play shit-on-a-stick football. In reality both teams are capable of playing some decent stuff, particularly West Ham. In a strange way, what with this being November and all, the contest almost has an end-of-season quality: both sides are far too competent to go down and probably not good enough to get into Europe, even though West Ham will go fifth if they win tonight. Which they will, 2-0. Or 1-0. Or 2-1. Or maybe 3-0.
Hoof off is at 8pm.