Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Super subs are extra special for West Ham

West Ham 3 Stoke City 1: West Ham's substitutes came to Avram Grant's rescue tonight as they helped seal a place in the Carling Cup quarter-finals with an extra-time victory over Stoke.

The Potters looked set to pile the pressure on Hammers boss Grant after the home side missed several chances to cancel out Kenwyne Jones' early opener at Upton Park.

But captain Scott Parker equalised with six minutes of normal time remaining before Manuel Da Costa and sub Victor Obinna sealed victory.

Parker nodded home Barrera's inswinging cross from close range, ultimately sending the game into extra-time.

And West Ham completed the turnaround six minutes into the extra period thanks to brilliant work by Mark Noble coupled with appalling Stoke defending.

The midfielder was allowed to burst into the box unchallenged and run along the byline before cutting the ball back for Manuel da Costa — on bail until December on suspicion of sexual and common assault — to rifle home his first goal of the season.

Obinna, who had made a real impact from the bench, was narrowly wide from 20 yards, while Parker was only able to cap a fine run into the area with a weak finish.

Dean Whitehead should have equalised when he blazed over before Obinna sealed victory two minutes from time upon being played clean through by Noble.

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