Stoke City: Tony Pulis delighted with West Ham United point
STOKE claimed a point at West Ham last night thanks to a set-piece routine that went pear-shaped every time it was practiced in training.
Boss Tony Pulis was delighted to see Jon Walters net a rare goal to help Stoke pull off a 1-1 draw at Upton Park.
• GALLERY: Match Action: West Ham United 1 Stoke City 1
But he admitted afterwards that Stoke's 13th-minute opener was a bit of a surprise after seeing the routine fall flat on the training pitch.
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"We looked at the way West Ham set themselves up and thought we could get a little break on the back post," he said.
"We've done it over the last three days and Jon hasn't scored from it in training, but thank God he saved the goal for the game.
"It was a fantastic ball in from the corner and a fantastic finish from Jon to score. You try these things a million times in training and just hope they come off."
Pulis, below, admitted Stoke deserved no more than a draw after almost being swept aside at times during a frequently-fraught second half.
"In the second half we started so sloppy," he acknowledged. "As soon as we gave them that sniff for the equaliser it was backs against the wall.
"The worst thing that could have happened to us was the half-time whistle because we had played so well in the first half.
"It was disappointing the way we played in the second half in lots of respects, but you can't fault the resilience at the back. I thought (Ryan) Shawcross and (Robert) Huth were fantastic at the back when players were putting their bodies on the line."
He acknowledged Stoke's on-going search for a first away win in the Premier League since January 2, but insisted the breakthrough is getting closer.
"We want to win some games away from home," he continued, "and this season we have got so close.
"We have been so much better this season, but haven't got the results our performances have deserved.
"But we also have to take our chances when we are on top. Mind you, if Steven Nzonzi's effort (against the bar) goes in we go 2-0 up and it could have been a different story. It's that bit of luck we aren't getting at the moment."
Pulis faces a chronic shortage at full-back after revealing Andy Wilkinson tweaked his groin and faces a fortnight on the sidelines with fellow defender Marc Wilson following his broken leg.
Nzonzi and Glenn Whelan are also under treatment after knocks and are early doubts for Saturday's visit of Fulham.
"I'm thinking of making some changes anyway," Pulis added, "because we've now got a three-game week coming up."