Tony Cottee Column: Survival always number one target for West Ham

“It would have been great for the Hammers fans to go and have a day out at the new Wembley for the first time, but it’s just not to be this year.”

� Of course going out of the FA Cup at this stage is disappointing, but we all know Premier League survival is West Ham’s number one target.

It would have been great for the Hammers fans to go and have a day out at the new Wembley for the first time, but it’s just not to be this year.

We looked disjointed throughout the match, the midfield struggled to get going and we didn’t involve Thomas Hitzlsperger enough, while Mark Noble, who has been excellent over the past few matches, struggled to get going.

Scott Parker was named man of the match and was typically impressive, but until Frederic Piquionne scored we were not in the game at all.

Even after we equalised we struggled to create chances. Matthew Upson was extremely unlucky his excellent header cannoned off the bar instead of finding the net, while Victor Obinna forced a good save from Thomas Sorensen.

Obinna and Piquionne disappointed and although we have seven or eight good forwards at the club, it would have been good to see Demba Ba at least on the bench.

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He is our form striker at the moment and with us down by a goal with 20 minutes left, it would have been good to see him make an appearance.

Stoke were better at the Britannia than they were at the Boleyn last week, but they were always going to be. I am sure boss Tony Pulis gave them all quite a hammering after last week.

History also tells you that when you get back-to-back matches the likelihood is if you win the first, you won’t win the second.

A draw might have been a fair result especially considering West Ham had a stonewall penalty appeal turned down.

James Tomkins was wrestled to the ground by Jonathan Walters and the referee ended up giving the decision against West Ham!

Robert Green was really impressive again and as the season has gone on he has got better and better. I would say he is one of the top three goalkeepers in the country and is certainly good enough for the England squad.

It’s a shame he didn’t manage to get more of a hand on the free kick for the second goal, but he denied Matthew Etherington in the first half with a tremendous save then pulled off a great penalty save to deny the same player.

After what happened at the World Cup I have great admiration for him and how he reacted to his mistake and although he started the season slowly, has been excellent of late.

Goalkeeper is a high profile position and when you make a mistake like he did of course people are going to get on your back and in the first half of the season he was the subject of plenty of abuse from opposition fans, but his performances have certainly shut them up!

Tony Cottee was talking to Matt Diner

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