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Stoke City 0 West Ham 0: Butland secures point for Potters

Goal.com logo Goal.com 29-04-2017

Jack Butland marked his return to Premier League action at the bet365 Stadium with a clean sheet as West Ham were held to a 0-0 draw at Stoke City.

The England goalkeeper made his first league appearance for over a year at Swansea City last weekend and followed it up with a solid performance on Saturday.

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Butland had to be at his best midway through the first half to keep out Andre Ayew. Jonathan Calleri also went close in what was a pretty uninspiring opening 45 minutes, but Stoke controlled the opening stages of the second half, with Joe Allen and Xherdan Shaqiri both being denied by Adrian in the West Ham goal.

The visitors, though, continued to remain a threat going forward, but Butland kept the scores level with two more superb saves from Ayew and Calleri, as the Hammers were held to their third consecutive Premier League draw.

The result moves Stoke up to 40 points and keeps their hopes of securing a fourth consecutive top-half finish very much alive, while West Ham remain just a point further back.

Fit-again Butland was involved inside the first minute, comfortably holding onto Manuel Lanzini's long-range effort.

Stoke came close to opening the scoring eight minutes in, as Marko Arnautovic found Saido Berahino six yards out from goal, only for the striker's low, left-footed effort to be well blocked by Winston Reid.

Marc Muniesa went into the book for a late sliding challenge on Cheikhou Kouyate as West Ham grew into the game, and the Spaniard was perhaps lucky to avoid a second yellow card just moments later for bringing down the same player midway through the Stoke half.

Calleri then squandered a wonderful chance for the visitors, firing high over the crossbar from 12 yards out having been picked out by Edimilson Fernandes, before Butland produced an outstanding reaction save to keep out Ayew's powerful overhead kick.

And Calleri should have given West Ham the lead just before half-time as the ball fell straight back to him after Ryan Shawcross had blocked his initial cross, but he could only direct his audacious rabona straight into Bruno Martins Indi from eight yards out.

After a relatively low tempo first half, both sides had chances to open the scoring within the first two minutes of the second period, with Allen firing into the side netting at one end before Kouyate dragged a low shot across the face of goal at the other.

From there Stoke started to assert some dominance on the game, and Adrian was tested twice in quick succession, first tipping Xherdan Shaqiri's dipping 30-yard effort over before springing to his right to turn Berahino's fierce effort around the post.

Butland was called into action once again just after the hour mark, keeping out Calleri's close-range header with his feet having palmed away another well-struck effort from Ayew just moments earlier.

Arnautovic was then denied a winner just over 15 minutes from time, directing his first-time volley straight into Adrian after a wonderful diagonal cross from Shaqiri.

Both sides pressed for a late goal, with Peter Crouch's looped header onto the roof of the net the closest either side came to scoring.

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