In the fifth edition of our Classic Match series, we take a trip back in time three years to a thrilling encounter with today’s opposition, Mark Hughes’ Stoke City away from home.
Cast your minds back to the bitter winter of 2014, “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor was the British Number One Single, while the Tower of London was about to reveal a stunning Ceramic Poppy display to commemorate 100 years since the outbreak of World War I.
Meanwhile, in East London, Sam Allardyce was leading something of a West Ham United revolution, just months after he had reportedly been at the brink of being sacked by the Owners David Gold and David Sullivan.
Off the back of three consecutive victories over Queens Park Rangers, Burnley and Manchester City, his side sat fourth in the Premier League and the Caret & Blue Army were beginning to dream.
A trip to the then Britannia Stadium would await on the first day of November 2014, a Saturday afternoon, Stoke City’s season hadn’t quite been going as well.
With Hughes at the helm, they had only collected three wins all season long before that point and most recently had been dumped out of the Capital One Cup at the St Mary’s Stadium.
At the announcement of the two starting line-ups on a very bitter day in the West Midlands, danger men could be seen in both of the two sides.
The hosts’ direct threat came from tricky Spanish winger Bojan as Jon Walters possessed an eye for goal from midfield, for the visitors, Enner Valencia was proving deadly in attack, whilst Alex Song on top form in midfield, a real threat to the Stoke backline.
In an end-to-end matchup, it would take all of 33 minutes for the game’s first goal to arrive, soon to be Hammer Victor Moses somehow squeezing the ball past Adrian San-Miguel from not too far out at all.
The shot-stopper was forced into numerous saves after that but was unable to produce one more early in the second-half.
Walters was able to get to the by-line and deliver a dangerous cross into the area, former Manchester United forward Mame Biram Diouf was on the end of it to head home on 56 minutes.
But, just when it looked like Hughes may have been guiding his team to three points on the day he turned 51, the away side struck with a fast-paced counter-attack.
In form Stuart Downing advanced down the right before whipping a cross into the danger zone, Valencia was there to meet it with a superb diving header, netting his third of the campaign.
The comeback was now on for Allardyce’s men and it was duly completed with 17 minutes to play, a corner from Song eventually reaching Downing at the far post.
He wrongfooted the defender before snapping a quick shot towards the near post reach which left Asmir Begovic with no chance and earnt him Man of the Match.
The strike was also significant in stealing an important point, managing to the Irons in the top five, falling only one place to fifth, while the Potters’ troubles continued.
The Staffordshire club would go onto finish that particular season strongly, grabbing ninth position in the end with an impressive points total of 56 and a platform to go forward.
Meanwhile, Allardyce’s reign would end in May having only picked up two League wins after Christmas despite being fourth on December 25, ending up all the way down in 12th with 47 points.
But, one question remains, will it be a quite as entertaining affair when David Moyes’ Hammers journey North to the Bet365 Stadium this afternoon? Be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter for live updates from the clash and find out.