An obvious hand ball was missed by the officiating crew at the Brittania. The result was an equalizer for West Ham United, Frederic Piquionne latching onto a long ball from Thomas Hitzlsperger. And a half hour at Stoke City, the score is 1-1.
The play was born of ta 40 yard pass from Hitzlsperger, hit just inside his own half, a ball that looped beyond the Stoke defense. Piquionne ran past the line and onto the ball but needed the help of this right arm to trap the ball. The Hammers attacker took the ball, moved beyond goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen and chipped a ball into the net, being taken out by Robert Huth in the process.
The announcers tried to give the officiating crew the benefit of the doubt by implying any call for hand ball would have been made on instinct over evidence. The announcers were being too kind to the officials. It's a common call that would have been made under unremarkable circumstances. In real time it looked like a clear hand ball. The replays only affirmed that instinct.
Stoke have been jobbed, but they're not the first side to have a call go against them. Its now 1-1, with the Potters having an hour to reclaim their lead.