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Nov 20, 2012

Allardyce backs Carroll to score goals

Sam Allardyce has defended Andy Carroll's striking abilities after the 23-year-old again failed to find the net in West Ham's 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Monday.

• Blog: Honours even at Upton Park

Carroll is yet to score since moving to West Ham on loan from Liverpool in the summer and he was substituted for Carlton Cole late in Monday's game after doing little to trouble Asmir Begovic in the Stoke goal.

But Allardyce insists he will continue to give Carroll opportunities at Upton Park and puts his goal drought down to the pressure the striker faces from opposition defenders.

"He is going to attract attention by the fact he is very good at his hold-up play and his heading ability, and people are going to need to pay particular attention to him," Allardyce said. "He is going to attract one or two defenders around him and that will create spaces elsewhere.

"Andy is not to be frustrated by the fact that he is not scoring at the moment and in fact today he didn't get much of a chance to score.

"But I think sooner or later, if we keep concentrating on him making runs into the box and the service we give, he will eventually score."

Carroll was obviously frustrated at Allardyce's decision to withdraw him, but the Hammers boss claims it was necessary as the home side went in search of a winner.

"He wants to score a goal and he wants me to leave him on for 90 minutes but at the end of the day he put that much effort in, there are a lot of fresh players on the bench," he said. "There is Carlton Cole, Matt Taylor and Guy Demel who came on and continued to give us that much more energy to find a winner.

"Fresh players with fresh legs can come on and try and push the opposition and try to score a goal. He will be disappointed, I know, but in the end you make the subs for the benefit of everybody to try and win the game."

West Ham defender Joey O'Brien was the unlikely hero, with his strike early in the second half earning the Hammers a point.

They went behind to a masterful set-play by Stoke as Jonathan Walters made a darting run in the box to put away Glenn Whelan's corner at the near post.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis admitted it was something they had worked on in training, although it had never been successful.

"We have worked on it for the past three days, we tried it five or six times and Jonathan Walters has never scored from it so I'm glad he saved it for today," Pulis said. "I spend a lot of time watching videos and watching teams and I felt if we could do this it would come off. You work on it millions and millions of times.

"All of my career I have always looked for little angles and little areas that we could exploit from set-plays and it is lovely when it comes off.

"First half I thought we played well and created the better opportunities and really we needed that second goal. The worst thing that happened to us was half-time. That took the momentum away from us.

"We started very sloppy in the second half, we invited West Ham onto us and they scored a goal and from that point onwards we needed to show a lot of resilience and determination as a group not to concede a second."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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