Andy Carroll came off the bench to secure a point for West Ham United against a plucky Stoke City side.
Peter Crouch thought he had secured all three points for Paul Lambert’s side after pouncing on a spillage from Joe Hart .
But Carroll’s goal keeps the Potters in 19th place, with just four games to go.
The visitors had not won an away game since October, and it desperately showed.
It was a cagey opening in the first 45 minutes, with former Potter Marko Arnautovic forcing a point-blank save from Jack Butland in what was an otherwise dour first half.
But the game exploded in the second half, with Arnautovic heading home only to see the linesman’s flag raised on the far side.
And the Hammers had another goal correctly ruled out for offside when Edmilson Fernandes struck a sweet left-footed effort past Butland after his Austrian teammate had stepped over the ball in an offside position.
It looked as though they would be made to pay when Peter Crouch came off the bench to tap in after Joe Hart spilled Xherdan Shaqiri’s shot to send the Stoke fans behind the goal into delirium
But it was not to be as Carroll also stepped up off the bench to side foot a first-time volley and ensure the points were shared.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
While Carroll’s goal was fantastically well-taken for a striker who has not played since January, there is one moment from the game that got fans talking the most – and very nearly decided the outcome. When Joe Allen calmly laid the ball back to Shaqiri on the edgo of the box, everyone in the stadium knew the former Bayern Munich man wanted to cut the ball onto his left foot and take a strike. Everyone it seems, except Joe Hart. As the ball found its way into Hart’s grasp, he inexplicably spilled the ball into the path of the onrushing Peter Crouch who gleefully tucked home the rebound. After an incredible performance against Chelsea last weekend, it really is a case of one step forward, two steps back for the 30-year-old in east London.
STAR MAN – Mame Biram Diouf
He may not be the most prolific striker (to be very polite) but he really does work hard for the team. Before the game, the Potters had managed to score just seven goals in 2018. Their striking options may be seriously depleted and in depsreate need of rejuvenating, but you can imagine many strikers wanting to play alongside the selfless Senegal international. His tireless running with and without the ball will create space for a more clinical striker much the same way Emile Heskey used to do for Michael Owen at Liverpool and with England, to great effect. His efforts will be crucial to keeping Stoke in the Premier League .
WHO HAVE THEY GOT LEFT TO PLAY?
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