Andy Carroll hammered home a last-minute equaliser and the penultimate nail into Stoke City’s Premier League coffin to rescue a point at the London Stadium.
Joe Hart’s blunder that led to Peter Crouch’s tap in 10 minutes before time was overshadowed when Andy Carroll tucked away a sublime volley into the bottom corner just minutes after coming on. This leaves both clubs at either end of the relegation survival story, West Ham nearing safety in 14th on 35 points and Stoke five points adrift from safety in 19th on 28 points and the worst goal difference in the league.Embed from Getty Images
Monday night was another glorious opportunity missed for Stoke, totalling 14 points lost from winning positions for the season. Lambert looked dejected and claimed that luck hadn’t gone their way despite two disallowed West Ham goals, which were correctly given by the referee’s assistant. West Ham boss David Moyes will be undeniably pleased with his team’s current position and performances and will have been pleased to have subs who influenced the game so positively for the home side.
The battle of the England keepers saw both successfully completing the first half with a clean sheet but Jack Butland being the busier of the two. West Ham were in complete control throughout an uneventful first half having 63% possession and Arnautovic leading the Hammers with three of their six shots, failing to find the net. He came closest when Zabaleta got around the back of Ramadan Sobhi near the bi-line to tee up Arnautovic for a rasping strike from point blank range straight into the unaware Jack Butland.
Stoke were not threatening going forward and the front men were fed off scraps. Diouf failed to work Joe Hart from the only half chance the Potters produced in the first half. Running onto the through ball with Diouf taking it in his stride to produce an underwhelming first time shot which Hart pounced on comfortably.
Stoke came out with more energy in the second half and were able to retain possession within the final third for short periods. One of those resulted in Pieters finding Shaqiri’s feet in the box eight yards out but with three Hammers players around him, failed to find a teammate.
West Ham had a moment of elation when a great ball from the left-hand side saw Arnautovic in between the centre half’s to flick on a header into the far corner but was offside after just mistiming his run. Another big decision from the linesman saw another goal disallowed when Fernandes hit a powerful shot down the middle of the goal. However, an offside Arnautovic was deemed to be interfering with play when he had to lift his foot over the ball to allow it to reach the goal.
The home side began to create more dangerous chances with Aaron Cresswell testing Butland into an acrobatic save from a free-kick. More free-kicks in threatening positions were being conceded by Stoke, who looked to be holding on for dear life.Embed from Getty Images
Stoke had a moment of hope when Shaqiri’s shot was spilled by Hart for Crouch to pounce on and tuck away with 10 minutes to play. West Ham continued to pile on the pressure and Stoke were conceding continuous free-kick’s in dangerous areas. It seemed Stoke were going to hold on until the 90th minute, when an inch perfect cross to the edge of the from Creswell was met by the left foot of Andy Carroll, who volleyed it into the bottom corner earning the hosts a deserved draw.
Despite Crouch becoming Stoke’s Premier League top scorer with 44 goals, it wasn’t enough to prevent Stoke’s 12th defeat in London thanks to Andy Carroll’s third goal in three games, his last two coming in January.
West Ham edge ever closer to securing another season of Premier League football and face Arsenal at the Emirates. However, Stoke City are seemingly destined for the Championship unless they can produce a miracle run of results in their remaining four games. They need to start with a win when they host Burnley on Sunday.
Written by Andy Ridgeway.
Project Engineer at Rolls Royce. Unfortunately, born a Stoke City fan but wouldn’t have it any other way.