West Ham United substitute Andy Carroll netted a late equaliser to snatch a draw at home to Stoke City that moved the Londoners a step closer to Premier League safety and left the visitors facing the drop.
Stoke thought they had secured all three points and their first away win since October when substitute Peter Crouch knocked a loose ball into the back of the net after West Ham’s England goalkeeper Joe Hart spilled a shot after 79 minutes.
But West Ham showed all their fighting qualities as they rescued a point in added time when Carroll volleyed a cross from Aaron Cresswell past Jack Butland into the corner of the net.
West Ham will count themselves unlucky not to have won after having three goals disallowed in the second half, but the victory means they now stand seven points clear of the bottom three, while Stoke, who introduced Stephen Ireland with three minutes to play, are five points adrift of the safety zone.
Hammers boss David Moyes admitted he only decided to throw three forwards into the fray when Crouch scored as he believed his side had been “dominant” up to that point.
The Scot said: “I thought we should have won, we played really well.
“We just didn’t have a little bit of something different up front tonight.
“I thought Chicharito (Hernandez), Andy (Carroll) and Manuel Lanzini all did well as subs.
“We didn’t need to use any subs as we were dominant and I thought the goals would come.
“But the moment we went a goal down we had to find another way.
“We’re in a good position, a far better one than when I took over, and it’s a good point tonight.”
Stoke boss Paul Lambert is optimistic about his side’s bid to secure another season in the Premier League.
He said: “It was a blow because we were so close to winning the game and I thought we were excellent. But we’re well in the fight and the supporters are behind us.”