The future of West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was thrown further into doubt by a 95th minute equaliser from visiting side Stoke City. They stay in ninth but the teams below – today’s visitors Stoke and Crystal Palace have the opposite sort of form to the impressive but toothless Irons.
West Ham came out of the blocks full steam ahead with midfield powerhouse Cheikhou Kouyate flashing his drive across goal.
With six minutes gone, the Hammers took the lead in sublime fashion. Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was not expecting left back Aaron Cresswell to produce a perfectly executed outswinging free kick from 25 yards out to take the home side into the lead on seven minutes.
Sam Allardyce’s men were expressive in their play, with Kouyate darting past Glenn Whelan and producing a curled shot that was well handled by Begovic.
Stoke managed to muster their first shot on target in the 29th minute as Jon Walters attempted – and failed – to catch Adrian napping with a volley from the edge of the area.
After last week’s super-strike against Chelsea, midfielder Charlie Adam attempted something vaguely similar with a 35 yard free kick that went over the bar.
The Potters looked to have got to grips with the games in the final 20 minutes of the first half, with Walters cutting inside James Collins and shooting into the side netting. Winger Victor Moses then went close with his shot on the turn as Mark Hughes’ men upped the tempo.
Moses was forced off with an ankle injury and was replaced by forward Mame Biram Diouf.
With three additional minutes, Alex Song, Enner Valencia and Kouyate led a West Ham counter attack, but Kouyate dragged his shot well wide and the chance to double the lead was wasted.
The visitors were dealt an early second half blow in their quest for an equaliser. Left back Marc Wilson was forced off with a knee injury and was replaced by Eric Pieters.
The injuries in this game kept mounting, this time, it was for the Upton Park outfit. West Ham’s top scorer Diafra Sakho left the field, replaced by fans’ favourite Carlton Cole.
Stoke’s persistent attacking play looked to have been rewarded when Marc Arnautovic slotted home nicely, but assistant referee Richard West judged the Austrian was off-side.
Kouyate had been a menace all afternoon and created another opportunity for himself. Cutting through the Stoke defence, the Senegalese man’s drive was pushed away by Begovic.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes, substitute Diouf thought he put Stoke back on level terms with his header only for a lick of paint from the inside of the left hand post to rescue the hosts.
In the 90th minute, Arnautovic complained angrily to the assistant again after ruling out another finish from the Stoke attacker for offside.
However, it was third time lucky for Arnautovic. Running clear from the Hammers backline, he finished expertly to rescue a point for the Potters in the 95th minute. The Hammers are now winless in four against Stoke, with manager Mark Hughes having now only lost one of his last 11 encounters with Allardyce.
West Ham: Adrian, Jenkinson, Collins, Reid, Cresswell; Song (Nolan, 66), Noble ©, Kouyate; Downing; Sakho (Cole, 58), Valencia (Amalfitano, 77).
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, O’Brien, Jarvis, Nene.
Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Wollscheid, Wilson (Pieters, 48); Whelan (Ireland, 66), N’Zonzi, Adam, Moses (Diouf, 44), Arnautovic; Walters.
Subs Not Used: Butland, Bardsley, Sidwell, Crouch.