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West Ham Utd 1-1 Stoke City

Filed: Monday, 16th April 2018
By: Staff Writer

West Ham's run without a home win against Stoke stretched to six matches tonight - but it could have been so much worse.

Substitute Andy Carroll announced his return from injury with a 90th minute strike to cancel out City sub Peter Crouch's 79th minute opener and save a point for the Hammers - who have now gone seven years without a home win against The Potters.

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Whilst a win would've moved the Hammers up to 12th spot in the Premier League table, perhaps of more importance tonight was ensuring that Stoke - who went into the game 19th and on the back of four consecutive defeats - didn't win.

However the visitors were so close to snatching an unlikely three points when Peter Crouch, so often the scourge of West Ham over the years took full advantage of a glaring error by Joe Hart with just 11 minutes of normal time remaining.

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The 37-year-old former England international loitered in the penalty box and managed to beat the current England player to the ball after Hart had allowed Xherdan Shaqiri's reasonably tame shot to slip from his grasp.

Until that point West Ham had dominated the game, stringing together a series of chances to break the deadlock. Referee Michael Oliver, officiating his first match since last week's controversial Champions League quarter final between Juventus and Real Madrid had already ruled out three efforts on goal before the visitors registered.

Marko Arnautovic though he had broken the deadlock when converting Aaron Cresswell's cross from the left but TV replays confirmed he was offside by the narrowest of margins.

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The Austrian was involved again when Edimilson Fernandes' fierce shot from the edge of the box found the net but Arnautovic was again adjudged to be interfering with play as he was forced to step over the midfielder's shot.

Andy Carroll - on for his first appearance since 1-1 draw at Tottenham on 4 January - was then denied after finding the net just a matter of minutes after entering the fray; for what exactly remains a mystery, although some have suggested a possible hand-ball prior to his shot.

But the towering striker wasn't going to be denied for a second time, and with the start of added-on time rapidly approaching he produced a technically-superb volley from another perfectly-delivered Cresswell centre to restore parity and earn the Hammers a precious point in their fight against survival.

Premier League table: current standings

As it stands: West Ham rise above Huddersfield in the Premier League

West Ham Utd: Hart, Rice, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Zabaleta, Kouyate, Noble, Masuaku (Lanzini 80), Fernandes (Chicharito 75), Joao Mario (Carroll 84), Arnautovic.

Subs not used: Adrian, Evra, Cullen, Hugill.

Goals: Carroll (90).

Stoke City: Butland, Martins Indi, Shawcross, Zouma, Bauer (Crouch 70), Ndiaye, Allen, Pieters, Shaqiri, Sobhi (Cameron 62), Diouf (Ireland 87).

Subs not used: Grant, Cameron, Sorenson, Fletcher.

Goals: Crouch (78).

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Tickets sold: tbc.

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