It seemed West Ham United were headed for a terrible defeat Monday evening, with a Joe Hart dreadful spill leading to Peter Crouch scoring what appeared to be a late second half winner.
Then Andy Carroll returned, and game saving magic happened.
The tall England strikers cancelled each other’s tallies out in a dramatically ended 1-1 draw between the Hammers and Stoke City at the London Stadium.
A crushing defeat seemed to be the case for David Moyes side after being the better team throughout, when Hart inexplicably spilled a shot to allow for the substitute Crouch to tap in for a 79th minute goal. An enthusiastic Paul Lambert seemed as if he had gotten the ultimate lifeline for Stoke City to try and get out of their current relegation fate.
But just when it seemed it would be an embarrassing defeat for West Ham and a massive three points for their troubled visitors, Carroll returned to action for the first time in three months and reminded all of the terrific talent he is. Just minutes before stoppage time, the No.9 took another good Aaron Cresswell delivery and perfectly swung home a left foot volley finish of the highest quality. There was nothing that Jack Butland could do about it but stare at it into his net.
And it appeared that the Hammers scored the winner from Javier Hernandez just a minute later. But Chicharito’s quality hit was ruled out due to Carroll’s handball control being called by referee Michael Oliver.
It was truly a nerve wracking finish, and a reminder of how sensitive West Ham’s position still is to a relegation fight to season’s end. Thankfully the brilliance of Carroll is still at this club, and West Ham will hope to have him for the remainder of the season.
Moyes and the boys will start their difficult last five game stretch of the season when they face Arsenal on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium.