Belfast Telegraph

Carroll answers Hammers' SOS call to crank up heat on Stoke

West Ham 1-1 Stoke

By Andy Sims

Andy Carroll climbed off the treatment table to score a last-minute equaliser and deny Stoke a precious win in their battle for Premier League survival.

The striker, out injured since the turn of the year, was sent on as a last throw of the dice by David Moyes with West Ham trailing to Peter Crouch's goal.

And within three minutes, Carroll fired home from the edge of the area to snatch a 1-1 draw which edged the Hammers closer to safety and left Stoke in serious trouble.

England boss Gareth Southgate was in attendance to witness two Three Lions strikers of old take centre stage.

Referee Michael Oliver was busy shortly after the break as West Ham twice had the ball in the back of the net only to see both goals disallowed.

First, Marko Arnautovic converted Aaron Cresswell's cross with a deft header but he had strayed marginally offside.

Then a low Edimilson Fernandes drive flew past Jack Butland but Arnautovic, this time clearly offside, was in the keeper's way.

Butland made another decent save to palm away Cresswell's long-range effort, but when Joe Hart was called into action from similar distance he failed.

The Manchester City loanee fumbled Xherdan Shaqiri's shot and was too slow to react, allowing Crouch to stab the ball home.

But enter Carroll, and in the final minute the big frontman stroked home a crisp first-time shot after the ball was played into his feet by Cresswell.

Crouch said: "We had five minutes left (when Carroll scored) and it would have been a vital win for us, but coming here and getting the draw is still a good result."

West Ham ace Carroll reflected on the last-gasp handball that put paid to a potential winner from Javier Hernandez.

He said: "I tried to bring it down and it did hit my hand but it was because of a shove which might even have been a penalty."

Belfast Telegraph

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