The Hammers are now seven points clear of the relegation zone, with Stoke five points adrift of safety with four games left.
In a nervy game between two clubs fighting against the drop, it was Stoke who opened the scoring in the 79th minute when Xherdan Shaqiri’s powerful, long-range effort was parried out by Joe Hart, which allowed substitute Peter Crouch to fire in from close range. This is his first goal since November and offer Stoke a glimpse of three precious points in their battle of survival.
Only 11 minutes remained but there was still time for fellow substitute, Andy Carroll, back after more than three months out injured, to return and smash in a splendid volley to equalise from Aaron Cresswell’s cross.
The Hammers thought they had won the game when Javier Hernandez scored in injury time, but it was disallowed for a Carroll handball in the build-up. It was the third goal they had ruled out in the game. All three decisions were correct calls by referee Michael Oliver, following a difficult few days in which he and his wife have been abused after he awarded Real Madrid a last-minute penalty against Juventus and sent off Gianluigi Buffon in the Champions League on Wednesday.
With both sides’ Premier League places in jeopardy, it was a hotly contested game for the official to deal with – the match produced 36 fouls, the joint-highest in a Premier League game this season.