Analysis: Andy Carroll saving West Ham from avoiding the drop with Stoke all but down

Analysis: Andy Carroll saving West Ham from avoiding the drop with Stoke all but down

The England striker produced a crucial late equaliser that could well see Stoke go down to the Championship while simultaneously saving The Hammers.

Leanne Prescott

Monday's crunch tie between two sides heavily threatened by relegation saw West Ham draw 1-1 with Stoke City​The away side seemed to be on course for a pivotal three points before Andy Carroll's late goal sealed a point for David Moyes' side. Could that be enough to ensure they avoid the drop?

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Has Andy Carroll just saved The Hammers?

Although out of the drop zone, there have been huge question marks over the future of this West Ham side and their ability to retain their status in the top flight. A few positive results against the big hitters diminished the pressure, but Monday's six pointer against Stoke was always going to be crucial in determining the future of both clubs.

Making his first appearance since January, the former-​Liverpool ​striker produced an emphatic volley in the last minute, latching on to Aaron Cresswell's cross. 

But fellow substitute Carroll, in his first appearance since January, volleyed home a last-minute equaliser from Aaron Cresswell's cross. That goal could well ensure West Ham stay up, while condemning Stoke to a season down under.

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Hart blows his World Cup audition with costly blunder

Joe Hart has won rave reviews in recent weeks, particularly in West Ham's draw against Chelsea ​in which the England international pulled off some stunning saves to ensure a valuable point at Stamford Bridge.

Tipping Olivier Giroud's header onto the goal post was more than worthy of the man of the match award in itself. However, this was a games of far rosier fortunes for Hart. Instead of impressing the on-looking Gareth Southgate and England assistant Steve Holland, The Hammers goalkeeper blew his audition. 

Fumbling Xherdan Shaqiri's shot in the final 11 minutes of the match enabled Crouch to ghost in and convert from close range, almost costing West Ham valuable points in the business end of the season.

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Stoke City doomed as Championship awaits them next season

It seemed for all the world as though Stoke were going to register just their second win under new manager Paul Lambert, offering a guiding light in their bid to remain in the Premier League.​ Yet, West Ham's late goal ensured another disappointing result for The Potters, with one point feeling like zero - a result that surely crucifies them to the Championship.

Crouch's second-half strike took him to a total of 44 goals for Stoke City - the highest in the club's history within the Premier League. However, there were few other goalscoring opportunities with Joe Hart rarely threatened.

Arnautovic almost seemed it before his goal was disallowed and with just four games left of the season, it's now hard to see a way back for a side that's been a main-stay in the division for a long time now.