West Ham United staged a hugely impressive comeback from two goals down to earn a 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw with Arsenal on Sunday.
Robin van Persie opened the scoring in the 16th minute when he slotted home from eight yards. The hosts then had what appeared to be a legitimate Jack Collison goal ruled out before William Gallas added a second for the Gunners with a header just before the break.
After a worrying start ,the Hammers could have crumbled, but a stirring second-half display saw them earn the point through a Carlton Cole header and an Alessandro Diamanti penalty. And just to add to the drama, Scott Parker was sent-off late on for two bookable offences.
West Ham United's starting XI saw three changes from the side that faced Stoke City. Mexico striker Guille Franco was handed his full debut in attack, while Jonathan Spector was preferred to Julien Fabuert at right-back. Parker was back from suspension to take his place in midfield with Radoslav Kovac dropping to the bench.
After a flurry of early goalmouth activity, which saw Cole's shot deflected wide at one end and Robert Green tip over a van Persie effort at the other, the game settled. That was until it burst back into life in the 16th minute when West Ham thought they had taken the lead.
Collison exchanged passes with Franco on the left and after his low shot had been parried by Vito Mannone, he reacted quickest to fire home. The referee's assistant, though, was to halt the celebrations prematurely by flagging for an apparent offside, although replays suggested the decision may have been wrong.
To rub salt into the wounds, Arsenal took the lead less than a minute later when Bacary Sagna crossed from the right and van Persie gleefully prodded the ball into the net from eight yards.
After the early setback, and knowing they had not beaten Arsenal in any of the last five attempts, the West Ham players could have let their heads drop but this was far from the case.
They nearly got level in the 22nd minute when Noble's shot at the near post was turned around by Mannone. Noble was involved again eleven minutes later when he was tripped 30 yards from goal. He took the free-kick himself and, after it was cleared as far as Spector on the right, the United States international's' inch-perfect cross was headed just wide by Cole.
Eight minutes before the break Gallas doubled the lead for the visitors when he smashed a header in from a van Persie corner to round off an impressive first half for the north Londoners.
It could have been worse for the home side shortly after the break when Green was called into action by Andrey Arshavin, but the England No1 was able to parry the Russian's shot out for a corner.
The home side gave themselves a lifeline with 16 minutes to go when Cole bagged his fifth league goal of the season. Zavon Hines, who had impressed since arriving as 64th minute substitute for Franco, won a free-kick 25 yards out. Diamanti, who himself had come for Noble eight minutes before Hines' introduction, forced Mannone into a diving save. The ball only came back out as far as Cole, who headed into the net from close-range.
Collison and Parker were both booked as the tempo on the pitch increased and then, just moments after a big penalty shout for a trip on Parker by Gallas in the area was ignored by referee Chris Foy, the official awarded West Ham a spot-kick for Alex Song's foul on Cole.
After a melee in the area which saw Mannone booked for trying to delay the penalty, Diamanti stepped up and comfortably beat his fellow Italian from 12 yards to send the home support among the 34,442 fans inside the stadium into a state of ecstasy.
The drama was far from over, though, as Parker saw red for his second booking after Foy had seen him handle the ball on the floor. Parker's exit prompted Zola to bring on Kovac for the tireless Behrami.
Green denied Arsenal and, in particular, van Persie, an added-time winner when he somehow blocked the Dutchman's header right on his own goal line, and West Ham survived to pick up a valuable and emotional point.
The huge cheers that greeted Foy's whistle at the end signified just how much the home players had impressed in the second half. Now, they must try to take that form with them when they travel to Sunderland next Saturday.