ALAN Pardew has admitted that his side claimed what could turn out to be a vital point in the 1-1 draw at Sunderland, despite being rattled by a dominant Black Cats display.
Hammers were up against it for much of the game, and when Tommy Miller gave Sunderland the lead just before half-time, Pards' men looked to be heading for their first away defeat of the season.
But up stepped Yossi Benayoun to fire home a 72nd minute equaliser and keep Hammers strong run of form going.
Pards knows taking a point from a below par performance at the Stadium of Light could be crucial to his team's season.
"It could be an enormous point," he conceded. "We got knocked out of our stride by Sunderland. They disrupted our play and sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say they were better than us.
"We knew it was going to happen at some time. We knew there would be a game where we just never got going and at Sunderland we looked flat.
"They worked us over to some degree and at half-time we had to have a rallying call because we knew our performance was just not good enough.
"In the end that little bit of quality showed through for us and we were delighted to come away with a point."
Pards praised the efforts of Israeli star Yossi Benayoun, who struck the decisive equaliser to ensure Hammers would again leave the North East with a point to show for their efforts.
"Yossi scored a terrific goal," exclaimed Pards. "A lesser player might have rushed that chance and hit it too early. But he waited until the right moment and finished it really well.
"Yossi really dragged us through that last period single-handedly. He was everywhere, making tackles and holding the ball. He's a great little player and brings a lot of quality to the side.
"The important thing to take from the Sunderland game is that we didn't get beaten. The match at the Stadium of Light was perhaps tougher than the one at Newcastle because Sunderland were really buoyant after their win.
"It was a severe test and we came through still unbeaten away from home. There's lots of positives we will take from the Stadium of Light and we have to be pleased with the outcome."
Pards' Big Point