West Ham United 1-1 Stoke City

Barclays Premier League 
West Ham United 1-1 Stoke City 

West Ham United were denied all three Barclays Premier League points in dramatic fashion at the Boleyn Ground on Saturday, as Marko Arnautovic rifled home a Stoke City equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time.  

Aaron Cresswell's thumping first-half free-kick had earlier put Sam Allardyce's men on course for a second successive league win at the Boleyn Ground, only for the Austrian to have the final word. 

Ironically, Arnautovic had earlier twice been denied an equaliser by the linesman's flag, but it was third time lucky for the No10, as his angled drive flew into the right-hand corner of Adrian's goal in the dying seconds.    

West Ham had been much the quicker out of the blocks here and a seventh-minute opener hardly came as a surprise. By then, Cheikhou Kouyate had already threatened the Potters’ goal, picking up the pieces from a Mark Noble corner, before slamming right across the face of goal from an acute angle. 

Over to Cresswell. After Enner Valencia had been felled by Glenn Whelan, the Ecuadorian, Noble and Cresswell all stood over the dead ball. Noble dummied it and Cresswell bent a delicious left-footed free-kick into the top right-hand corner. Expecting a right-footed effort, Asmir Begovic took terminal steps to his right in anticipation and so failed to make up the ground. 

A goal to the good, still West Ham pressed. Diafra Sakho muscled his way through a challenge on the right, before crossing for Carl Jenkinson. It was as much as the full-back could do to chest it in the vague direction of goal, but Begovic smothered.    

With quarter-of-an-hour gone, Kouyate sought to double the Hammers’ advantage. The No8 dropped a shoulder in midfield and took aim, but opted to side-foot it and the Bosnian stopper was comfortably down to his left to gather. 

At the other end, the Potters showed their hand for the first time. The ball dropped invitingly for Jonathan Walters in the penalty box, who might have troubled Adrian, but for a brilliant block from Winston Reid.    

Fresh from his spectacular exploits at Chelsea, Charlie Adam clearly fancied his chances here too. The Scot went for goal from a free-kick all of 35 yards from goal and though it curled wide, Adrian was sufficiently concerned to scamper across his goal. 

As the half ticked on, the visitors grew in confidence and mustered a half chance or two of their own. Walters’ effort from 18 yards rippled Adrian’s side netting, while a Victor Moses strike from the edge of the box did likewise. 

But it could easily have got worse for the Potters, as Valencia led the breakout, he slipped in Kouyate who in turn dragged an effort well wide of the left-hand upright.  

It was a largely stop-start affair in the minutes after the interval, with referee Roger East considerably busier than either 'keeper. Walters collected a loose ball deep in Hammers territory but his strike looped a good foot or two over Adrian's crossbar.

Meanwhile, Big Sam was forced into a change just shy of the hour mark, with Carlton Cole replacing the injured Sakho, who appeared to be holding his thigh as he departed.    

With 69 gone, Arnautovic had the ball in the net for the Potters, racing onto a through ball, before prodding into the far corner. The Autrian, however, had long since been flagged offside and so celebrations in the away end were swiftly curtailed.

Moments later and Begovic was back in business. Kouyate burst into the box, as he regularly does these days, and his near-post stike looked to be creeping in, but for the stopper's smart intervention.  

Stoke, meanwhile, could hardly have come any closer to a levelller, as Biram Diouf's well-directed header from a Stephen Ireland cross cannoned back off Adrian's left-hand upright and out of harm's way. 

Cole nodded a Stewart Downing cross wide of the far post late on, before Arnautovic again saw an eqauliser ruled out for offisde, albeit this time in stoppage time. Ireland squared for the Austrian who happily converted, only to see his celebrations cut short yet again.

But as the clock ticked down the No10 surged past Reid and into the box before drilling an inch-perfect drive into the far corner to earn Hughes' men a share of the spoils.     

West Ham United: Adrian, Jenkinson, Collins, Reid, Cresswell, Song (Nolan 68), Noble (c), Kouyate, Downing, Valencia (Amalfitano 78), Sakho (Cole 59)
Subs: Jaaskelainen, O'Brien, Nolan, Jarvis, Nene  

Goal: Cresswell 7

Bookings: Collins, Nolan, Cole    

Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross (c), Wollscheid, Wilson (Pieters 49), Whelan (Ireland 67), N'Zonzi, Moses (Diouf 44), Adam, Arnautovic, Walters
Subs: Butland, Bardsley, Sidwell, Crouch 

Goal: Arnautovic 90+5  

Bookings: Pieters   

Referee: Roger East