With the Rolling Stones set to perform at the London Stadium next month, who better to set the stage than the old and the infirm of English football?
First Peter Crouch came off the bench to defy his 37 years with his first goal since November and offer Stoke a glimpse of three precious points in their battle for survival.
Only 11 minutes remained but there was still time for Andy Carroll, back after more than three months out injured, to return and smash in a splendid volley to equalise.
However West Ham striker Andy Carroll hooked home on the 90-minute mark to keep the Potters five points from safety
Peter Crouch scored with 11 minutes remaining to seemingly earn a massive three points for relegation-threatened Stoke
Crouch tapped in after West Ham keeper Joe Hart fumbled Xherdan Shaqiri’s effort for his first goal since November
MATCH DETAILS, RATINGS, TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
West Ham (3-4-2-1): Hart 5; Rice 6, Ogbonna 6, Cresswell 6.5; Zabaleta 6, Kouyate 6, Noble 6.5, Masuaku 6.5 (Lanzini 81); Fernandes 6.5 (Hernandez 76, 7), Mario 6 (Carroll 86); Arnautovic 6.5
Subs not used: Adrian, Evra, Cullen, Hugill
Goals: Carroll 90
Bookings: Kouyate 85, Cresswell 90
Manager: David Moyes 6
Stoke (4-2-3-1): Butland 7; Zouma 6, Shawcross 6.5, Indi 6, Pieters 6; Allen 6, Ndiaye 6.5; Bauer 6 (Crouch 70, 7), Shaqiri 6.5, Sobhi 5 (Cameron 61, 6.5); Diouf 5
Subs not used: Grant, Sorensen, Campbell, Fletcher
Goals: Crouch 79
Bookings: Crouch 80, Martins Indi 82, Ndiaye 90
Manager: Paul Lambert 6
Ref: Michael Oliver 6.5
- Premier League
- Premier League
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Serie A
- La Liga
Javier Hernandez, another substitute, thought he had found a late winner but the goal was ruled out by referee Michael Oliver, who had spotted a handball by Carroll.
In all, Oliver ruled out three West Ham goals in the second half, the first two for offside, and all of the decisions were backed up by video replays, which must have been a relief.
The referee and his wife Lucy have been targets for personal abuse since he awarded Real Madrid a decisive penalty against Juventus in the Champions League last week.
For the most part, this was a far more humdrum affair. In the first half there was barely a decision for him to make. West Ham dominated and Stoke showed little ambition.
But once Crouch had smashed in from close range after a dreadful mistake by Joe Hart, the game exploded into life. Suddenly there were tackles flying around and penalty appeals and a hitherto absent sense of urgency.
West Ham realised they were about to be dragged back towards the relegation mire with a daunting set of five fixtures remaining.
Stoke striker Crouch celebrates his goal – but West Ham equalised to keep Paul Lambert’s side firmly in danger of the drop
Carroll — who had only come on four minutes earlier for his first game in four months — hooked in an Aaron Cresswell cross
Jack Butland dives full stretch to try and keep Carroll’s shot out, but it went in to keep West Ham seven points clear of the drop
The goal from Carroll in the 90th minute took their total to 35 points, seven points clear of the drop zone and left Stoke boss Paul Lambert cursing his luck.
Stoke are marooned in a bottom three which is being cut adrift. They have not won for 10 games, a sequence stretching back to January 20, and are five points from safety with four to play. A decade in the Premier League could be about to end.
At least Lambert’s team offered some evidence of a fire still burning in the final stages of this game. For the first hour they were timid and second best and remained in the game largely thanks to the agility and athleticism of goalkeeper Jack Butland.
There were early Butland saves, one with his left leg to deny Arthur Masuaku from a tight angle and another low by his post from Marko Arnautovic, playing against his old club.
West Ham star Marko Arnautovic headed past Butland in the 55th minute but the goal was disallowed for offside
Arnautovic reacts after his header was ruled out for offside, denying the Hammers a lead against Stoke in Monday’s clash
The assistant’s flag also went up after Edimilson Fernandes scored because Arnautovic was standing in an offside position
With Gareth Southgate watching from the stands, Butland won the battle of the England goalkeepers and made another important if unorthodox save before the interval.
Pablo Zabaleta turned a pass from Mark Noble inside to Arnautovic and his firmly struck shot on the turn smacked the goalkeeper full in the face.
Butland saved again from Noble and from Joao Mario either side of the break and made a fabulous save, perhaps his best of the night, at full-stretch to keep out a deflected free-kick by Aaron Cresswell.
At the other end, Hart had little to do. In the first half, he made routine saves from Moritz Bauer and Mame Biram Diouf but his latest error will not help his bid to reclaim his England place.
Stoke pinned West Ham back into their penalty box and Xherdan Shaqiri took aim through a crowd. As the shot zipped off the turf, Hart was unable to hold it or force it aside to safety. After brilliant saves to help his team win a point at Chelsea, it was a bitter blow for him.
The Austria international came closest to opening the scoring in the first half for West Ham against his former club Stoke
The West Ham star was twice denied at the near post by Butland a during cagey opening 45 minutes at the London Stadium
Arnautovic also struck a shot across the face of goal as West Ham looked to move closer to Premier League safety
There were similarities to one he conceded against Burnley last month, as Hart pushed the ball back into the danger area and Crouch scored from close range.
What was billed as a duel between two England goalkeepers had been transformed into one between two old-fashioned centre forwards, long since discarded by the national team.
Crouch savoured the applause of the travelling fans but this contest was only just beginning. Carroll’s equaliser was a controlled volley with his left foot, guiding Cresswell’s cross past Butland.
Hernandez thought he had grabbed the winner but Oliver had spotted Carroll’s handball.
West Ham are inching closer to survival. Stoke are stuck in trouble, unable to get any satisfaction. The Rolling Stones are limbering up again.
Arthur Masuaku puts in a sliding tackle on Moritz Bauer during the first half of the London Stadium clash on Monday night
Mark Noble heads the ball while under pressure from Joe Allen as the two struggling sides squared off on Monday night
Mame Biram Diouf attempts to win the ball back off Declan Rice for Stoke, who are five points off 17th-placed Swansea
Switzerland international Shaqiri, who has scored seven league goals this season, runs away from Fernandes of West Ham
England international goalkeeper Butland gathers the ball just before it drops to Arnautovic at the start of the second half
West Ham manager David Moyes and assistant Stuart Pearce discuss tactics during a first half where the hosts were on top
Stoke manager Paul Lambert is pictured prior to kick-off, with the traditional West Ham bubbles swirling around him
Two young West Ham fans pose for the cameras before the start of a crucial game at the bottom of the Premier League