Last-gasp winners have been West Ham’s chief currency in recent weeks, but time ran out on the late show here.
Having led Crystal Palace through an early strike from the brilliant Mohammed Kudus, the Hammers coughed up the cheapest of route’s back into the game, Odsonne Edouard pouncing on a clanger from Konstantinos Mavropanos to earn the visitors a 1-1 draw.
Without their usual dose drama at the death, this was two points needlessly dropped by David Moyes’s side, who have still kept just one clean sheet in the Premier League all season and missed out on the chance to climb into the top eight.
Beset by injuries, this was a welcome point for Palace, who had collected only three in five previous matches, and those by virtue of beating newly-promoted Burnley.
A fifth defeat in six had looked the likeliest outcome when the hosts carved out a superb opener inside a quarter-of-an-hour. Kudus started the move, spinning in midfield to drive West Ham up the pitch, before James Ward-Prowse’s fierce switch of play found Vladimir Coufal down the right. Shaping to whip into the middle, the Czech cleverly pulled back instead, picking out Kudus, whose first-time strike tickled Marc Guehi on the way to beating Sam Johnstone low at his near post.
Kudus and Coufal had been among a quartet returning after being left at home for Thursday’s Europa League win over Backa Topola and another of them, Jarrod Bowen, went close to doubling the lead, the forward looking to lift early over Johnstone but undercooking his effort on his first start since picking up a knee injury on England duty earlier this month.
Generally, though, chances were in short supply, a wicked deflection off the wall from Joachim Andersen’s free-kick giving Alphonse Areola his one moment of alarm before the break but the ball looped just wide.
Without either the drive of Cheick Doucoure, who could miss the rest of the season with a torn Achilles, or the spark of the sidelined Eberechi Eze, the visiting midfield looked particularly uninspiring, defender Chris Richards operating as a makeshift holding player. When Andersen shot from a second set-piece inside his own half, you sensed the Eagles were struggling for ideas.
How kind, then, of Mavropanos to come up with one of his own, the Greek defender’s horrendous pass picked off by Edouard, who steered low into the corner having moments earlier failed to connect with Marc Guehi’s cushion across the face of goal with the net gaping.
By then, Kudus had had the ball in the net once more, his cross finding its way in at the far post, but Tomas Soucek’s air-kick from an offside position put Johnstone off and the flag was correctly raised.
In response to Palace’s goal, Moyes moved Lucas Paqueta - unusually peripheral - inside and the Brazilian immediately created a fine chance for Emerson at the far post by the full-back’s volley was wild. Despite his team having arrived back in London from Serbia only 48 hours earlier, however, Moyes declined use of his bench until sending Pablo Fornals on with just two minutes of regulation to play.
Another six were added, but for once West Ham’s late push fell short, Bowen heading into the gloves of Johnstone with a glorious chance to win it at the last.