Carroll's late leveller spares Hart's blushes

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West Ham United's English striker Andy Carroll celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Stoke City at The London Stadium, in east London on April 16, 2018. Glyn KIRK / AFP

Andy Carroll’s last-gasp equaliser spared Joe Hart’s blushes after the West Ham goalkeeper made a costly blunder in Monday’s dramatic 1-1 draw against Stoke.

Stoke substitute Peter Crouch poked home from close-range after Hart made a hash of holding onto Xherdan Shaqiri’s soft shot with just 11 minutes left at the London Stadium.

The former Liverpool striker’s first goal since November put relegation-threatened Stoke within touching distance of their first win in 10 games.

But Carroll came off the bench to rescue West Ham with a superb volley in the 90th minute.

It was a bitter blow for Paul Lambert’s Stoke, who remain second bottom of the Premier League.

Stoke are five points from safety with only four games left to avoid slipping into the Championship.

Carroll’s third goal of the season — in his first appearance since January — was a priceless contribution for West Ham, who are now seven points above the bottom three.

Although Hart was relieved his howler didn’t cost West Ham all three points, his mistake did little to boost his chances of starting for England in the World Cup.

It couldn’t have come at a worse time with national team boss Gareth Southgate watching from the stands in east London.