Sheffield United 2-2 West Ham (Brereton Diaz 44′, Brewster red card 90’+3, McBurnie pen 90’+13 | Cornet 28′, Ward-Prowse pen 79′, Coufal red card 90’+7)
BRAMALL LANE — David Moyes gagged himself from commenting on the display of referee Michael Salisbury but admitted his main anger was directed at an astonishing injury-time collapse by his West Ham side.
With Sheffield United destined for a seventh defeat in their last nine league games, Oli McBurnie’s 103rd minute penalty salvaged a point in an injury-time that will long be remembered at Bramall Lane.
Both teams had a player sent off in added time – Rhian Brewster for the hosts and West Ham’s Vladimir Coufal – before Salisbury controversially judged that keeper Alphonse Areola fouled McBurnie in challenging for a cross.
A dazed Areola was replaced by Lukasz Fabianski whose first job was to face, and concede, McBurnie’s spot kick which, in the process, became the latest goal scored in the Premier League since records began.
The drama was still not over with West Ham furious they did not have an added time penalty of their own, in the 105th minute, after a challenge by Anel Ahmedhodzic on Jarrod Bowen.
“I’m certainly not going to talk about any referees, I don’t want to get myself in trouble,” Moyes said. “You should ask the referee. We’ve got to a stage now where we are settling for a level of officiating where we are all shrugging our shoulders and saying ‘okay’. I’m shrugging my shoulders again, we don’t know what they are going to do.
“I thought it would be better to put someone in goal who wasn’t dazed because, absolutely, he was completely fouled. I think it was a foul on the goalkeeper.
“But my team’s performance was so poor. Maybe the worst. It was a throwback game, long throws, free-kicks, balls in, and we had to deal with it. But we never passed it well.”
Still, when the dust had settled on the insane closing proceedings, one stark fact was left facing Chris Wilder’s team.
For all their admirable never-say-die spirit, no team has ever survived in Premier League history from such a perilous position and even Bryan Robson’s West Brom “great escape” artists had 12 points after 21 games in 2005 – two more than United have now.
There had been little hint of the mayhem to come when Maxwel Cornet volleyed his team in front with his first goal since joining West Ham 18 months ago after Danny Ings’ shot ricocheted off Jack Robinson and sat up at the far post.
But two minutes before the interval, the Hammers paid for some poor defending as Areola pushed out a header from Will Osula and Ben Brereton Diaz beat James Ward-Prowse to the loose ball and converted.
When West Ham were awarded a 79th minute penalty, following Gustavo Hamer’s trip on Ings, it looked as though Ward-Prowse’s emphatic conversion would be enough for the win.
But that did not reckon with the six minutes of added time that eventually lasted nearly three times that length.
First, Brewster was shown red after a VAR check, for an appaling studs-up attack on Emerson. Coufal was booked for dissent while that incident was playing out and followed Brewster down the tunnel after collecting a second yellow, for fouling James McAtee.
McAtee held the ball as if here were to take it, while Areola received treatment, in an attempt to deflect potential pressure, including “sledging” from opponents.
“They were smart between them,” Wilder said. “The goalkeeper was down for a long time, we understood that from a psychological point of view, with there being so many bodies in that area.”