Dean Ashton found his scoring boots in stoppage-time as West Ham squeezed past visitors Plymouth Argyle 1-0 in the Carling Cup third round.
Championship side Argyle held out for 91 minutes at Upton Park and went close themselves on several occasions.
But England hopeful Ashton, who swapped his white boots for a bright red pair at half-time, struck late on with a superb volley for his third goal since recovering from a broken ankle.
The outcome was harsh on Argyle, who had their moments with Barry Hayles, Peter Halmosi and Akos Buzsaky all causing the Hammers' rearguard problems.
Ashton drilled a shot wide on 23 minutes, and soon after Buzsaky's free-kick cleared the crossbar at the other end.
Luis Boa Morte then missed a gilt-edged chance and after the break, Hammers skipper Lucas Neill was twice required to clear off the line.