Alan Pardew admitted Dwight Gayle’s sending-off proved costly as 10-man Crystal Palace were floored by two late goals to go down 3-1 at home to West Ham.
The sides were locked at 1-1 after Yohan Cabaye’s penalty cancelled out Carl Jenkinson’s opener when striker Gayle launched into a rash challenge on Dimitri Payet.
Having been booked for that, Gayle should surely have known better than to slide in on Cheikou Kouyate a minute before half-time.
Eagles boss Pardew felt referee Mark Clattenburg was quick to produce a second yellow and Gayle’s indiscipline was crucial as West Ham eventually snatched victory through goals from Manuel Lanzini and Payet.
“The first challenge from Dwight was bad and was a yellow card,” said Pardew.
“But the second, he’s missed the ball by about a centimetre. Perhaps he shouldn’t have made the challenge, and he will have to learn from that, but I still think the referee was hasty.
“I said to the referee at half-time ‘did it really warrant that’? Perhaps if he’d taken a couple of seconds after the tackle he might have given him a final warning. I thought the game deserved that.
“It kind of knocked the occasion – although not for West Ham, because it played into their hands.”
Jenkinson bagged his second goal in two games with a fine 23rd-minute strike, only for the right-back to promptly give away a penalty when he knocked Gayle over in the opposite box.
Cabaye tucked away the penalty – but Gayle had encroached in the area, forcing a retake which the France midfielder neatly dispatched into the opposite corner.
The 10 men appeared to have held on for a point until the 88th minute when Mauro Zarate crossed to fellow substitute Andy Carroll, who headed back across goal for Lanzini to lash home.
And four minutes into stoppage time Payet raced onto Lanzini’s through-ball before deftly chipping Wayne Hennessey to seal West Ham’s fourth away win of the season – and their best according to manager Slaven Bilic.
“We had to be patient and stay in position,” said Bilic. “It’s not easy to score against a team basically defending with nine men.
“I was more pleased with performance in the first half. We came here with respect for Palace, they are doing well, they have quality and are the best in the country at set-pieces.
“I told the players last night to forget about beating Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, and that this is the game I am looking forward to.
“We had to match them and hope our quality on the ball would make the difference – and it did.”