West Ham count cost as injury concerns pile up for David Moyes

So much had been said of the fact that victory here would bring West Ham the reward of a fortnight’s breather that it almost felt forgotten that a place in the FA Cup fourth round was also on the line.

In the end, the Hammers seized neither prize, Tommy Conway’s second-half leveller cancelling out Jarrod Bowen’s strike to earn Championship Bristol City a 1-1 draw and force the side into a rematch at Ashton Gate in 10 days’ time, one that will cut short the two-week break pencilled into every Premier League club’s schedule.

By full-time, though, an extra fixture was the least of David Moyes’s concerns, with Lucas Paqueta, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Bowen all suffered injuries on what could come to look a costly afternoon.

In his eagerness to get the job done at the first time of asking, Moyes had named his strongest available XI, including returns for the fit-again Kurt Zouma and Vladimir Coufal.

Paqueta, too, was just back from a knee injury, and had crafted Bowen’s opener inside five minutes with another wonderful assist, but managed no more involvement before limping off with what appeared a recurrence of the problem.

With the Brazilian soon went the home side’s early zest and, before half-time, Mavropanos as well, the centre-back victim of a poor aerial challenge from Tommy Conway and an awkward landing. With Nayef Aguerd at the Africa Cup of Nations with Morocco and Thilo Kehrer just loaned to Monaco, Moyes is suddenly on bare bones footing at the heart of defence.

At the other end, the game might have been put to bed without two fine saves from Max O’Leary in the visiting goal. The Irishman first thrust a strong hand at Pablo Fornals’s fine strike from Bowen’s cut-back, and then reacted sharply to palm behind when Cameron Pring’s attempt to deny Tomas Soucek a tap-in threatened to do more harm than good.

Still alive at the start of the second-half, though, and now kicking towards the 9,000-strong away contingent that had taken over the Trevor Brooking Stand, the Robins surged.

Pring slashed wide with a glorious opening at the far post, but any frustration was short lived as a terrific pass from Joe Williams sent Tommy Conway clear to fire sweetly past Lukasz Fabianski and level the tie.

In pursuit of a winner, Moyes went looking for an unlikely hero, sending on the lesser spotted pair of Maxwel Cornet and Danny Ings. The latter, though, squandered the best chance, steering wide when the ball dropped kindly at the far post when the poacher’s finish that was once his hallmark was required.

Into the fourth minute of added time, one final opening appeared on the break, but as he tried to drive from inside his own half, Bowen lost the ball and went over awkwardly on his ankle. He required treatment after the final whistle and, in perhaps the most worrying sight of a troubling afternoon for Moyes, was helped by two physios from the pitch as the visitors hailed their deserved draw.