West Ham manager Avram Grant branded the red card he believes cost his side a crucial win at Everton "a joke".

The Hammers looked set to move off the bottom of the Barclays Premier League as Frederic Piquionne headed them into a 2-1 lead with six minutes remaining, but Piquionne, who had been booked four minutes earlier, leapt over advertising hoardings to celebrate and was shown a second yellow card on his return to the field. Everton pressed on and snatched a point in injury time through Marouane Fellaini.

"The red card was a joke," said Grant, for whom victory would have been a huge lift at the end of a week dominated by intense speculation over his future as manager. "He scored a goal and went to celebrate with the supporters. He has not done anything wrong - he went to celebrate with the people who deserve to more than anybody."

He added: "I know it is the law but it is a stupid law and we need to change it.

"You never know but I think if we had stayed with 11 players we would have won the game because we were the better team.

"They didn't create chances but when we were a man short it was a little difficult."

Jonathan Spector gave them the lead after 27 minutes as he slid in his fourth goal in two months at the end of a slick move.

Piquionne then hit the post and Luis Boa Morte had a goal disallowed for offside but Everton eventually replied when Diniyar Bilyaletdinov struck with a superb half-volley on 77 minutes.

Grant said: "They showed a lot of good spirit, a lot of good football and a lot of tactical awareness. We dominated the game in the first half and could have scored more - we hit the post and another was offside.

"We created a lot of chances and after scoring the second one we were unlucky. Since the beginning of the season the players have shown a lot of commitment. I am very proud of the players."

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Topics:
Jonathan Spector
Frederic Piquionne
Football
Luis Boa Morte
Premier League
Marouane Fellaini
Everton
West Ham United
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov