And when Cheikhou Kouyate got his marching orders soon afterwards for a tackle on Dwight Gayle that probably looked worse than it was the game was literally turned on its head.
It proved the signal for Palace to put their feet on the gas, West Ham wobbled, and Gayle was the force that got them level with just 15 minutes to go.
The striker manager Alan Pardew only seems to turn to in a crisis picked his spot with a cracking equaliser that his side deserved for what could turn out to be a crucial second half comeback.
Wes Ham: Adrian 7; Antonio 6, Reid 6, Ogbonna 6, Cresswell 6; Noble 7 (Obiang 80), Kouyate 6; Eminike 5 (Carroll 60 7), Lanzini 6, Payet 8; Sakho (Valencia 68 6).
Crystal Palace: Hennessey 6; Ward 5, Dann 5,Delaney 6,Souare 6; Ledley 5 (Campbell 70), Jedinak 5; Puncheon 5, Bolassie 6, Saha 5 (Gayle 45) 8; Sako 6.
Star Man: Dwight Gayle – simply for a goal that could be priceless for Palace.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg