West Ham United were forced to settle for a point against Palace on a damp, drab, dismal December afternoon at London Stadium.

Returning to action from midweek illness, Mohammed Kudus had got David Moyes’ men off to a flyer, putting his side ahead on 13 minutes with his sixth goal since his £38million summer move from Ajax.

But the Hammers frustratingly failed to then capitalise on their bright start and Odsonne Êdouard pounced on a disastrous defensive error by Konstantinos Mavropanos after the break to ensure this London derby date ended in a disjointed draw.

Thursday evening’s UEFA Europa League victory against FK TSC Bačka Topola had not only left West Ham topping Group A but also ensured qualification for next spring’s knockout stages, with one match to play.

A last-minute strike from on-fire Tomáš Souček had finally warmed up the in-form Hammers in shivering Serbia, where the Czech Republic international’s fifth goal in five games for club and country had also given Moyes his fifth win in six games in all competitions.

Three days on from his side’s European endeavours, the Scot made a half-dozen changes as he returned to domestic action against a Palace side kicking off in 12th spot, three places and five points below West Ham.

After missing the trip to the TSC Arena, Kudus returned alongside fit-again top scorer Jarrod Bowen, Edson Álvarez, Vladimír Coufal, Emerson and Alphonse Areola in place of Ben Johnson plus substitutes Pablo Fornals, Saïd Benrahma, Divin Mubama, Aaron Cresswell and Łukasz Fabianski, who all returned to the bench.

And with just 13 minutes on the clock, Kudus showed the cutting edge the Hammers - handed a home tie against Bristol City in the FA Cup third round before kick-off - had been so lacking on Thursday evening.

Spotting Coufal’s gallop down the right flank, James Ward-Prowse sent an inch-perfect crossfield ball into his stride from halfway and, when the Czech Republic international cut the ball back into the area, Kudus arrived bang on cue to curl a low 12-yarder inside the base of Sam Johnstone’s left-hand upright.

That was hardly the start that Palace needed having arrived at London Stadium on a poor run of form that had seen them win just one of their last six matches in a sorry sequence stretching back to the beginning of October.

Indeed, following last Saturday’s lamentable 2-1 loss at Luton Town, Roy Hodgson’s week had already been bad enough and with the news that Cheick Doucouré (Achilles) and Eberechi Eze (ankle) had sustained long-term injuries, the Selhurst Park boss made a trio of switches in his quest to see an upturn in fortune.

With Jeffrey Schlupp also absent, the beleaguered 76-year-old brought in Jordan Ayew, Will Hughes and Chris Richards and, although Édouard hooked an early eight-yarder beyond the right angle, Hodgson’s side were already chasing another game.

Certainly, the former England manager would have been relieved to see lone striker Bowen loft his hurried shot into Johnstone’s gloves under pressure from his back-tracking markers, while, at the other end, Ayew sent a 25-yarder whistling beyond Areola’s right-hand upright in a rare act of south London defiance.

After Joachim Andersen had unleashed a 20-yard free-kick that deflected inches wide off Álvarez in the Hammers wall, Ward-Prowse then became the first name into the book of referee Michael Oliver for tripping Hughes before Kudus dispatched his 18-yarder high onto the concourse, leaving his earlier pinpoint strike separating the teams at the break.

Seconds after the restart, though, Kudus did manage to get the ball into the net again, but Claret and Blue joy was shortlived by the sight of an offside flag against skipper Souček, who had wandered into Johnstone’s focus in his attempt to meet the Ghanaian’s elusive right-wing cross.

But as the opening exchanges of the second period developed, Palace were looking far livelier than they did before the interval and only Ward-Prowse’s brave diving header inside his own six-yard box prevented Édouard from nodding home.

Sadly, there was to be no textbook defending on 53 minutes when the Hammers rearguard pressed the self-destruct button.

Areola passed out to Aguerd, who duly squared to Álvarez but when the Mexican rolled the ball to Mavropanos, the Greek international’s attempted pass-back sold his keeper well short and Édouard gleefully burst forward and planted a low, angled 12-yarder in off the helplessly-exposed French stopper’s left-hand upright.

Having seen the France U21 striker bag his seventh goal of the season, Michael Olise fired a low 20-yard shot into Areola’s clutches, while in reply Emerson slid in at Johnstone’s far post but could only steer his low shot high and wide.

Mavropanos – aiming to atone for his earlier blunder – headed across the face of goal and as the clock ticked down, neither side had the quality in front of goal to snatch all three points.

Having failed to score in any of his previous 124 appearances, the in-rushing Coufal was the last man, who West Ham would have wanted to find himself just 10 yards from goal.

Unsurprisingly failing to convert, the Czech international then saw the final chance of the contest fall to nine-goal Bowen but he also missed out on the chance to take his season’s tally into double figures with a tame header that Johnstone gratefully grabbed to ensure both sides would end with a solitary point.

West Ham United: Areola, Coufal, Emerson, Mavropanos, Aguerd, Álvarez (Fornals 88), Souček, Ward-Prowse, Paquetá, Kudus, Bowen. Unused subs: Fabiański, Cresswell, Cornet, Ings, Ogbonna, Benrahma, Kehrer, Mubama.

Crystal Palace: Johnstone, Ward, Mitchell, Andersen, Guéhi, Richards, Lerma, Hughes (Riedewald 82), Olise, Ayew, Édouard (Mateta 87). Unused subs: Matthews, Whitworth, Tomkins, França, Clyne, Ebiowei, Ahamada.

Booked: Ward-Prowse (36), Coufal (79).

Referee: Michael Oliver.