Charlie Adam fired Stoke ahead at Selhurst Park, but Gayle responded immediately after the interval before striking the winner with a delightful 25-yard free-kick in the second period.
“Gayle has had a funny season because injuries and our form in the first half of the season has really limited his time,” said boss Alan Pardew.
“Then we had a little problem with him because obviously he isn’t getting the game time. Is he going to stay? Is he going to go? Me and Steve Parish were talking to him about a new deal and in the end we managed to do that. We secured him and the reason we secured him is because he scores goals.
“Those two goals were massively important — they were both great strikes — and he has put himself in contention of course for Wembley.”
Mark Noble has called on West Ham to “put things right” when they face Manchester United in the final game at Upton Park tomorrow night. The Hammers’ penultimate home match before their move to the Olympic Stadium did not go to plan, with a 4-1 defeat by Swansea all but ending any hopes of qualifying for the Champions League. Yet with his side still on course for a Europa League spot, skipper Noble called for some perspective. “I’m not going to dwell on it because we’ve been fantastic this year. Let’s not get too disappointed because we’ve got two big games to go and we obviously need to do better.
“All I’d say is that we know it’s a bad result. I’ve played in every game this year and we’ve done fantastic and we need to get back to winning ways on Tuesday.”
West Brom drew 1-1 at Bournemouth with Baggies manager Tony Pulis vowing to make 17-year-old Jonathan Leko a star. “He’s got a couple of solid pros in that group who will keep him right if he steps out of line.”