The England striker scored as the Hammers ground out a narrow victory over the relegation-threatened Black Cats at the Stadium of Light on Monday night
The England striker scored a first-half header before Mohamed Diame sealed victory with a deflected strike in the 50th minute.
A fine Adam Johnson goal stirred hope of a comeback for the home fans but Sam Allardyce's men stood firm in the face of a late surge from Gus Poyet's men, whose relegation woes deepen.
|VIEW FROM THE STADIUM OF LIGHT
|By Harry Slavin
It looks a long way back for Gus Poyet’s side now after its latest home defeat at the hands of Sam Allardyce’s West Ham.
It just had to be a former Newcastle man in Andy Carroll that looks to have sealed the Black Cats' fate, and even though there are still eight games to play, there was an air of resignation around the Stadium of Light at the full-time whistle.
The Hammers on the other hand look to be safe for another season and despite the feud between the manager and a small minority of fans, Big Sam will certainly be leaving the northeast with a big grin on his face this evening.
That West Ham's triumph was masterminded by manager Sam Allardyce and greatly influenced by striker Carroll, both former employees of Sunderland's archrival Newcastle United, added further misery for the home side following a lackluster performance.
The pair's efforts may mean Newcastle is the only club from the northeast of England in the Premier League next season, with Carroll's header giving West Ham the lead inside the first 10 minutes.
And Diame's deflected strike just after the break ensured Sunderland remains 19th in the table, four points adrift of safety, despite Johnson's 65th-minute effort.
Sunderland has at least one game in hand on all of its relegation rivals, but with Tottenham, Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea – all in the top six – awaiting Gus Poyet's men in their next four matches, the Wearside outfit faces an uphill battle to remain in the top flight.
West Ham, which has won six of its last nine Premier League fixtures, is 11 points adrift of the bottom three.
Carroll – who was booed immediately due to his St James' Park connections - gave West Ham the lead in the ninth minute with a trademark header, rising above John O'Shea to nod in Mark Noble's corner at the back post.
The sloppy manner in which Sunderland conceded will have infuriated Poyet and his mood will not have brightened when Lee Cattermole spurned two chances to quickly level proceedings from close range, first shooting at Adrian before blazing over.
Carroll headed a George McCartney cross at Vito Mannone, while at the other end, Sunderland felt aggrieved not to win a penalty after Kevin Nolan clearly knocked the ball away with an elbow.
West Ham compounded its woes five minutes after the interval when Diame shot past Mannone.
Just like the opener, the goal was basic but effective, as Carroll chested a long punt down into the path of Diame, and the midfielder met the ball on the edge of the area, firing into the back of the net via Santiago Vergini's deflection.
West Ham should have wrapped up the game on the hour mark, when Stewart Downing was sent through on goal, but Mannone superbly tipped wide, and his excellence allowed Sunderland a lifeline – one taken by Johnson.
The winger, who surprisingly started from the bench despite being Sunderland's top league scorer, netted his eighth Premier League goal of the campaign when he fired into the top-left corner with a fizzing 20-yard effort.
The goal buoyed Sunderland, which ramped up the pressure as Adrian produced a double save to keep out Ki Sung-Yueng and Connor Wickham, while Fabio Borini fired into the side netting.
West Ham was able to stem Sunderland's flow, though, and although the hosts rallied late, Ignacio Scocco's wasted header was the closest they got to a dramatic leveler.