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Premier League

  • 5 December 2010
  • • 16:00
  • • Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • Referee: M. Atkinson
  • • Attendance: 36940

Sunderland 1-0 West Ham: Henderson strike stalls Hammers’ revival as visitors slip to bottom spot

Sunderland 1-0 West Ham: Henderson strike stalls Hammers’ revival as visitors slip to bottom spot

Black Cats move into seventh in Premier League thanks to first-half goal

Jordan Henderson's first half strike claimed all three points for his Sunderland side as West Ham United fell back to the bottom of the table after their 1-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce started his big three, strikers Danny Welbeck, Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan. However, he didn’t require any of them to score as Henderson’s early goal claimed all three points for the Black Cats to lift them into seventh place and halt the visitor's recent revival.

The home side started the brightest as they looked to move about, passing the ball forward from the back and looking to get in behind the West Ham back four, who had already conceded 24 goals in the league prior to this fixture.

During the first ten minutes the usual suspects for both sides, Luis Boa Morte and Lee Cattermole found themselves in referee Martin Atkinson’s notebook.

The West Ham winger committed a dangerous two-footed challenge on Kieran Richardson before Sunderland midfielder Cattermole was cautioned after catching Boa Morte from behind, just outside the Black Cats penalty area.

The first real chance of the game came after quarter of an hour, when Cattermole claimed the ball in the middle of the park before unleashing a strike from just outside the box that Hammers 'keeper Robert Green claimed comfortably.

Five minutes later it was the turn of the visitors to have their first shot on target. Victor Obinna hit a free kick from the edge of the penalty area but Sunderland 'keeper Craig Gordon was up to the challenge as he knocked the ball down and collected it before a West Ham player could arrive.

After that chance, the home side went right up the other end of the pitch with Henderson racing down the right hand side before playing a cross towards Asamoah Gyan. However, the Ghanaian striker could not connect with the ball, which allowed Tal Ben Haim to head over for a corner.

Moments later, West Ham should have taken the lead when John Mensah made a mistake on the right hand touchline which allowed Carlton Cole to race in on goal. Unfortunately for the striker, Anton Ferdinand made his way over and managed to clear the ball before Cole had the chance to test Gordon.

With just over ten minutes left in the first half, Sunderland went a goal up. Gyan broke the Hammers' offside trap and sped down the right wing before passing the ball to the on-rushing Henderson, who smacked the ball home from near to the penalty spot to give Steve Bruce’s side a well-deserved lead.

That helped spark the crowd and the team into further life, and their lead could have been doubled when Gyan spotted Green off his line and proceeded to chip the West Ham 'keeper, but the bar came to the England international’s rescue.

From then on Sunderland continued to pepper the Hammers' defence, with both Richardson and Cattermole having chances to extend the home side’s lead. However, just before the half-time whistle West Ham's Jonathan Spector gained the ball in the middle of the park, before making his way forward and striking just past Gordon’s right hand post.

Burst bubble | Carlton Cole and Scott Parker contemplate their defeat

Avram Grant’s side came out for the second half much-improved as Scott Parker started to control the midfield. Their new-found confidence nearly saw them level less than five minutes into the second half, as Carlton Cole unleashed a strike from the edge of the area that went just wide of Gordon’s post.

That created some nerves amongst the home fans, which translated its way onto the pitch. Every time Sunderland lost the ball, there were large groans from the Black Cats supporters in the stands as the imoressive passing that had seen Steve Bruce’s side take a first half lead, disappeared after the break.

On the hour mark the visitors had a strong case for a penalty as Kieron Dyer went down just inside the box, but referee Atkinson waved away the protests of the former Newcastle midfielder.

Sunderland eventually started to gain a foothold in the second half, with Richardson taking strike from just outside the area that Green had to be alert to, in order to keep his side in the game.

Green was once again called into action minutes later, as a mistake by Parker allowed the home side to break. However, Gyan's strike from the left hand side was dealt with by the England international.

With a quarter of an hour left in the game, Bruce decided to tighten things up as he took the ineffective Bent off and replaced him with midfielder Steed Malbranque.

There was nearly a comical moment for West Ham as Parker attempted to clear the ball inside his own box, but all he could do was hit it towards Green’s goal with the Hammers 'keeper doing well to palm the ball over for a corner.

With just over five minutes left, Sunderland should have sealed all three points as Gyan chipped the ball into the path of Richardson who challenged with Green for the ball. The referee did not award a free kick to the 'keeper and allowed Welbeck to progress with the ball, but the on-loan Manchester United youngster couldn’t finish as James Tomkins managed to clear for a corner.

Sunderland managed to see out the remaining minutes of the match in order to gain all three points and move to seventh in the Premier League table.

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