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Premier League

  • March 21, 2015
  • • 1:30 PM
  • • Boleyn Ground, London
  • Referee: L. Mason
  • • Attendance: 34914

West Ham 1-0 Sunderland: Sakho spoils Advocaat bow

The first game of Dick Advocaat's Sunderland tenure ended in defeat, as his men fell victim to a late winner at Upton Park on Saturday.

Dick Advocaat's reign as Sunderland boss got off to an underwhelming start, as Diafra Sakho's late winner gave West Ham a 1-0 victory in a game that saw Adam Johnson make a first appearance since his arrest.

Former Netherlands boss Advocaat was appointed as Sunderland's head coach on Tuesday, following Gus Poyet's departure a day earlier, but saw his Premier League debut end in disappointment at Upton Park.

Sakho made the most of slack Sunderland defending in the final minute of normal time on Saturday after the visiting side looked to have seen the game out for a draw.

Despite improvements at the back from its 4-0 hammering against Aston Villa last week, Sunderland saw Jermain Defoe waste its best first-half opportunity, while chances were infrequent after the interval.

Advocaat then opted to introduce Johnson after his club suspension was lifted following an arrest on suspicion of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.

The winger failed to inspire his side and it was Sakho who had the final say, extending Sunderland's winless league run to seven matches on a day when fellow strugglers Burnley, Leicester City and Aston Villa were all beaten. 

Connor Wickham was the first to threaten for Sunderland as he volleyed at Adrian, although Advocaat was then dealt an early blow with the departure of Wes Brown.

The center back appeared to hurt his knee when defending a set piece and, after he was replaced by Santiago Vergini, Defoe spurned a glorious opportunity against his former club.

Clean through on goal following Steven Fletcher's flick-on, Defoe blazed high and wide before Costel Pantilimon was required to keep out strikes from Kevin Nolan and Alex Song either side of the half-hour mark.

Sakho headed wide of Pantilimon's right-hand post early in the second half, but a lack of quality on show from both sides made for a poor spectacle.

Following Johnson's introduction, Sunderland looked livelier - Patrick van Aanholt testing Adrian from distance - although the winger almost gave away a penalty when he appeared to handle Mark Noble's cross.

Allardyce's side ultimately picked up its first league win since mid-January when Sakho latched on to Noble's header, steering a shot into the far corner to give Advocaat plenty to mull over as he seeks to keep the club in the division.