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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
January 12, 2013
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: N. Swarbrick
• Attendance: 39918
S. Larsson 12'
A. Johnson 48'
J. McClean 74'
West Ham United
Thanks for staying with me today for Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Sunderland v West Ham. I'll see you all next time!
That's the full-time whistle and really, that was absolutely routine for Sunderland. West Ham were so poor it beggars belief really and Sam Allardyce will not be happy at all. As for Sunderland, they were superb and in Stephane Sessegnon, they had the game's stand-out performer. The Black Cats move up to 15th in the Premier League table, six points clear of safety. West Ham stay 11th.
90' + 2'
Joe Cole's just sent an attempted cross straight out of play and that should be that here in the North East.
Nolan has just spurned West Ham's best chance of the afternoon. He collects Vaz Te's cross well enough but curls his finish just past the post. Three minutes of stoppage time here at a rapidly emptying Stadium of Light - everything will seem rosy in the Martin O'Neill garden tonight.
Sessegnon is going off to be replaced by James McFadden. The man from Benin has been outstanding today and certainly deserved a goal. He'll have to make do with two assists though.
Winston Reid has just summed up West Ham's day. The defender advances into midfield and has a simple ball to play in order to find Matt Jarvis. However, the New Zealand international passes it straight out of play. One to forget for everybody concerned with West Ham, this match.
Sunderland hand a debut to midfielder Alfred N'Daiye and he nearly caps it with a goal after latching onto some good link-up play from Wickham. However, the recent signing from Bursaspor drags his shot wide of the post.
The Hammers have just forced another good save from the Sunderland keeper, who is clearly desperate to hold onto his clean sheet. A Vaz Te cross isn't properly dealt with by the Mackems' back-line and eventually falls to James Tomkins, who takes a touch and hammers a shot that is pushed away by Mignolet.
Is that West Ham's first shot on target? A Jarvis cross falls to Vaz Te but his close range shot from the angle is blocked away by Mignolet, who has had next to nothing to do today.
This game is done and dusted. Sunderland will be moving to within one point of their opponents and firmly away from the relegation zone. As for West Ham, their worrying form continues.
Connor Wickham is coming on for Sunderland now, who have easily produced one of their best performances of the season so far today. West Ham have been poor to say the least but we shouldn't take away from the home side's dominance. They have been classically Martin O'Neill today.
Assist Stéphane Sessegnon
Goal James McClean
GOAL! 3-0! It's definitely game over now as James McClean has ensured the three points will be going to Sunderland. Adam Johnson tears away from his marker and slips the ball inside for Sessegnon, who quite frankly makes Daniel Potts look foolish by jinking inside him (the Hammers defender falling over in the process), and scuffing a shot that falls to McClean to tuck away into an unguarded net.
Is it just me, or has Matt Jarvis been an extremely underwhelming signing for West Ham? They paid a ridiculous amount of money for him and I can't recall him having a major impact on any Premier League game so far.
Yellow Card Winston Reid
Having said that, West Ham are hardly putting the home side under a serious amount of pressure. It really has been a strangely subdued performance from the Hammers.
Chamakh attempts to control a threaded pass from Joe Cole only to let the ball run underneath his feet. Sunderland have taken a back seat in the last 10 minutes or so. They need to be careful, West Ham are the kind of side who can score at any moment. They still look more than comfortable though.
West Ham being a threat at last! First a corner finds Matt Jarvis who produces a snap shot that is deflected wide. Then from the second corner, Chamakh flicks it on and Alou Diarra suddenly finds himself with the freedom of the six-yard box, only to take too long to get his shot away before it's blocked.
Sam Allardyce can't be pleased at all with his team's showing today. His teams have always shown hunger and determination as a prerequisite but today, West Ham have been toothless in almost every area and could easily be more than 2-0 down. Sunderland haven't even had to play too well for their lead.
Yellow Card James Tomkins
Sunderland go oh so close to a third goal and unsurprisingly it's Sessegnon at the heart of things once again. The man from Benin runs at the West Ham defence with menace and picks a ball through into the onrushing Jack Colback, whose shot is well saved before his follow-up attempt strikes the bar. Sunderland going for the kill here.
West Ham have failed to even muster a shot since going 2-0 down. Could we see a debut for Marouane Chamakh? As I write that, the on-loan Arsenal man is readying himself to make his bow.
Yellow Card Alou Diarra
Sessegnon has been superb today. West Ham just haven't been able to handle his pace and movement and he's just created another opening for his side, this time for Jack Colback from left-back but his drilled cross is cleared by Winston Reid.
Potts has not had the best couple of minutes here. After his diabolical "defending" for the second goal, he's now run the ball out of play when on the attack. It's harsh on the young lad but he's really struggling out there at the moment. Sunderland are buoyant.
Goal Adam Johnson
GOAL!! 2-0 Sunderland! That's a horror show from West Ham at the back. A Hammers corner is cleared and on the counter, Sessegnon threads a ball through to a free and onrushing James McClean. His drilled shot is well saved and props up for Potts to clear, only for the young defender to dilly and dally and the ball eventually falls for Adam Johnson to stab home for the second goal.
Ricardo Vaz Te
We're back underway here and West Ham have made an attacking change. Ricardo Vaz Te has come on for the disappointing Jack Collison. It remains to be seen whether he will join Carlton Cole up front or move into a wider position.
We're not far away from the second half now. Can West Ham work their way back into it?
Sessegnon has been a real handful today. He looks the most inventive player on the pitch and has caused West Ham all sorts of problems whenever he's had the ball at his feet. From the bench, the Hammers can call upon a myriad of options with Gary O'Neil, Mohamed Diame, Matthew Taylor, Ricardo Vaz Te and Marouane Chamakh to choose from.
It's half-time here and you have to say that Sunderland thoroughly deserve their lead. Larsson's goal was an absolute beauty and really, with a bit more precision, it could have been more. West Ham have a tough job turning this around in the second half.
45' + 1'
A good cross from McClean sees Fletcher strain every sinew in his neck to reach for a header that drops wide. It wouldn't have counted anyway though as he was adjudged to be offside.
Sunderland threaten again. This time Johnson cuts in as is his trademark and produces a shot that is well blocked yet again by Reid. Two minutes of stoppage time here, Sam Allardyce will need to have a stern word with his team at half-time.
The home side seem to be pushing for a second goal now as James McClean drills a cross-cum-shot that is easily gathered by Jaaskelainen.
Sunderland think they've gone oh so close to scoring a second when Titus Bramble somehow contrives to poke a bending Adam Johnson free kick wide. However, the former Newcastle and Wigan defender was offside in the process.
Poor football all round from both teams. They both seem to be prioritising the long ball more than anything else and it's contributing to a rather dour affair. Sunderland look happy to take the 1-0 into half-time while West Ham aren't particularly battering the door down at the moment.
First sight of the half for Carlton Cole, who anticipates a clearance better than John O'Shea and runs in on goal, preparing to pull the trigger only for the linesman to pull him up for offside. 10 minutes until half-time now and Sunderland are comfortable once again.
Kevin Nolan really isn't the most popular man at the Stadium of Light today. He's just given away a foul which brought a cheer as loud as the Larsson goal. It's going from bad to worse for the Hammers, who now have James Collins asking to be taken off with a pulled hamstring. James Tomkins is set to replace him.
Nearly brilliant from Sunderland. McClean charges forward and threads a ball through to Fletcher who produces a delightful backheel that looks set to find the feet of Larsson only for Winston Reid, West Ham's most impressive performer so far, to step in and clear.
We've reached a bit of a lull in terms of goalmouth action. It's gone a tad bitty with lots of fouls being conceded by both teams. Sunderland have just retreated somewhat however and are allowing West Ham to come onto them. Could be a risky strategy, that.
Chances at both ends. First Joe Cole has his first real touch of the ball and curls in a superb cross that is brilliantly cleared from Bramble ahead of Carlton Cole. From the resulting counterattack, Sessegnon skips past Collins not for the first time today but drags his shot wide of the post.
If West Ham are going to recover today, you'd think that Joe Cole would be crucial to their efforts. However, the returning hero has barely had a touch so far amidst the frenetic pace.
Suddenly it's West Ham that are making all the running. Another Collison set piece this time finds the right area only for Kevin Nolan to just run out of legs and time before Mignolet closes in on the ball. Allardyce will certainly be pleased with how his team is playing at the moment.
First real chance for West Ham! A good cross from Guy Demel is missed by O'Shea. Collison collects it but can't quite get his shot away quick enough. The ball is cleared and falls to Matt Jarvis, who produces a snap-shot that brings a sharp save out of Mignolet. Better from the visitors.
Jack Collison has just given an indication of just how bad the Hammers have been today. A free kick around 35 yards out, perfect opportunity for Sam Allardyce's side to load the box. Instead, the Welsh midfielder swings the ball out of play. It's been staggeringly poor from the away side so far.
West Ham have mustered a bit of possession in response but really Sunderland look in total control. There is an air of confidence about the Black Cats' play today and Larsson's goal will surely add to that. West Ham haven't got started.
Goal Sebastian Larsson
GOAL!! 1-0 to Sunderland! What a strike from Seb Larsson! Sunderland have been the better side so far and now they have the proof. A poor clearance from Winston Reid reaches Larsson just outside the D, the Swede takes one touch to set himself and lashes a left-footed half-volley that swings into the top corner behind Jaskelainen. That's his first goal of the season and what a way to get it, absolutely superb from the former Arsenal man.
Again it's the home side coming forward and this time it's Fletcher who tricks his way past Diarra and fires in a shot that is blocked by Collins. West Ham are looking decidedly shaky here. Sunderland look revved up for this.
Sessegnon is really proving to be a thorn for West Ham. He keeps on finding little pockets of space in between the midfield and defence and when he gets on the run with the ball, he can be difficult to stop. The visitors must keep a close eye on him today.
First bit of magic from Sessegnon who feints and tricks his way past James Collins before digging out a good cross that Adam Johnson can only volley into Daniel Potts, from the deflection, David Vaughan strikes wide. Encouraging start here for the home side, who are causing West Ham real problems down the flanks.
Not the most enthralling starts here in the North East. Both teams trading possession scrappily for now.
West Ham kick us off.
The teams are out now and warming up, should be kicking off soon!
This from our man Andrew Kennedy at the Stadium of Light: The earlier bite the cold weather had over the Stadium of Light has subsided, and as the crowd gradually fills the atmosphere is starting to build. Home supporters will be at a loss as what to expect with the Black Cats form erratic at best of late. For the travelling Hammers, they will be hoping to enjoy a second successive win in the north east this season and also a return to the form which has evaded them in recent months.
Just under 10 minutes to go until kick-off. I'm looking forward to seeing Joe Cole today. I don't think I've actually seen him on a football pitch since he scored THAT goal for England against Sweden at the 2006 World Cup. In all seriousness, if Messi had scored that we'd still be talking about it now. Cole apparently got two assists last week against Robin Van Persie, sorry I meant Manchester United. For Sunderland, I'm interested to see if James McClean has progressed from what seems to be his default tactic of pushing the ball past the full-back and running very fast.
A win for Sunderland today would lift them to within a point of their visitors, who have been on a poor run of late. Martin O'Neill's men have only won three times at home this season. Neither of these teams score a lot of goals either....all the hallmarks of a classic so far!
So for Sunderland, Titus Bramble *shudder* and David Vaughan come in for Matt Kilgallon and Danny Rose, with Jack Colback moving to left-back. As for West Ham, Sam Allardyce has brought in Danny Potts at left-back, as well as Alou Diarra who makes his first Premier League start for the club. Recent loan-signing from Arsenal Marouane Chamakh is on the bench.
Straight into the team news: Sunderland starting XI: Mignolet; Gardner, O'Shea, Bramble, Colback; Larsson, Vaughan, McClean, Johnson; Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs: Westwood, Kilgallon, Wickham, Campbell, N'Daiye, Bardsley, McFadden. West Ham starting XI: Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Reid, Potts; Diarra, Collison, Nolan, Jarvis; J.Cole, C.Cole. Subs: Spiegel, Tomkins, O'Neil, Diame, Taylor, Vaz Te, Chamakh.
Hello there and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Sunderland v West Ham. I'm Adam Mazrani and on this frighteningly cold Saturday afternoon, you'll have to deal with me for the next couple of hours or so.
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