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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
March 31, 2014
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 37396
A. Johnson 65'
West Ham United
A. Carroll 9'
M. Diamé 50'
Thank you for joining me today. I hope you have enjoyed the match. I have been Ryan Benson; farewell.
90' + 6'
FULL-TIME! And that is that! West Ham hold on to the three points to all but secure their status as a Premier League club for another year. Goals from Carroll and Diame were enough on the day, with Johnson's lovely finish proving to be nothing more than a consolation in the end. The hosts were unlucky not to be given a penalty after handball by Nolan in the first half, but ultimately West Ham just about held on. Sunderland remain in the drop zone as their chances of survival take another hit.
90' + 3'
Amid all that drama, Adrian has been booked for timewasting and the officials announced there will be a total of five minutes of stoppage time.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Adrián
90' + 2'
Good chance for Scocco! Alonso's left-wing cross is drilled into the centre and the Argentine strike gets a powerful header to it, but it flies over the goal. That's a let-off for West Ham.
90' + 1'
West Ham clear the corner, but only as far as Bridcutt, who hooks it back into the penalty area. The Hammers get it away again, but Sunderland get a throw-in.
90' + 1'
Sunderland have another corner and back comes Mannone!
Well, not from that corner they can't. Sunderland play the set-piece short and eventually Bridcutt finds space to clip a cross to the back post, but his delivery goes just over the crossbar.
Corner for Sunderland and even Mannone has joined the attack. Intense scenes here right at the death! Can Sunderland snatch a late point?
Yellow Card Winston Reid
Yellow card for Reid and he appears to have injured himself in the process of acquiring it. The defender cynically clattered Gardner and seems to have hurt his knee.
West Ham clear from the corner, but the ball only drops as far as Alonso, who runs on to the loose ball and belts towards goal 30 yards out. His effort goes just over, however.
Important interception by Taylor! Johnson did brilliantly to create space for himself on the edge of the area, twisting and turning his way past a defender before chipping a cross to the back post, but Taylor was there to head over for a corner before Bardsley could connect with it.
Here is West Ham's final change of the match; Nocerino coming on for Nolan, who was lucky not to concede a penalty in the first half.
Former Newcastle man Carroll sniffs out a half-chance for West Ham as he receives the ball following a good run by Taylor, but he blazes over the bar under pressure from Vergini.
Carroll continues to pose a threat despite West Ham's seeming reluctance to attack. Two free-kicks in quick-succession he has brought down in the penalty area, but neither time as he been able to retain possession.
Both sides have made another change. Roger Johnson replaces Diame for West Ham as they look to shore themselves up at the back, while Ignacio Scocco comes on Ki as Sunderland chase a result.
Tentative penalty claims for Sunderland as Bardsley goes to ground at the back post while trying to meet Wickham's left-wing cross, but Webb ignores the muted protests, and rightly so.
After what looked set to be a comfortable win once they went 2-0 up, West Ham are hanging on a bit here. Sunderland are the only team who look like scoring at the moment and Allardyce's men are struggling to keep them at bay.
Yellow Card Connor Wickham
Noble receives all sorts of abuse as he casually wonders over to take the corner. He eventually gets his delivery into the area, but play is soon stopped again as Carroll is penalised.
Important block by Vergini there! Downing's cross goes through to the back post and Carroll meets it with a volley, but luckily for Mannone, the defender is there to direct it behind for a corner.
Alonso now finds himself in the book for a cynical block on Downing inside the Hammers' half. He can have no complaints about that.
Yellow Card Marcos Alonso
This is all Sunderland now. Alonso is the latest to have a half-chance as he just about managed to get a header away following Johnson's cross, but Adrian deals with it easily.
The Sunderland fans think they've scored... but they haven't! Borini charges on to Wickham's pass behind the West Ham defence and, under pressure from Demel, he rifles a shot into the sidenetting. Half the stadium was celebrating that!
Huge chance for Sunderland! Ki tries his luck from 25 yards, giving Adrian something to think about as they shot bounced right in front of him. The Spaniard could not hold on to the ball and Wickham pounced on the spill, but the goalkeeper made an excellent save second time around, denying the English forward from point-blank range.
Sunderland appear to have a new lease of life after that goal. Those two substitutions have made a real difference in attack, but will they end up looking compromised at the back?
Yellow Card Kevin Nolan
Assist Craig Gardner
Goal Adam Johnson
GOAL!!! Sunderland pull one back! Two substitutes combine as Gardner plays a clever pass into the area for Johnson, and the former Manchester City man produces an excellent finish into the far side of the goal. They are back in this and with 25 minutes to go, this could get uncomfortable for West Ham!
Vergini has endured a difficult start to life in the Premier League and today has been no different. This time he plays the ball straight to Diame, who subsequently bursts into the hosts' half, but the young defender makes amends with a good tackle.
What a save by Mannone! Downing latches on to a pass beyond the Sunderland defence and races through on goal, but the Italian goalkeeper tips his low shot around the post. Luckily for Sunderland, Webb failed to acknowledge the save and they get a goal-kick.
Sunderland make another change as captain O'Shea is replaced by Craig Gardner, as they look to really take charge in midfield.
Quick thinking by West Ham as they catch Sunderland off-guard with a short free-kick. Downing is released down the right, but his cross is overhit.
Poyet's men are doing well to put West Ham under the cosh, but they still just cannot find a way past their rigid back line. Ki does his best on this occasion, attacking down the left before crossing, but Adrian catches unchallenged.
Sunderland clear the corner, but they are almost the architects of their own downfall when Alonso's deflected shot ends up back in the danger zone. The ball loops up towards the top-right corner and although Adrian looks set to catch it, Carroll tries to head the ball clear. He misses, but then on his way down he accidentally kicks the ball out of his keeper's hands. Luckily for him, however, Adrian quickly pounces once again.
Johnson has got off to a lively start and he picks out an excellent pass between Armero and Reid for Bardsley and Sunderland knock the resulting cross behind for a corner.
Sunderland make their first change of the match as Adam Johnson comes off the bench for Cattermole.
Another decent effort from Sunderland as Alonso jolts on to a loose ball about 20 yards from the West Ham goal, but he sends a half-volley wide of the right-hand post by a few yards.
Good opportunity for an instant reply at the other end as Bridcutt's cross from deep picks out the run of Bardsley, but he tries to bring it down instead of heading first-time and his first-touch sees the ball go straight out of play.
Assist Andy Carroll
Goal Mohamed Diame
GOAL!!! West Ham double their lead! Tomkins' free-kick from inside his own half is well held-up by Carroll, who knocks the ball back to the edge of the area and Diame sees his half-volley deflected past Mannone by Vergini.
Good footwork from Downing as he cleverly darts past Alonso on the right wing before firing a cross into the area with his right foot. Mannone is able to pluck it out of the air, however, with Nolan the only West Ham player in the vicinity.
Encouraging start to this second half by Sunderland. Wickham cuts across the area and sees his shot blocked. The 21-year-old collects the rebound and gets another effort away, this time narrowly missing the far post.
There was one change at the break, with Colombia international Pablo Armero replacing George McCartney at left-back.
West Ham get us back underway for the second half.
HALF-TIME! Webb's half-time whistle is met by boos and jeers from the Sunderland fans, who clearly aren't happy with their team's display. West Ham take a slender 1-0 win into the break thanks to Carroll's ninth-minute header and although the hosts should have been given a penalty for handball by Nolan, they have seriously struggled to break their opponents down. Will they have more luck in the second half? Stay tuned to find out!
There will be one extra minute at the end of this first half.
West Ham win a throw-in in the attacking-third, but they are not interested in taking it quickly. The home fans direct vast boos and whistles at Demel as he takes his time.
This latest corner isn't quite so threatening and West Ham clear the ball before launching an attack down the right. This move appears to be about getting some respite as much as anything else.
Poyet's men continue to enjoy some late pressure in this first half as they search for an equaliser. Ki pops up on the right this time and crosses into the centre, but Noble deflects it behind for a corner.
Penalty claims turned down! Nolan and O'Shea clash just inside the area and the West Ham midfielder clearly knocks the ball away with his elbow, but referee Howard Webb completely misses it. The Sunderland captain is fuming.
Sunderland get themselves a corner as Noble holds off Ki and puts the ball behind. Judging by their failures from open-play, set-pieces will be the hosts' best chance of getting back into this.
Good chance for Carroll! McCartney crosses from a relatively deep position on the left and the England striker rises above Brown to get a header away, but this time Mannone is able to hold on to the ball.
Sunderland's latest shot is a bit of a let-off for West Ham and Adrian, as Bridcutt lines himself up for a curling effort about 30 yards from goal and it sails well over.
West Ham are squirming in defence as Sunderland push them back into their own area, but the Hammers escape unscathed as Cattermole's shot from the edge of the box is blocked and then the ball is cleared.
Silly foul by Cattermole, surprise, surprise. The midfielder produces a fairly clumsy challenge from behind on Noble and the pair almost contest an angry clash afterwards, but the Sunderland man calms things down and he manages to escape a booking.
The good spell of Sunderland pressure ends with something of an anti-climax. Vergini is given vast space about 35 yards from goal and he opts to shoot. His effort, however, suggests he shouldn't have bothered as it flies well wide.
The second corner isn't quite as good and West Ham clear with relative ease, but the visitors' clearance is not great and Sunderland remain on the front foot. Can they make the most of this pressure by equalising, though?
They nearly do! The corner delivery is excellent and Bardsley meets it with a header, but the ball is deflected behind for another corner.
Alonso does well again down the left and he wins the hosts a corner. They conceded from one; can they respond with this?
Very nearly a great chance for Sunderland. Wickham looks set to latch on to a lofted pass over the West Ham defence, but his vision seemingly betrays him as he completely misses the ball when trying to bring it down.
A few Sunderland players clearly feel they are entitled to a corner as Vergini shows good determination to charge down a loose ball to the right of the West Ham area, but the defender appears to get the last touch following Reid's clearance.
The visitors are really working the ball well at times here. This time they switch the play from right-to-left with just a couple of passes. Eventually, Diame cuts in from the left and shoots from distance, but his tame effort is easy for Mannone.
Good move and a decent chance for West Ham. Downing and Nolan link well on the right and although they lose possession, it is quickly won back. In the end Noble lays a pass off for Taylor to his first-time, but his shot on the stretch goes agonisingly wide of the left-hand post.
Sunderland win themselves a throw-in in an advanced position on the right, but after Wickham feeds Cattermole, the midfield gives away a goal-kick while trying to play Bardsley into a dangerous area.
That goal really seems to have dampened the spirit of the home fans, somewhat unsurprisingly. The Stadium of Light was in good voice in the first few minutes, but you can hear a pin drop now.
Good play by West Ham once again. Downing is the latest to threaten as he runs at Alonso. The wingers cuts back inside on to his left foot and crosses, but it sails all the way through the area and narrowly wide of the back post.
What a chance to equalise!! Ki surges into the area with an excellent drive and his low cross is flicked to the back post by Borini, but Cattermole hits straight at Adrian, despite being in acres of space. Huge opportunity wasted.
What a massive blow that is for Sunderland. The home side had enjoyed a good start in from of their own fans, but they find themselves behind as their bid to avoid relegation receives a big dent.
Corner for West Ham now as Sunderland partially clear a cross behind their goal. This is a good chance for West Ham, with the Londoners certainly not lacking tall players.
Goal Andy Carroll
GOAL!!! West Ham take the lead at the Stadium of Light! The corner is whipped in from the left-hand side and Andy Carroll rises above everyone else to produce a powerful header which finds the back of the net, despite Mannone's best efforts.
Assist Mark Noble
Good, patient build-up by Sunderland as they string together a decent passage of passes inside the West Ham half. Eventually Cattermole tries to pick out a positive pass into the area for Alonso, but his effort is a little too heavy.
Noble's delivery appears to be aimed towards Carroll in the penalty area, but Sunderland deal with is fairly easy and they are soon back on the attack down the left flank with Alonso.
Free-kick for West Ham now as Ki gives Nolan a kick on the arm just inside the hosts' half. Sam Allardyce's men aren't shy about getting plenty of players forward for this.
Yellow Card Mark Noble
Lively start by Bardsley. He is played down the right wing again and after collecting the bouncing ball, he skillfully slices a half-volley across the face of goal and narrowly wide of the far post. Excellent technique, but he would have been better served crossing into the danger area.
Encouraging move from the hosts. Cattermole does well to hold his man off before releasing Bardsley down the right. The full-back's cross is excellent, but Reid gets an important block on it.
Off we go; Sunderland start the action, kicking from left-to-right.
The players are now out on the pitch at the Stadium of Light. Kick-off is just a few moments away.
West Ham have emerged victorious from just one of their last six matches against Sunderland, with that win coming in the League Cup in 2009.
West Ham, meanwhile, are currently on 34 points and a triumph today will take them on to the magic number of 37 - the points total which, on average, sees teams avoid relegation.
The Sunderland players will need to reminder of how important this match could well be in their bid to avoid relegation. With 29 matches played, Gus Poyet's men sit in 19th place on 25 points. West Brom sit four points above them out of the drop zone, meaning a victory will give them a massive boost.
And the visitors' subs are: Jaaskelainen, Jarvis, Armero, J.Cole, C.Cole, Johnson, Nocerino.
West Ham's line-up is: Adrian; Demel, Tomkins, Reid, McCartney; Noble, Nolan, Taylor; Diame, Carroll, Downing.
Sunderland subs: Gardner, Johnson, Colback, Altidore, Cuellar, Scocco, Ustari.
First of all, the teams. Sunderland's starting XI is: Mannone; Bardsley, Brown, O'Shea (c), Vergini, Alonso; Ki, Bridcutt, Cattermole; Borini, Wickham.
Hello and welcome to the LIVE text commentary of the Premier League meeting between Sunderland and West Ham United. The Stadium of Light is today's setting and I - Ryan Benson - will be describing the action for you.
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