West Ham grab late, late winner to sink Sunderland
PUBLISHED: 17:13 22 October 2016 | UPDATED: 17:13 22 October 2016
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The Hammers left it late before Winston Reid thumped in the injury-time decider at the London Stadium
West Ham United 1 Sunderland 0
The Hammers simply could not have left it any later to send the heartbroken Black Cats scampering away from the London Stadium with their tails between their legs.
Winston Reid’s superb stoppage-time strike secured a valuable victory for a West Ham United side that had looked destined to be held to a frustrating goalless draw by the win-less Wearsiders.
Having dominated the first-half without breaking the deadlock, Slaven Bilić’s boys were pegged back by the visitors after the break and they looked all set to pay the price for missing a hatful of early chances.
But with just seconds of the game remaining, the confident Kiwi rifled home the winner to send the Hammers on to 10 points and leave sorry Sunderland marooned in bottom spot.
With fit-again Aaron Cresswell cruelly suspended following his harsh dismissal during last week’s welcome win at Crystal Palace, the 15th-placed Hammers brought Edimilson Fernandes into the fold at left wing-back as they kept with the same bold attacking formation that had earned them three precious points in south London.
And carrying on from where they left off at soggy Selhurst Park, Slaven Bilić’s pack of hounds were quickly hunting down the Black Cats.
Simone Zaza’s early header was deflected inches wide, while Dimitri Payet sent an 18-yarder curling inches beyond the far post, before the Frenchman was then foiled by the advancing Jordan Pickford’s ribcage.
Zaza saw another stooping header diverted wide, before Fernandes’ low effort was blocked, ahead of Reid having a penalty appeal turned aside.
Certainly, it was all one-way traffic as Sunderland – without a victory all season – struggled to get the ball out of their own half much to the frustration of the lonely ex-Hammer, Jermain Defoe up front.
The beleaguered David Moyes had made two changes from the side that had lost at Stoke City last weekend as Steven Pienaar and Lamine Koné came in for substitutes Paddy McNair and Papy Djilobodji.
But that double switch had little effect on a Sunderland team clearly devoid of confidence and, after Jack Rodwell was booked for mauling Manuel Lanzini, Payet rattled the base of Pickford’s right-hand post with a low 15-yarder before Didier N’Dong was yellow carded for scything through the Frenchman.
On the half-hour mark, Fernandes was also cautioned for tripping Javier Manquillo as he finally flew forward and, in a tricky few moments for the Hammers, Rodwell nodded inches over before Defoe fired tamely at Adrian.
Pienaar was also booked for dissent following his challenge on Fernandes ahead of Zaza sending a spectacular overhead kick just wide but for all their possession and attacking impetus, the Hammers just could not break the deadlock in a goalless first-half.
Seconds after the restart, though, Pienaar’s attempted throughball was deflected by Angelo Ogbonna into the path of Wahbi Khazri but, fortunately for the hosts, lone-Hammer Adrian beat the Tunisian international’s rising, 18-yarder aside.
At the other end, Zaza also had the chance to break but he lacked both speed and direction and was easily diverted from the danger zone by Koné to the frustration of everyone claret and blue.
By now, though, the home stranglehold had been loosened as Defoe was off target with one over the bar and another off Reid’s backside, before Patrick van Aanholt ripped into the side-netting, while Khazri tried an audacious trip from half-way that drifted past the left-hand post of the grateful Adrian.
On the hour mark, Sofiane Feghouli replaced Michail Antonio before Jonathan Calleri came on for the unfortunate Zaza and, after Reid was cautioned for an attempted trip on the darting Duncan Watmore, the diving Defoe saw yellow, too.
Pedro Obiang broke into the Sunderland area with a quarter-hour remaining but the angle was too tight and he could only steer the ball into the side-netting but, by now, Sunderland were sniffing a priceless point and with everyone, bar Defoe, behind the ball there appeared to be no way through for the Hammers.
But as the fourth and final minute of additional time ticked down, Payet played a short corner to Mark Noble, who squared to Reid and, taking a touch, the White Caps captain drilled a low 20-yarder through the crowded penalty area to secure that late, late winner.
HAMMERS: Adrian, Reid, Ogbonna, Kouyate, Antonio (Feghouli 62), Fernandes, Obiang, Noble, Lanzini (Fletcher 84), Payet, Zaza (Calleri 68). Unused subs: Spiegel, Nordtveit, Collins, Oxford.
BLACK CATS: Pickford, Manquillo, Van Aanholt, O’Shea, Koné, Watmore (Gooch 75), Khazri (Jones 86), Rodwell, N’Dong, Pienaar (McNair 80), Defoe. Unused subs: Domingues, Djilobodji, Anichebe, Honeyman.
Bookings: Rodwell (25), N’Dong (26), Fernandes (30), Pienaar (40), Reid (68), Defoe (68), Khazri (83), Manquillo (89).
Referee: Bobby Madley