West Ham twice surrender lead as Sunderland grab unlikely point
PUBLISHED: 17:03 15 April 2017 | UPDATED: 17:03 15 April 2017
Randolph nightmare as the Hammers had to make do with a point despite goals from Ayew and Collins as Byram is sent off
Sunderland 2 West Ham United 2
West Ham twice threw away a lead as they had to settle for a draw against rock-bottom Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
A goal in each half from Andre Ayew and James Collins sandwiched by a goal straight from a corner for David Moyes’ team, looked to have given the Hammers all three points, but in the final minute of normal time, it all went horribly wrong as keeper Darren Randolph twice flapped at a ball into the box to allow sub Fabio Borini to salvage an unlikely draw for the Black Cats.
Manager Slaven Bilic welcomed back Andy Carroll to the starting line-up in place of out for the season Michail Antonio, while Edimilson Fernandes replaced the suspended Mark Noble, who still travelled with the team, to make his first Premier League start on his 21st birthday.
They were the only changes in the starting line-up from the narrow but precious win over Swansea City last week, while Aaron Cresswell returned to the bench and Declan Rice looked for his debut as he took his place among the subs.
West Ham started well and Andre Ayew won a free kick just outside the box in the first couple of minutes after a lung-busting run and Manuel Lanzini’s kick was well palmed away by Jordan Pickford.
And just a couple of minutes later the Hammers were in front. Sam Byram delivered a deep cross and when Andy Carroll turned it back into the middle, Ayew was there to finish calmly from close range.
It was his fourth goal in the last eight games and he is beginning to show why West Ham paid so much money for the former Swansea City man.
Sunderland relied on the long ball to try and put the Hammers under pressure, but there only real effort came when John O’Shea headed a free kick straight at Darren Randolph.
The Hammers controlled possession for long periods of the first half and Snodgrass went close with a shot from the edge of the box which flew inches wide of the post.
Jermain Defoe felt harshly done by as he appealed in vain for a penalty after being put through. Sam Byram seemed to bundle him over, but it looked outside the box and referee Andre Marriner waved it away in any case.
But a few moments later, Sunderland had grabbed an unlikely equaliser. Wahbi Khazri swung over a corner and with Victor Anichibe going in on Darren Randolph the ball slipped into the net to make it 1-1. There were certainly question marks about whether the West Ham keeper had been impeded, but the referee gave the goal.
It was Sunderland’s first goal on 701 minutes and one they hardly deserved as West Ham had looked far the better side.
The goal gave the Black Cats a boost and Randolph had to scramble to his left to see a shot just wide from Billy Jones as West Ham looked shocked by the set-back.
West Ham went close when Sam Byram broke forward, combined with Ayew and then crossed for Carroll to hook it back again, but this time Ayew could only turn his shot over the top. It was welcome respite for the Hammers who had found themselves under the cosh since the equaliser.
But it was still Sunderland in the ascendancy and right on half time, Randolph had to make a save from Khazri after Defoe turned and put it in his path.
West Ham regrouped at half time and within a couple of minutes they were back in front.
Snodgrass deleivered a corner and centre half James Collins got between Jones and Anichibe to head the ball into the corner - his first goal since the opening day at Chelsea.
Defoe was denied by a superb tackle by Jose Fonte as the Black Cats looked to bounce back again, while Didier Ndong blazed miled over after being set up nicely by Khazri. He should have done better, but you could say that about the whole Sunderland team.
West Ham looked to have clung on to a deserved three points, but as the match moved into the last minute there was to be a vital turning point. The ball was hurled into the box and when Randolph failed to gather, not once, but twice, the ball fell for Borini to fire past two defenders on the line to grab a point.
And to rub salt into the wounds, full-back Byram was then given a second yellow card for a foul and West Ham finished the match with 10-men.
West Ham: Randolph, Byram, Fonte, Collins, Masuaku; Kouyate, Fernandes; Lanzini, Snodgrass, (Nordtveit, 80), Ayew (Calleri, 90); Carroll.
Unused Subs: Adrian, Feghouli, Fletcher, Rice.
Sending off: Byram (two yellows)
Referee: Andre Marriner.