|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
West Ham sink Sunderland with last-minute winner from Winston Reid
Jacob Steinberg at the London Stadium
Date Published Saturday 22 October 2016 17.24 BST
Deeper and deeper Sunderland dropped, until they were almost defending from their six-yard box, and there was an inevitability about the cruel blow that came from Winston Reid’s left foot in the fourth minute of stoppage time. Having decided to settle for a point when a braver side might have sought to test West Ham United’s nerve in a stadium that still feels a little cold and alien, they ended up with nothing. Their air of resignation about their plight is becoming suffocating, a self-fulfilling prophesy that threatens to drag them into the Championship without so much as a whimper.
As the cliche goes, goals change games and Reid’s winner certainly altered the perception of a desperately poor game. If Sunderland had held out, David Moyes would have been able to praise their resilience or Lamine Koné’s fine performance in central defence. In that parallel universe, the visitors left east London with their heads held high, determined to build on a morale-boosting draw by giving Arsenal the game of their lives at the Stadium of Light next Saturday.
Instead they departed stalked by the stench of doom and decay, the focus switching to a debate about whether they were punished for their negativity, with Moyes handing the initiative to West Ham by replacing two of his attacking players with defenders in the final 10 minutes. Slaven Bilic added another striker, Ashley Fletcher, to West Ham’s attack.
In trying to hold what they had, it was no surprise that the league’s bottom side proved so butterfingered. Although the pressure from West Ham could hardly be called relentless – for much of the second half the hosts attacked with all the sense of direction of a fly repeatedly zooming into a window – Reid’s goal leaves Sunderland with two points from their first nine matches, winless and witless.
Moyes complained that Jonathan Calleri was standing in an offside position when the substitute let Reid’s shot run through his legs and past Jordan Pickford, but the flag stayed down.
From West Ham’s perspective, this was a crucial victory after last Saturday’s restorative win over Crystal Palace. It lifted them three points clear of the bottom three and eased the pressure on Bilic, although he knew that his team failed to impress once again in the disorienting environment of their new ground.
They faded after starting brightly and there were plenty of moments when Sunderland wasted chances to expose their defensive flaws on the break.
In West Ham’s defence, they played some excellent football in the opening 20 minutes when Sunderland had the look of a side waiting for the punishment to begin. Bilic kept faith with the 3-4-2-1 system that worked so well at Selhurst Park with Edimilson Fernandes, a young Swiss midfielder, making his first league start in place of the suspended Aaron Cresswell on the left and Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini kept popping up in dangerous positions. “We were really good,” Bilic said. “Just we didn’t score a goal.”
Payet threatened on three occasions, curling wide after a neat exchange with Mark Noble, shooting too close to Pickford at the end of a brilliant dribble through the heart of the defence and hitting the base of the right post with an effort from 18 yards out.
An early goal would have extinguished the uncertainty that weighs West Ham down here, but their dip in intensity let Sunderland into the game. “We are still in a bit of cramp,” Bilic said, pointing to his head.
Far too isolated throughout the first half, Jermain Defoe perked up. Jack Rodwell sent a header narrowly over and Wahbi Khazri squandered Sunderland’s best opening at the start of the second half, shooting insipidly at Adrián.
“I did not enjoy the first part, but the second half we were not threatened and, if anything, we looked more likely to score,” Moyes said.
Yet Sunderland invited late pressure when Moyes brought on Paddy McNair and Billy Jones for Duncan Watmore and Khazri respectively, ceding territory and paying for it when a short corner routine ended with Payet finding Reid, who turned and hammered a low shot through the bodies from 18 yards out. Sunderland slumped again.
Daily Mail: PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, PLAYER RATINGS AND MATCH ZONE STATS
West Ham (3-4-3): Adrian 7; Kouyate 6.5, Reid 7.5, Ogbonna 7; Antonio 6 (Feghouli 62 6); Obiang 6 Noble 6, Fernandes 6; Lanzini 6 (Fletcher 84), Zaza 6 (Calleri 68 6), Payet 7
Subs not used: Nordtveit, Collins, Spiegel, Oxford
Manager: Slaven Bilic 7
Booked: Fernandes, Reid
Sunderland (4-5-1): Pickford 6; Manquillo 6, Kone 6, O'Shea 6, Van Aanholt 6; Watmore 6 (Gooch 75 6), Rodwell 6, Ndong 6, Pienaar 6 (McNair 79), Khazri 6 (Jones 86); Defoe 6
Subs not used: Djilobodji, Mika, Anichebe, Honeyman
Manager: David Moyes 5
Booked: Rodwell, N'Dong, Pienaar, Khazri
Referee: Bobby Madley 6
Stadium: London Stadium