|match review copied from www.theguardian.com|
Late Fabio Borini goal earns Sunderland draw with West Ham
Louise Taylor at the Stadium of Light
Date Published Saturday 15 April 2017 17.10 BST
Slaven Bilic claims to sometimes become so frustrated with his West Ham players that he resorts to breaking dressing-room tables during half-time team talks. The Croatian jokes that he sources replacements at Ikea so the visiting team bus may well have had to take a detour via the Swedish emporium’s Gateshead superstore on its journey to Newcastle airport on Saturday night.
With the recalled – and highly impressive – Wahbi Khazri, equalising in the 26th minute for Sunderland, West Ham lost their grip on the game, along with a chance to utterly banish any lingering relegation fears, however remote.
It will be an afternoon Darren Randolph, responsible for a couple of key goalkeeping errors, wishes to forget. “I’m not pointing any fingers,” said a resigned Bilic. “It was a fair result.”
If it turned into a bad day at the office for Randolph and his increasingly under pressure manager, things looked up very slightly for David Moyes. An improved performance eventually drew most of the sting from the early, and vehement, calls for his head that rained down from the stands. That said a point is far from sufficient to rescue the division’s basement team from relegation.
At least they recovered from an opening so desperate that it took 35 seconds for Lee Cattermole to be booked for fouling Andre Ayew and five minutes for West Ham to score. When Javier Manquillo generously offered the advancing Sam Byram acres of space down the visiting right, his deep cross found Andy Carroll.
No matter that Carroll’s slightly miscued cross-shot hardly represented his finest moment, the ball fell for Ayew to place a shot just inside the post.
Soon afterwards the ground echoed to chants of “We want Moyes out”. It was the first hint of such rebellion this season and felt significant, but the mutinous mood mellowed into an uneasy truce when Khazri equalised, thereby scoring Sunderland’s first goal in eight games.
Persistently, and puzzlingly, sidelined by Moyes this season, the gifted Tunisia winger returned to an interesting, somewhat politically freighted team-sheet with Lamine Koné – theoretically Sunderland’s best defender and a West Ham transfer target – dropped to the bench.
Khazri takes a mean set piece and having won a corner courtesy of a clever run he took it himself, applying such extreme whip and curl to the ball that it evaded all comers before arcing over the wrong-footed Randolph en route to the bottom corner. “Are you watching David Moyes,” chorused the home fans, knowingly.
As skilful as that leveller was, West Ham could have done with having a defender at the far post. Khazri, starting a League match for the first time since October, has previously said that he likes to shoot from corners.”
Anxious to remind everyone he also takes a decent set piece, Robert Snodgrass whipped a corner in with that wonderful left foot of his and, having dodged Jason Denayer, James Collins rose to power a header past Jordan Pickford.
Undeterred, Khazri kept producing sufficient pleasing cameos to beg the question as to why Moyes – booed by sections of the crowd during journeys out of his dug-out – had consigned him to the deep freeze for so long. The Scot keeps lamenting the lack of quality in his squad but the winger positively oozes with the stuff.
Billy Jones remains industry personified but Sunderland’s right-back received a nasty bang on the head for his ball chasing efforts here and required lengthy treatment on the pitch before being taken off on a stretcher, wearing a neck brace and oxygen mask. Happily, he was soon sitting up and talking lucidly before a trip to hospital for precautionary checks.
His replacement, Fabio Borini, scored with his first touch, rifling in a shot after Randolph misjudged Darron Gibson’s cross. Like Khazri, a player viewed with extreme suspicion by his manager, the Italian forward responded by indulging in a knee-slide in front of the home bench laden with pointed subtext.
Suddenly, West Ham were in such disarray that Byram’s foul on Adnan Januzaj meant he was sent off for a second bookable offence. Moyes is not the only manager with problems.
MATCH FACTS, RATINGS, TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
Sunderland (4-3-3): Pickford 6; Jones 6 (Borini 87), O'Shea 5.5, Denayer 6, Manquillo 5.5 (Kone 89); Khazri 7.5, Cattermole 6 (Januzaj 76, 6), Ndong 5.5, Gibson 6, Anichebe 6.5; Defoe 5
Unused subs: Mannone, Djilobodji, Rodwell, Pienaar
Goals: Khazri 26, Borini
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Randolph 5; Byram 6, Collins 6.5, Fonte 6.5, Masuaku 6; Fernandes 6, Kouyate 6; Snodgrass 6.5 (Nordtveit 81), Ayew 7 (Calleri 90), Lanzini 6.5; Carroll 7
Unused subs: Cresswell, Feghouli, Adrian, Fletcher, Rice
Sent off: Byram
Goals: Ayew 5, Collins 47
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)