Black Cats Live to Fight Another Day with Hammers Draw
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 16 Apr 2017 14:25:00
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At the Stadium of Light last season West Ham United had to come from behind to secure a point in a 2-2 draw. On Saturday afternoon the roles were reversed as a late equaliser denied the Hammers back to back wins and the match ended with the same outcome.

With results going their way, the point meant that the Irons moved up a place to 13th in the Premier League table.

With regular skipper Mark Noble suspended and Michail Antonio out for the season, Slaven Bilic made two changes to the side that secured that crucial 1-0 victory over Swansea last weekend. Striker Andy Carroll was restored to the starting line-up and took on the captaincy, while Edimilson Fernandes replaced Antonio.

West Ham beat the Black Cats in the reverse fixture at the end of October and applied all the early pressure here.

Manuel Lanzini forced a good save from Jordan Pickford in the home-side's goal after just two minutes and within five they went in front when André Ayew took advantage of Carroll's mis-hit volley to beat Pickford.

It could have been even better for the visitors when Robert Snodgrass's free kick narrowly missed the target.

They would have been rueing that chance as Sunderland eventually found their rhythm and equalised on 26 minutes when a corner from Wahbi Khazri went straight into the net, although there was a suspicion that goalkeeper Darren Randolph was unfairly impeded by Victor Anichebe.

Although the hosts were now in the ascendancy, Bilic's men were unfortunate not to restore their advantage when Ayew's close range shot went inches over the bar.

With the scores level at half-time the visitors were hoping to deepen the gloom for the home side going into the second 45 minutes.

With that in mind, it took just two minutes after the restart for the Hammers to have their fans cheering again. James Collins rose to head in an accurate Snodgrass corner and claim his second goal of the season.

Sunderland wasted a golden opportunity to level the scores as Didier N'Dong fired over when it seemed easier to score.

With the points were looking safe, Bilic made his first change on 81 minutes as Håvard Nordtveit replaced Snodgrass.

With 90 minutes approaching, Billy Jones was seriously injured after coming together with Arthur Masuaku and was eventually replaced by Fabio Borini.

Soon after coming on, Borini took advantage of a mistake from Randolph to slam the ball home with his first touch.

Ten minutes of added time were signalled and with half of that gone, West Ham went down to ten men after Sam Byram received his second booking for a challenge on Adnan Januzaj.

The manager's next move was to replace Ayew with Jonathan Calleri with a minute remaining.

Referee Andre Marriner blew the final whistle, with the visitors happier than the hosts with the point.

The Hammers will be hoping to continue their recent unbeaten run with Everton the visitors to Stratford on Saturday afternoon.

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