West Ham Come Back To Avoid Defeat Again
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 04 Oct 2015 13:38:00
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Most West Ham United fans thought that they would be lucky to get anything from their first three away fixtures, given the calibre of opposition they were up against. Having beaten the big boys, a trip to Sunderland on paper looked to be a fairly easy one but as always with the Hammers, it didn't work out that way, as they stormed back to earn a 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon.

For the first time this season, Slaven Bilic named an unchanged side, following last weekend 2-2 home draw with Norwich City.

The action commenced and the visitors upped the tempo right from the start as the skipper Mark Noble was in the thick of the action straight away, as he was booked for a foul on Ola Toivonen.

West Ham were causing themselves all sorts of problems and got off to the worst of starts as early as the tenth minute when the Black Cats were awarded a freekick after Carl Jenkinson had pushed Fabio Borini. Yann M'Vila's cross into the box was met by Steven Fletcher, who was able to place the ball past Adrian with ease.

Four minutes later, the Irons could have levelled when Manuel Lanzini ran through the home defence and struck a powerful shot that went just past the post.

On 18 minutes, the home fans thought they should have been awarded a penalty but referee Neil Swarbrick ignored the appeals.

It was to get worse for the Hammers just four minutes later however, as Jeremain Lens capitalised on an error from Dimitri Payet, and chipped a peach of an effort over Adrian.

Sunderland were piling on the pressure either side of play being pulled up twice for two yellow cards the given, first to Winston Reid and then to Aaron Cresswell. Lens also received booking, before Borini had the chance to score a third but thankfully for Bilic's men, the pressure was off, as the Italian's effort went wide of the post.

Borini failed with a second effort minutes later, as he again put his effort wide of the post.

As the half entered three minutes of stoppage time, the visitors gave themselves a lifeline, when Victor Moses was given room to cross for Carl Jenkinson to smash the ball past Costel Pantilimon.

That was the last action of the first of and West Ham's thoughts turned to trying to get an equaliser after the break.

In a complete role reversal to the first period, the visitors were the better side in the second-half and they won a freekick almost as soon as the match restarted. Payet shot straight at Pantilmomon.

Jenkinson then felt he has a problem with his shoulder, but he was able to continue.

Lanzini was in the clear again on 57 minutes but once again, his effort dribbled wide of the post.

Dick Advocaat saw his side reduced to ten men. A minute later, when Lens received a second booking for a foul on Reid. 

Bilic used the break in play to replace Moses with Nikica Jelavic.

When play resumed, it didn't take long for West Ham to find an equaliser. Pantilimon parried a ball which gave Payet the chance to level matters and to be fair, he couldn't miss sending the travelling support ballistic.

The visitors would have been celebrating a third just seconds later had Jelavic not fired over the bar, but Sunderland survived.

Both sides could have ended with ten men. But Swarbrick decided there was nothing wrong with Noble's challenge on Borini.

On 66 minutes, the Irons made their second change, as James Collins replaced Reid.

Almost immediately, West Ham went on the attack again and Payet spotted Jelavic in space but the striker could not hit the target.

Pantilimon prevented Jenkinson from putting the visitors in front after both Sebastien Coates and Jenkinson were booked.

The Hammers made their final change on 79 minutes as Mauro Zarate replaced Noble.

In an effort to try and find a winner Cresswell tested Pantilimon but the Romanian made a superb save. 

West Ham tried again when Zarate squared the ball for Diafra Sakho to try his luck but he missed the target.

Four minutes of stoppage time were signalled to end the game and before the final whistle blew, Jelavic failed to divert Payet's cross into the net.

The East Londoners were pleased as they came off the pitch having preserved their unbeaten away record. They are on the road again as they face the first of their London derbies after the International break when they face a trip to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace.


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