Hammers end season in dissapointing fashion
By Tom Dowsett
Monday 23 May 2011 12:14:00
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West Ham United would have gone in to Sunday afternoon's home game with Sunderland hoping that they could put on a performance for the fans. With Avram Grant gone, together with Kevin Keen taking charge temporarily, that's exactly what the fans would have expected. However, the game was to reflect how the past nine months had gone and the Hammers ended the season with a 3-0 defeat.

Keen's team selection showed two changes to Avram Grant's last Hammers' team sheet. Out went Demba Ba due to an abdominal problem and Jonathan Spector, due to a knock picked up at the DW Stadium and in came Luis Boa Morte and Freddie Sears.

Before proceedings got underway, the season's awards were presented. However, on the pitch West Ham continued to give out their own awards and as early as the first minute, Stephane Sessegnon was gift-wrapped Sunderland's first opportunity, but unfortunately for him he blasted it miles over the bar.

After that however, it was end to end with both teams coming close on a number of occasions until, that was, on 17 minutes when Bolo Zenden, in his last ever game for Sunderland, looped a header past Green from the edge of the penalty area.

The game continued with West Ham being restricted to a couple of blocked efforts and Sunderland creating the more clear cut chances. The Home side's clearest chance of the half however, came on the stroke of half time when Zavon Hines latched on to Frederic Piquionne's cross at the near post, but Simon Mignolet comfortably saved the effort.

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Sunderland started the second half where they had left off in the first, as Asamoah Gyan skipped past Gabbidon into the penalty area, only for the Welshman to track back and concede a corner.

When the corner was taken Green could only turn it behind for another corner. Piquionne blocked the effort this time and the Hammers broke away. However, Sears' cross for Jack Collison was too deep and the chance was gone.

Minutes later Collison came close to an equaliser as his free-kick was again well saved by Mignolet.

A minute later Sunderland put the game out of sight and doubled their advantage when Sessegnon's low shot from 25 yards came off the inside of the post and into the back of Green's net.

On 54 minutes, James Tomkins was replaced by Lars Jacobsen and Victor Obinna came on for Hines.

Minutes Later, Sunderland created another chance, but Green superbly diverted Jack Colback's shot over the bar for a corner.

Just after the hour mark, the Upton Park roar could be heard as Scott Parker replaced Boa Morte.

On 89 minutes, as the game neared a conclusion, Jordan Henderson came close, but his shot deflected off Gabidon and wide. Minutes later, Sunderland rounded off an impressive away performance with a third as Christian Riveros controlled henderson's cross and smashed the ball past Green from 12 yards.

So the final whistle blew, ending West Ham's six-year stay in the Barclays Premier League. They will be joined in the npower Championship next season by Blackpool and Birmingham City. Before the pitch was cleared, Keen and a number of players thanked the magnificent support the team have had in what has been a difficult season all round.

Attention now turns to the Summer when the owners will continue the search for a new manager and the inevitable movement of players in and out of the club.

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