West Ham United vs. Sunderland  1 - 1

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Premier League: West Ham 1 Sunderland 1

22 September 2012 18:23

West Ham shared the points with Sunderland in a tough clash at Upton Park, as the hosts equalised late for a 1-1 draw.

Steven Fletcher opened the scoring for Sunderland with an early strike in the first-half to make it four goals in three league matches for his new club. Despite their early lead, West Ham constantly applied pressure on the visitors' goal with goalkeeper Simon Mignolet producing a world-class save from a Kevin Nolan bicycle kick.

Sunderland put in a solid defensive display against the Hammers, constantly dealing with an onslaught of long balls and crosses into the box from the hosts. West Ham finally made a breakthrough when Nolan volleyed home a close-range goal in the final minute of the game.

Sunderland took the lead early on in the game in the ninth minute. Sebastien Larsson chipped the ball into Fletcher who controlled the ball and fired a low shot into the bottom corner.

The hosts responded well after going a goal down by forcing a couple of corners but Sunderland cleared their lines both times and looked well organised in defence as they looked to stop West Ham from playing their game.

Ricardo Vaz Te missed a great chance to bring West Ham level after Matthew Taylor whipped in a cross from the left and the former Bolton player headed the ball down and wide at the far post.

West Ham looked the more dangerous side as the first half continued. The hosts had numerous chances and Carlton Cole missed a great chance for an equaliser in the 34th minute. Mohamed Diame delivered a good cross and Cole had beaten John O'Shea but he saw his header fly over the bar.

Nolan had missed numerous half chances in the first half but the midfielder finally tested Mignolet. Vaz Te floated in a cross and Nolan hit a spectacular bicycle kick which the Sunderland keeper managed to keep out with a superb save.

Vaz Te's last contribution to the game was a miss from close range as Cole flicked on a long ball for the 25-year-old, and the striker was substituted for Matt Jarvis in the 57th minute along with Taylor coming off for Yossi Benayoun as Sam Allardyce looked for an equaliser.

Jarvis looked dangerous down the left as he aimed a cross towards Benayoun but Danny Rose headed the ball away from danger for Sunderland who was showing a solid defensive display against the hosts.

West Ham came close to coming level in the 76th minute as James Collins saw his header hit the top of the Sunderland crossbar for the Hammers best chance of the game to go missing.

Sunderland had a good chance to make it 2-0 with a rare break from the Teesiders as James McClean whipped in a ball across West Ham's goal but David Vaughan couldn't reach the cross.

In the third minute of injury time, West Ham finally got the equaliser they had been pushing for. Modibo Maiga headed a loose ball into the path of Nolan who volleyed a strike into the top corner of the goal.

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Premier League Preview: West Ham United v Sunderland

20 September 2012 13:14

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill may have to do without recent acquisition Adam Johnson for his side's tricky trip to West Ham.

Johnson has played two matches for Sunderland since joining in a 12 million pound move from Manchester City but the 25-year-old winger has been on the club's injury list since straining his thigh while on international duty with England a fortnight ago.

Sunderland had expected Johnson to be fit again for the trip south to take on West Ham after he missed last week's 1-1 draw with Liverpool but O'Neill has now conceded that is unlikely after a setback in the winger's recovery.

"I don't know, I really don't know," O'Neill said.

"We were hoping he would have made it for the Liverpool game, he did a little bit on Thursday and didn't feel any sort of ill effects on it at all, then on Friday he pulled up after a minute or two, so I really just don't know.

"It was a blow to us, because we were hoping he could make it."

Johnson started his Sunderland career with assists in the club's League Cup victory over Morecambe and their 2-2 draw with Swansea.

Sunderland have brought in a number of new players for this season with Johnson joined by the likes of Steven Fletcher, Louis Saha and Carlos Cuellar as newcomers to the squad.

But O'Neill remains unconvinced his side has improved and concedes injuries will probably decide Sunderland's season.

"I'm obviously delighted with Fletcher and delighted that we've been able to get Adam Johnson in, I think we've missed him because he's able to give us that extra something which we just don't possess in abundance here," O'Neill said.

"But we've also lost a few players too and we need the major players to stay fit - that's the most important thing.

"If they do, then we'll be okay."

Sunderland have started the EPL season with three draws and will head to London hoping to earn their first league victory of the season.

But O'Neill's men will face a tough challenge in Sam Allardyce's West Ham, who have started their first season back in the EPL with two wins, a draw and a loss.

Allardyce's big worry ahead of Sunday's game will be who to start up front with Andy Carroll still out with a hamstring injury and Carlton Cole having limped off in West Ham's 0-0 draw away to Norwich with a troublesome toe.

That could open the door for Malian striker Modibo Maiga, who has yet to start a match for West Ham since joining from Sochaux in the European summer, although he has come off the bench three times.

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25