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Sunday 5 December Updated Wednesday 18 February

Slender defeat at Sunderland

West Ham United slumped back to the bottom of the Barclays Premier League table following a narrow 1-0 defeat at a snow-bound Sunderland.

The Hammers had temporarily climbed to 19th in the standings following Wolverhampton Wanderers' 3-0 reverse at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, only for a single-goal reverse at the Stadium of Light to sink them back below Mick McCarthy's side.

Jordan Henderson, newly-capped by England in the recent home friendly defeat by France at Wembley, was the Black Cats' match-winner, racing forward from midfield to skilfully direct Asamoah Gyan's cut-back past a helpless Robert Green.

Sunderland just about deserved their victory, dominating possession for long periods and restricting their visitors to just a handful of clear chances.

The home side started fast, as one might have expected from a team unbeaten at home in the league all season.

Former Hammers youngster Kieran Richardson and Darren Bent both fired shots off-target as Avram Grant's men attempted to keep Sunderland at arm's length, but the pressure was slowly growing.

When West Ham did break out of defence, Victor Obinna could only send a shot wide from 35 yards.

The home side finally made their good start count eleven minutes before half-time when Ghana FIFA World Cup star Gyan sprang the offside trap to burst clear down the inside-right channel.

The forward looked up before cutting the ball into the path of the advancing Henderson, who slammed a rising first-time shot inside Green's far post.

Jonathan Spector, so impressive in central midfield against Manchester United in the Carling Cup, was again the Hammers' most eye-catching player during the opening half.

A minute before half-time, the American span away from one Sunderland player before beating another and shooting a yard wide as he lost his balance.

To their credit, West Ham came out reinvigorated after the interval, but could not work a clear-cut opening to test goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

Four minutes after the break, Obinna found Cole inside the penalty area. The No9 span his marker but, unlike during the mid-week Carling Cup success, his shot flew just the wrong side of the far post with Gordon beaten.

Sunderland were far from spent as an attacking force themselves, however, with Richardson and Gyan working Green with well-struck shots from the edge of the penalty area.

West Ham's best chance of salvaging a draw came and went with eleven minutes of the 90 remaining when Cole fed Obinna, only for the Nigerian's shot to clip the outside of the post on its way wide of the target.

Four minutes later, Scott Parker thrust a foot out to divert Obinna's low cross wide of the far upright and West Ham had run out of opportunities.

Despite seeing his side fail to win away from home in the Barclays Premier League for the 26th consecutive match, manager Grant is remaining upbeat.

"It was a disappointing end to a good week. Although I was pleased with the spirit we showed, in the first half we didn't show the quality we can - even if the organisation was there. The second half we were better but we needed to score and they then started to hit us on the counterattack.

"The difference between one-zero and zero-zero is not so great. We need to do something because we cannot keep not winning away from home - even it if it is very difficult there where not even one team has won this season in the league. Sunderland's home record is amazing and it was not easy for us.

"We need to pay attention to all details if we want to win."

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