Hammers V Black Cats

THE Stadium of Light has become a familiar place for Hammers fans in recent years.

As the two sides went down and back up together, Sunderland are the only team West Ham United have visited every year for the past six seasons.

Over that period things couldn't be more even.

From 12 league fixtures both sides have won three home games, two away games and there have been two draws - one at each ground.

Hammers do slightly edge it however, with a fantastic FA Cup win in the North East in 2001.

After putting aside top of the league Manchester United in the fourth round, the Hammers were handed a fifth round tie away at second placed Sunderland.

After being caught by the offside trap more times than he could remember, Freddie Kanoute finally raced through to slot home the winner in the 76th minute, and send West Ham United into the quarter-finals.

Last season goals from Marlon Harewood and Teddy Sheringham took the points at the Stadium of Light, but the Black Cats got their revenge, winning the Coca-Cola Championship at Upton Park at the penultimate game of the season and nearly wrecking Hammers Play-off chances.

The year before Hammers came from two goals behind to claim victory at Upton Park, but went down 2-0 away.

Historically the spoils are pretty even too. Sunderland just edge it 27 wins to 26 with 18 draws.

West Ham have enjoyed some great games against the Black Cats though. None more so than in 1968 when the Hammers put eight past Sunderland at Upton Park, and Geoff Hurst equaled Vic Watson's record for the most goals in a game with a phenomenal six!

More recently, a Mark Robson hat-trick helped West Ham on their way to a 6-0 victory in 1992. Hammers were promoted that season and Sunderland finished just one point away from relegation to the third tier of English football.