West Ham United v Sunderland
Barclays Premier League
Saturday 10 April 2010
Referee: Mike Jones
Final score - West Ham United 1-0 Sunderland
It wasn't a result! Burnley have just added a fourth!
The Hull v Burnley result is read out to a massive cheer. West Ham are now four points clear of the drop zone, while Portsmouth are officially relegated.
95 mins - With order finally restored, Sunderland clear and finally force a corner. Gordon joins the attack, but West Ham repel the danger and when the ball is cleared, the final whistle is blown. My heart is beating at 1,000mph! Thank goodness that is over!
94 mins - You seriously could not make this up! Franco controls a loose ball and slams it past Gordon. He runs off to celebrate, but the assistant referee is flagging for handball. The players take all of 30 seconds or more to realise that a goal has not been given. Kevin Hitchock is imploring the West Ham players to get back and concentrate on the game, while Sunderland are arguing that they should be able to take the free-kick while half the Hammers team are in the crowd!
94 mins - We're into the final minute and Franco has the ball deep inside Sunderland territory.
93 mins - Franco picks up a loose pass and is one defender away from being clean through, but he is tackled. Noble picks up the ball and runs it into the corner before winning a throw.
92 mins - Kovac slams the ball clear, but it goes a long way up rather than out. Daprela rises high to win the header before Sunderland lose it and West Ham have a throw.
91 mins - Ilan is off and Daprela is on. We're going to have four added minutes, at least. Franco is penalised for a foul on Zenden. Sunderland are going to take this one long.
90 mins - Cole gets the wrong side of Ferdinand, but the ball just won't sit for him. He gets his shot away left-footed, but it is into the side-netting.
90 mins - Noble makes a superb sliding challenge. He has been good defensively today, has the No16. West Ham are getting Fabio Daprela ready to come on.
88 mins - Noble tries to lob the ball over the top for Cole, but he is crowded out. Benjani is on for Da Silva.
87 mins - Sunderland are readying Benjani. Meanwhile, Zenden guides a volley that Green gathers safely.
85 mins - This is VERY frantic. Spector picks up possession and brings the ball forward before being brought down by Turner. No booking this time, though. I think we might have a fair bit of added-time. Noble's free-kick is headed goalwards by Upson. Franco tries to get on the ball, but it reaches Gordon.
84 mins - Campbell is booked by the referee for a strong challenge on Ilan.
82 mins - Henderson gets a talking to from referee Jones after clashing with Behrami. Jones waves his arms as if to say 'No more of that' and we're back underway with a Sunderland free-kick.
81 mins - West Ham are going to have to stop giving free-kicks away around their penalty area. Behrami is the man punished for a challenge on Richardson. This one is a bit further out. Henderson takes and Cole smashes it out for a throw.
80 mins - Franco and Gordon clash as the goalkeeper attempts to clear. The Mexican goes to ground, but there doesn't look to be too much in it.
79 mins - Noble curls the free-kick over with pace, but it's too close to the goalkeeper.
78 mins - Campbell brings Spector down about a yard outside the box. The American had got forward following great interplay from Franco, Noble and Behrami.
77 mins - Henderson belts the ball in towards the near post where Green dives and keeps the ball out virtually on the line.
76 mins - Faubert and Bent go up in the box and the striker wants a penalty. Nothing given though. Noble then cuts out Richardson's cross, but he and Behrami leave the ball to one another and the Swiss brings Richardson down. Free-kick in a dangerous area.
75 mins - Ilan has indeed gone out to the left wing.
74 mins - Stanislas is heading off, with Franco the man coming on. I presume Ilan will go and play wide on the left.
73 mins - Burnley are 3-1 up! Graham Alexander has netted two penalties.
72 mins - Malbranque's afternoon is over. He is replaced by the veteran Bolo Zenden. Franco is going to be on for West Ham fairly soon. On the pitch, Noble fouls Campbell wide on the right. Zenden will take the free-kick.
71 mins - Cole has done brilliantly there to latch on to Noble's free-kick and win a corner. Noble crosses and Ferdinand heads clear.
68 mins - West Ham are creaking a bit here. Sunderland are having all the play. I'm not sure what Zola can do to turn the tide, but the Hammers need to keep the ball for a sustained period to alleviate some of the pressure. Better news from the KC Stadium, where Burnley are winning!
65 mins - Cole does well against Richardson, turning twice before winning a corner as he cross is deflected on to the top of the net. Noble's cross is met by Upson, whose header flies back to the midfielder. He delays too long and is crowded out.
64 mins - Lucky. Lucky. Lucky. Jones's first contribution is superb as he finds Bent. The striker is clean through, but he slips at the vital moment.
63 mins - Bruce makes his first change, replacing midfielder Meyler for striker Jones. Bold move.
62 mins - Henderson wins another corner, but Ferdinand can only head it out for a goal kick.
61 mins - It was all a bit frantic, but West Ham nearly create a chance for number two. Stanislas and Noble combine and a cross comes over for Cole, but it's just too high and skips off his head and through to Gordon.
58 mins - West Ham need a spell of possession here. Sunderland are on top at present. As if to prove my point, Cattermole rifles a low shot about a yard wide from Bent's lay-off. Green would not have got there.
56 mins - I'm sitting on the edge of my seat and there are still 34 minutes to go. Campbell gets forward and Sunderland win a corner. It comes to nothing as Upson clears.
53 mins - Richardson gets forward down the left and wins a corner off Faubert. Cole hacks clear and West Ham win a free-kick. That's a chance to relieve some of the pressure.
51 mins - GOAL! There are 34,685 fans here and the vast majority have just gone nuts. Da Costa launches a long free-kick forward after Ilan had been fouled by Meyler. Cole flicks it on and Ilan stabs it past Gordon with his right foot.
49 mins - Sunderland have Kenwyne Jones limbering up on the touchline. No sign of any West Ham substitutes, though.
48 mins - Cole is fouled about 35 yards out. Da Costa decides to shoot, but his effort is wayward to say the least, and flies into the Bobby Moore Stand.
47 mins - A hairy moment inside the West Ham box as Da Costa challenges Bent. The Portuguese brings the ball away to cheers, while Bent is sat on the turf with his arms outstretched.
46 mins - Sunderland get us under way again. No changes from either side.
Half-time - 0-0
47 mins - Noble brings the ball forward and goes past two players. He exchanges passes with Ilan twice, before the Brazilian goes to ground on the edge of the penalty area. Nothing is given and Jones blows for half-time. With Hull and Burnley drawing, it's as we were.
45 mins - Meyler runs through the midfield and tries to find Campbell, but Spector is there to intercept. Seconds later, Henderson is in loads of space wide on the right, but he can only slice his cross on to the roof of the net.
43 mins - Young Irishman Meyler is perhaps a little lucky to escape a booking after barging into Behrami. The Swiss has been fouled a fair few times this half.
41 mins - Malbranque shoots and Da Costa blocks it behind. The corner comes over and Bent's header carries the ball away from his team-mates.
40 mins - Burnley have equalised! Cole jumps into Gordon and the goalkeeper drops the ball. Gordon then grabs Cole as he attempts to pass the ball into the net, but the whistle had already gone for a foul by the striker.
39 mins - Behrami's persistence wins a free-kick from Ferdinand down the left flank. Noble crosses and Gordon claims unchallenged.
37 mins - Stanislas blocks a clearance and the ball ricochets to Cole. He crosses low towards Ilan, whose shot is well blocked by Ferdinand. Behrami concedes a free-kick in the ensuing melee and the chance is lost.
36 mins - Stanislas's free-kick is headed away easily.
34 mins - Spector's attempted pass is blocked by Henderson. The defender pulls back the Sunderland player and is booked. West Ham break through Noble, whose long ball is handled outside the box by Gordon. The goalkeeper is booked. Replays are inconclusive. Anyway, West Ham have a free-kick right on the edge of the penalty area.
32 mins - Ilan does well again and gets free down the inside-left channel. He passes to Behrami, who finds Faubert. Back to Behrami, whose ball into Cole spins off the forward's head and out for a goal kick.
30 mins - Ilan spreads play wide to Faubert, whose cross hits Stanislas. The ball spins wide, where Noble makes a crunching tackle on Richardson.
29 mins - West Ham are enjoying the lion's share of territory at present. Cole holds the ball up on the edge of the penalty area before turning and shooting low with his left foot, but it's well wide.
28 mins - Ilan runs at Da Silva and claims a free-kick from his fellow South American, but referee Jones waves at him to get up.
27 mins - Noble's free-kick is short and easily headed clear, sparking a Sunderland counter-attack. It's four-on-four as Bent cuts inside and shoots right-footed. Thankfully, it is straight at Green, who holds on.
26 mins - Not really a massive surprise, that. Cattermole is the first man booked for a lunge on Behrami.
25 mins - Encouraging signs. Cole robs Cattermole and runs at the Sunderland back-four. He continues on his own when maybe a pass to Ilan would have been a better option. Seconds later, Spector tries to find Ilan inside the box, but the Brazilian is offside.
23 mins - Behrami does well to get away from Ferdinand and cross left-footed to the far post, but Da Silva is there to head clear.
21 mins - Spector and Campbell battle for the ball and the American concedes a corner. He claims he was fouled by the Sunderland forward, but the assistant referee is unmoved. Richardson takes the corner and Da Silva's header is an easy catch for Green.
20 mins - Kovac beats Cattermole to the ball about 30 yards out. It bounces forward and he belts it, but his shot flies well over the top.
18 mins - Cole chases a lost cause and nearly benefits as Gordon's clearance hits him on the head. From this angle, it looks like it might be looping towards the net, but instead the ball flies out of the penalty area.
16 mins - Things are hotting up! Behrami plays a one-two on the edge of the penalty area before shooting low to Gordon's left. The Scot dives and parries the ball aside, only for Richardson to get in ahead of Stanislas and clear. West Ham win a free-kick on the right, but it comes to nothing.
14 mins - Malbranque catches Faubert a bit late as his fellow countryman plays the ball down the line. Referee Jones issues a stern warning, but shows no card. Faubert himself launches the ball in and Upson heads it, but it goes straight to Gordon. Sunderland go straight on the attack down the left and a long ball finds Bent the wrong side of the West Ham defence. He tries to lob Green, but the ball lands on the roof of the net.
13 mins - Behrami is left in a heap by Meyler. Green will belt the ball upfield. Cole wins the header, but Sunderland win the ball back and Malbranque brings the ball forward. He tries to play in Bent, but Da Costa is there with a timely interception.
12 mins - Cole does well to hold the ball up before Stanislas wins a throw down the right. Cole tries to force and opening but loses the ball. Bent breaks down the left and Upson goes across before doing well to hold off the striker, who fouls him.
10 mins - Malbranque and Richardson combine down the left before the Frenchman wins a corner off Stanislas. Malbranque curls the ball in and Paulo Da Silva somehow misses his kick from about five yards and the ball flies wide. Major let-off.
8 mins - Bad news from the KC Stadium, where Hull City have taken an early lead against Burnley through Kevin Kilbane's header.
7 mins - Good work from Behrami, who closes down Ferdinand and Henderson before conceding a throw. Upson looks to have hurt himself jumping for a header. He is down inside the 'D' and receiving treatment. It looks like he'll be OK.
5 mins - Nothing has happened in either penalty area as yet. Sunderland threaten through Bent and Campbell, but Da Costa is there to belt the ball upfield. Noble tries to find Stanislas down the right, but his pass curls into the feet of Gordon, who cleans up the danger.
2 mins - Nice one-touch stuff from Behrami and Cole, but Kovac's pass for Behrami is just too long and bounces out for a throw. There is a decent atmosphere inside the ground this afternoon. An early goal would send the noise levels up a few more notches, I would suspect.
1 min - Ilan does well to turn away from three Sunderland players, but his attempted pass to Cole is cut out by Turner. West Ham keep up the early pressure, though.
3pm - We're off and running...
2.59pm - Anton Ferdinand gets a proper East End welcome back. He'll play at right-back today, I would think. The two captains meet in the centre circle and it looks like we're staying as we are, with West Ham attacking the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand end of the stadium. The Hammers will kick-off...
2.57pm - To the strains of 'Bubbles', the two teams enter the arena. The fans are in good voice, as always. Sunderland are in all-white, bar black sleeves. West Ham, of course, are in claret and blue. A few clouds have formed over ths stadium, but it's still bright and sunny and, dare I say, nice and warm. Ilan looks focused ahead of his first home start for the club. A first home goal would be nice, too.
2.55pm - It's Grand National day, of course, but we could certainly do without West Ham falling over any hurdles this afternoon. Like any good office, the backroom staff cajoled a few players into entering the traditional sweepstake. Carlton Cole drew 'Character Building', while Manuel da Costa's fiver is on 'The Package'.
2.50pm - Former West Ham and Sunderland winger Harry Hooper is introduced to the crowd. Hooper was a star here at the Boleyn Ground during the early 1950s, and was actually named as a standby for England's FIFA World Cup squad in 1954. Unfortunately, a certain Stanley Matthews stood between Hooper and a place in Walter Winterbottom's squad.
2.45pm - They may be injured at present, but James Tomkins and Zavon Hines are both here to support their squad-mates. Mido has spent the morning working at Chadwell Heath, having missed two days of training during the week after falling ill. For some reason, AC/DC's 'Highway to Hell' is being played over the PA system. Let's hope that's not an omen!
2.40pm - I don't think anyone would argue if I suggested that this is a rather important afternoon here at the Boleyn Ground. Victory would not only keep West Ham ahead of Hull City, but it would also see the Hammers leapfrog Wigan Athletic. The Latics would have a game in-hand, but they still have to visit east London, and also possess a vastly inferior goal difference.
Good afternoon and welcome to a bright and sunny Boleyn Ground for today's Barclays Premier League meeting with Sunderland.
Gianfranco Zola has made two enforced changes to his starting lineup for this afternoon's match, with Valon Behrami and Ilan replacing the suspended Scott Parker and Mido, who was ill earlier in the week.
Brazilian Ilan will make his second start for the club after scoring in the 2-2 draw at Everton last Sunday. Behrami will start on the left side of midfield, with Mark Noble joining Radoslav Kovac in the Hammers' engine room.
Sunderland have no fewer than three ex-Hammers in their matchday 18, with Anton Ferdinand and Kieran Richardson starting and Matthew Kilgallon among the substitutes.
West Ham United: Green, Faubert, Da Costa, Upson, Spector, Stanislas, Kovac, Noble, Behrami, Ilan, Cole
Subs: Kurucz, Spence, Gabbidon, Daprela, Diamanti, Franco, McCarthy
Sunderland: Gordon, Ferdinand, Da Silva, Turner, Richardson, Malbranque, Cattermole, Henderson, Meyler, Campbell, Bent
Subs: Carson, Hutton, Bardsley, Kilgallon, Zenden, Jones, Benjani