Sunderland 2-2 West Ham United

Sunderland 2-2 West Ham United
West Ham United extended their unbeaten run in the league to five games after coming back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Sunderland.

First-half goals from Steven Fletcher and Jeremain put the Black Cats in a commanding position, yet the Hammers dug deep and rallied through strikes from Carl Jenkinson and Dimitri Payet.

The Hammers went into the game looking for their fourth consecutive away win of the season however a sluggish start to the game was punished as Steve Fletcher, unmarked from a free-kick, fired home to give the Black Cats an early lead.

Just moments later, the hosts went close to doubling their lead as Fabio Borini worked a yard of space before smashing his effort into the side netting. A let off as the Stadium of Light was rocking.

The Irons’ first chance of the match fell to livewire Manuel Lanzini who carried the ball 40 yards before trying a speculative effort from range.

Dick Advocaat’s men made the most of their spell on top when Jeremain Lens picked up a loose pass in midfield and managed to pull off an audacious chip just out of Adrian’s reach. 2-0 Sunderland who were value for their lead.

Nevertheless, as the half wore on, the Hammers grew into the game, yet they had few chances to speak of and it was Borini who could, perhaps should, have put the game out of sight.

The forward ran on to Ola Toivonen’s exquisite flicked pass and fired inches wide of Adrian’s right-hand post.

This warning sign appeared to strike the visitors into life and they gave themselves a lifeline just before half-time after a sustained period of pressure resulted in Carl Jenkinson sweeping home Victor Moses’ cross. 2-1 at the break and all to play for.

Whatever Slaven Bilic said at half-time seemed to have the desired effect as the Claret and Blues came out with a much greater intensity and purpose.

Sensing the change in tides, Sunderland became more compact in an attempt to see the game out; however their task was made much harder when Lens was sent off after picking up a second yellow card. The change in atmosphere was palpable.

Bilic brought on Nikica Jelavic to add a further presence up front and the switch paid off as just after the hour mark, the Irons drew level thanks to superb work from Lanzini, a willing runner all day, who teed up Payet. The Frenchmen, clean through on goal, was never going to miss.

Just moments later, Payet turned provider as he whipped in an inviting ball for Jelavic to hurl himself at. Somehow from under the cross bar the Croatian connected yet it ballooned up and over.

Into the final minutes, Bilic’s side were well on top yet could not quite find the final incisive ball. They enjoyed plenty of possession and balls into the box, yet Sunderland stood firm.

Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, Cattermole, Borini, O’Shea ©, Lens, Toivonen (Larsson 83), M’vila (Gomez 90), Coates, Yedlin, Fletcher (Rodwell 83)
Subs: Mannone, Van Aanholt, Brown, Defoe

Bookings: Lens, Cattermole, Coates

Sent off: Lens

Goals: Fletcher 10, Lens 22

West Ham United: Adrian, Reid (Collins 66), Cresswell, Tomkins, Kouyate, Jenkinson, Sakho, Noble © (Zarate 79), Moses (Jelavic 58), Payet, Lanzini

Subs: Randolph, Obiang, Antonio, Oxford

Bookings: Noble, Reid, Cresswell, Jenkinson

Goals: Jenkinson 45, Payet 61

Referee: Neil Swarbrick