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Nationwide Division One
Saturday, 13th March 2004

Sunderland 2
West Ham United 0

by Visiting Mackem

A scrappy defeat in a hugely disappointing game could be the least of Alan Pardew's worries if Mattie Etherington's injury keeps him out for any length of time.

Without their influential wide man Hammers looked bereft of any sort of creativity - much as they did during his previous absence against Walsall.

And that surely contributed to a game where neither side created much in a congested midfield, while referee R Beeby managed to award more than 50 free kicks without ever taking control of the game.

The injury to Etherington, who was combining with Jon Harley to clear an attack down the Sunderland right when a pair of crunching tackles from Stephen Wright and Jeff Whitley left them both sprawled on the turf was the only talking point of the first half.

Clearly Wright's challenge was a poor one, though as Pardew admitted after the match he did get the ball on his way to the man. Mr Beeby's decision to book Whitley alone for a clearly late foul on Harley was hard to understand, unless he felt Wright's effort was "hard but fair". I'd want to see it again, to be honest.

Apart from that, Sunderland produced one half-decent footballing move down their left, Jobi McAnuff had a long-range shot that was comfortable for Mart Poom, and that was about it. Too many passes went astray and too many petty free-kicks were awarded to make for much of a spectacle.

After the break Hammers made the first couple of opportunities but still couldn't trouble Poom until they had fallen behind. And the goal was a scrappy one as McCartney's free kick squirmed around the six-yard box until the lanky Kevin Kyle walloped it home from close range.

Marlon Harewood almost punished a dithering McCartney moments later, but his cross towards Bobby Zamora was charged behind by Wright. The introduction of Brian Deane may heave contributed to a 15-minute burst of more determined West Ham attacking, but there was no sign of a clear chance. The injured David Connolly (thigh strain) might have possessed the guile needed, but with Zamora anonymous, McAnuff lightweight and the rest of the midfield hamstrung by sloppy errors they were always going to struggle.

Sunderland's second goal, on 76 minutes, killed off the match. Again it was scrappy as John Oster's shot was fumbled by Stephen Bywater and Whitley charged Christian Dailly's goal-line clearance into the net.

All in all, a dismal match and some shocking refereeing. On the bright side ... we won It says a lot about the turnaround Mick McCarthy has inspired at the club that we are grinding out results again. A year ago we would have been nowhere near winning that game. It may also suggest that Pardew's efforts to work a similar change of culture at the Boleyn have a while longer to run.

Hope the Hammers' fans had a better weekend off the field than their team had on it.

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Player Ratings

Stephen Bywater
Comments to follow.


Jon Harley
Comments to follow.


Andy Melville
Comments to follow.


Christian Dailly
Comments to follow.


Tomas Repka
Comments to follow.


Nigel Reo-Coker
Comments to follow.


Michael Carrick
Comments to follow.


Marlon Harewood
Comments to follow.


Matthew Etherington
Comments to follow.


Bobby Zamora
Comments to follow.


Jobi McAnuff
Comments to follow.


Substitutes


Kevin Horlock
(Replaced Etherington, 17) Comments to follow.


Brian Deane
(Replaced McAnuff, 63) Comments to follow.


Adam Nowland
(Replaced Reo-Coker, 82) Comments to follow.


Pavel Srnicek
Did not play.


Anton Ferdinand
Did not play.



Match Facts

Referee: R.Beeby.

Attendance: 29553.

Man of the Match: To be confirmed.

West Ham United

Goals:                    

Booked: Kevin Horlock 42 Jobi McAnuff 44 Nigel Reo-Coker 72 Christian Dailly 85 Tomas Repka 89 Bobby Zamora 90.

Sent Off: None sent off.     .

Sunderland

Poom, Babb, Breen, McCarthy, Wright, Thornton, Thirlwell, Oster, Whitley, Kyle, Smith.

Substitutes: Byfield (Smith 79), Piper (Oster 79), Williams (Thornton 86).

Subs not used: Ingham, Cooper.

Goals: Kyle (61), Wihtley (76).

Booked: Whitley (15).

Sent Off: None sent off..

 
Match Report