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Saturday, 1st December 2001

Sunderland 1
West Ham United 0

by Liam Tyrell

The main story of this game was the varying fortunes of two strikers.Jermain Defoe caused havoc in the home defence with his pace but was unable to convert any of his three or four chances. Meanwhile World Cup hopeful Kevin Phillips tucked away his one and only real sniff at goal to give Sunderland a fortunate win.

Fortune was indeed hiding for the Hammers as they had dominated most of the middle period of the game. For around 20 minutes either side of the break West Ham's waves of attacks had the Wearsiders wondering how they would stay in the game.

Schemmel and Sinclair created several openings on the right but
once again the final ball into the box was not accurate enough, especially from Archie.

It was Sincs who released Defoe for the best chance of the first half, he raced away but placed his shot narrowly wide of the far post.

It was a bitterly cold afternoon, but the manner in which the Hammers bombarded the Black Cats at the start of the second half warmed up the travelling Irons nicely in anticipation of three deserved points.

Danish keeper Sorenson saved his sides bacon on several occassions with the Hammers well on top. His heroics included a double save , first parrying Defoe's effort before deflecting Carick's follow up drive onto the bar. Joe Cole was then unlucky to be denied by the great Dane.

At the other end David James only trouble was trying to stay warm.

Either side of this period of Irons control it was a scrappy but fiercely fought affair, littered with free kicks and some very iffy offside calls. As in last seasons Cup triumph at the same stadium there was some very debatable offside decisions. Last time round it was Kanoute who was denied but eventually rewarded, this time Defoe ws denied only he couldn't profit from his perseverance.

Repka was outstanding especially in the opening exchanges in dealing with big Quinny. Dailly made his daily error losing Phillips for the cruel late goal after earlier getting away with another error.

The home crowd were subdued throughout except for the constant boos for their hate figure Hutchison. You have to raise a glass for Bud for responding with one of his best games to date for us. Solid, committed and strong he put in a real captain of the day display, one that deserved reward on his return.

The draw would have been acceptable but we deserved all three for outplaying this average Sunderland side. No wonder it's called the Stadium of Sh*te.

Monkey head Peter Reid admired Sinclair, was guilty of losing possession that resulted in the Mackems lucky break. Arca raced away to cross for Phillips to net with just five minutes left on the clock. The man who Glenn Roeder plucked from non league football had stolen the points.

Time for us all to reflect on those wasted Defoe chances.

Player Ratings:

James (7) Steady, rarely troubled.

Schemmel (7) Good first half but leaves us open when too far advanced.

Dailly (6) Okay but still made a couple of errors.

Repka (8) Stopped the threat of Quinn.

Minto (6) Steady game.

Sinclair (6) Bright start, guilty party, lost ball that led to goal.

Carrick (7) Won plenty of tussles along with fellow Geordie Hutch.

Hutchison (8) Well up for it, won most of his tackles. Impressive. Man of the match.

Cole (7) Plenty of lively runs but too many down blind alleys,
tired before being withdrawn.

Kitson (6) Co. Durham boy worked hard but not effective enough.

Defoe (7) Pace caused problems, should have scored from his many chances.

Subs:

Moncur (6) Eleven minutes without being booked - well some things are looking up.

Todorov (6) Only on for a matter of seconds.

Liam Tyrell

West Ham United: James, Sinclair, Repka, Dailly, Schemmel, Minto (Todorov 90), Hutchison, Carrick, Cole, Kitson, Defoe

Subs: Moncur (Cole 79), Todorov (Minto 90), Hislop, Potts, Courtois

Sunderland: Sorensen, Haas, Williams, Thome, Gray, McAteer, McCann, Thirlwell, Arca, Quinn, Phillips

Subs: Butler (McAteer 18), Laslandes (Quinn 57), Macho, McCartney, Schwarz

Goals: Phillips (85)

Booked: Thirlwell, Butler, Haas.

Attendance: 47,437

Referee: Peter Jones

Man of the Match: Don Hutchison

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