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Saturday, 13th January 2001

West Ham United 0
Sunderland 2

by Amanda Lake

I've heard the name Sven Goran Eriksson so many times in the last few days that all I'll say is that he was present at this game. That's it.

Now when you look at the scoreline you would think that we took a battering but when I was coming out of the ground I could not believe that we had just lost to them.

We were caught at two set pieces. There first came from the giant defender Varga. The free kick was played into the box and Varga rose to nod the ball in the back of the net.

Before their goal we had been on top in my view. Cole was looking good and really should have scored at one point but his shooting let him down. That is my only fault of Cole. His shooting is the one thing that brings him down. He just doesn't seem to get the power behind his shots. Hopefully that will come.

Di Canio had an opportunity but hit his shot straight at the keeper. Kanoute also went close.

So when Sunderland went 1-0 up it took me by surprise. Yes they did have a header from Hutchinson cleared off the line by Winterburn (from another set piece I might add) but I really thought that we were going to get the first. It just wasn't to be.

We had no Carrick in midfield and it showed. Lomas who said he was staying at the club in the week was playing in his preferred role in the centre and yes, he did a lot of running and shouting but for me that just wasn't good enough.

And Lampard - everyone's been having a go at him but today it was justified. He was nowhere to be seen.

Di Canio was stuck out on the left for must of the game and it wasn't until the second half (still at 1-0) when he had our best chance. A super pass from Joe Cole sent Di Canio through and from a narrow angle he hit the post. It was then when I knew it wasn't going to be our day.

Now you might be thinking - ˜why hasn't he mentioned the ref?' Well here it is. He was awful. I can't remember in the match when we had 2 minutes without the whistle being blown. Every second there'd be a free kick for this and for that. It was beyond a joke at times.

They got a really dubious free kick on 68 minutes and as he was counting the 10 yards back Don Hutchinson took the kick. Forrest in goal (who replaced the injured Hislop at half time) must have seen it late because he just didn't get over to it. That was the killer. Again we didn't deserve it.

Sunderland to be fair looked quite good. Our second half performance was poor and maybe Sunderland will think that they were the better side. I just think that they kept it going and we sat back too often. We really lacked a dominating centre half. We have to get one in sooner rather than later.

Overall - very disappointing.

Player Ratings

Shaka 6 - Got injured and went off at half time.

S Pearce 7 - Still looking good.

Song 6 - Ok. Looked a bit dodgy at times.

Tihinen 6 - Done an ok job on Quinn. He ain't the answer though.

Winterburn 7 - For me he was our best player. He looked good and always did the right thing.

Sinclair 5 - Didn't do himself justice.

Lampard 4 - another bad game for Frank. He got lost in the game and we didn't see much of him.

Lomas 5 - Tried his best and gave his all. But at this level that's not enough.

Di Canio 6 - Stuck on the left for most of the game. Very ineffective.

COLE 7 - A lot has been made of his performance and yes he did look our only threat going forward but his performance can only be described as patchy.

Kanoute 6 - If there was more supply for him he would have done better. Didn't start too badly but faded.

Subs

Camara 6 - ( on for Tihinen) Wasn't on for long but he looked the same - Poor.

Forrest 6 - (on for Shaka) Not too bad - probably at fault for the second goal though.

Subs not used: Basilla, Moncur, Potts.

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