Premier League
Sunderland 1-0 West Ham United 

Sunday, 5th December 2010
by Staff Writer

West Ham are back at the bottom of the Premier League after going down at the Stadium of Light to Jordan Henderson's first half strike.

The new England international scored the only goal of the game on 34 minutes to heap more misery on Avram Grant and his squad, now in serious danger of going into Christmas bottom of the league.

United went into the game in 19th place following Wolves' 3-0 defeat at Blackburn yesterday - but their respite from the bottom of the pile lasted just 24 hours as the single-goal defeat was enough to see them fall below Wanderers by virtue of goal scored (Wolves' 17 to West Ham's 14, with both teams having a goal difference of -13).

Despite the refreshing performance against Manchester United in midweek it was back to the old ways today as once again, the Hammers positioned ten men behind the ball in hope of catching their hosts on the break.

New coach Wally Downes, praised so highly in the past week for his influence in the last two solid performances will ceertainly have questions to ask of his defensive unit today - for it was a failed offside trap that led to the game's only goal.

An unattentive Tal Ben Haim, retained in the starting XI following Tuesday night's excellent outing found himself adrift of his three fellow defenders allowing Asamoah Gyan to break down the right.

Gyan's cross was perfectly weighted for the young Henderson who found the back of the net from 10 yards with a placed effort, giving the Black Cats a win that takes them to an impressive 7th place.

Although the Hammers had their chances - most notably Jonathan Spector almost replicating his mazy run of Tuesday night with an effort that missed it's target by inches and Victor Obinna hitting the post with a second half effort - there was little of the desire or drive that typified the thrashing of Manchester United.

West Ham set out their stall to defend in numbers early on, hoping to catch Sunderland on the break.

Only at Birmingham this season has this style of play proved fruitful - not withstanding how painful it is to watch a West Ham team position ten (sometimes 11) men behind the ball, in their own third of the pitch, in hope of snatching a 1-0 win.

Former manager Alan Curbishley went from hero to zero in a matter of months as a result of his dour, negative tactics.

Avram Grant - with just two league wins to boast of this season - will do well to note that West Ham supporters expect more from their team - and not just in one-off cup games.

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Player Ratings

Robert Green
Comments to follow.

Danny Gabbidon
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Tal Ben Haim
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James Tomkins
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Matthew Upson
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Jonathan Spector
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Scott Parker
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Kieron Dyer
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Luis Boa Morte
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Victor Obinna
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Carlton Cole
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Frederic Piquionne
(Replaced Boa Morte, 69 mins) Comments to follow.

Zavon Hines
(Replaced Dyer, 69 mins) Comments to follow.

Julien Faubert
(Replaced Ben-Haim, 83 mins) Comments to follow.

Marek Stech
Did not play.

Winston Reid
Did not play.

Radoslav Kovac
Did not play.

Pablo Barrera
Did not play.

Match Facts

West Ham United: Robert Green, Danny Gabbidon, Tal Ben Haim, James Tomkins, Matthew Upson, Jonathan Spector, Scott Parker, Kieron Dyer, Luis Boa Morte, Victor Obinna, Carlton Cole.

Goals: None.

Booked: Scott Parker  Luis Boa Morte  Carlton Cole       .

Sent off: None.

Sunderland: Gordon, Onuoha, Mensah, Ferdinand, Bardsley, Henderson, Cattermole, Richardson, Welbeck, Gyan, Bent.

Subs not used: Mignolet, Angeleri, Da Silva, Riveros.

Goals: Henderson (34).

Booked: .

Sent off: None.

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Attendance: 36,940.

Man of the Match: James Tomkins.