Hammers Punish Former Boss

West Ham cause more problems for former manager Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland side in a 1-0 win, as Manny Sarpong reports...

The Hammers extended their unbeaten home run to 13 games with a win over Sunderland, to heap more pressure on to the struggling north east team.

And Allardyce, on his return to his former club, was left frustrated by the missed chances. Speaking to BBC Sport after the game, he said: “the bottom line is we haven’t scored. Not converting chances is costly and it’s a victory lost on chances created.”

Michail Antonio’s first-half goal proved the difference. After being gifted the ball by a defender Patrick van Aanholt error, the midfielder weaved into the box and struck low into the bottom corner of Vito Mannone’s goal – scoring his fifth in 15 starts for the club.

The hosts were twice denied by the woodwork as well. Mark Noble’s first-half strike was palmed on to the bar after a brilliant reflex save from Mannone, while Andy Carroll’s second half hard-hit volley smashed off the cross bar as Hammers rued chances to get a second goal.

However, at the other end Black Cats substitute Jack Rodwell had the ball in the net for Sunderland but was ruled out for a handball – he handled it in the build-up. The home side restricted the visitors to very few chances, playing a good possession game to preserve their lead.

The Hammers continue to be impressive under new manager, and the win means West Ham move up to sixth place on 43 points – their highest total ever after 27 Premier League games. Allardyce’s side remain second from bottom on 23 points, one behind Newcastle and Norwich.

Allardyce left West Ham last summer when the club board failed to renew his contract. Croatian Slaven Bilic was brought in as his replacement and has maintained a good form for the East London club hoping to play European football next season in their new Olympic Stadium.

Sunderland next welcome Crystal Palace to the Stadium of Light in a difficult Premier League fixture, while Hammers also face a tough home game against in-form rivals Tottenham Hotspurs.