Doomed Sunderland salvaged a small bit of pride twice coming from behind to draw 2 -2 with West Ham United at the SOL on Saturday in an eventful game. Andre Ayew opened the scoring inside five minutes for the visitors before Wahbi Khazri equalised from a corner midway through the first half. David Moyes was jeered by sections of the crowd for much of the game and his side fell behind again early in the second half through a James Collins goal before substitute Fabio Borini nicked a point at the death.
Sunderland welcomed West Ham United to Wearside with David Moyes’ side grimly looking to avoid a fourth straight defeat and attempting to at least find the back of the net having gone seven games without scoring. The misery continued midweek with the news that Seb Larsson’s appeal over his dismissal on Sunday against Manchester United was rejected and Bryan Oviedo was side-lined for the season.
There was some positive team news with John O’Shea available for the first time since the death of his father and Adnan Januzaj being available having sat out the game against his parent club on Sunday. West Ham were boosted by the availability of Andy Carrol, Aaron Cresswell and Sam Byram although Mark Noble missed the game due to suspension.
Moyes made four changes to the side that lost against Manchester United with O’Shea returning at the heart of the defence in place of Kone, Manquillo deputising for Oviedo, Gibson replacing Rodwell and surprisingly Khazri starting in place of the suspended Larsson.
Khazri was immediately in the thick of the action from the kick of skipping past a couple of challenges before being felled but it was Bilic’s side who took an early lead. A long diagonal ball was played to the back post for the stretching Andy Carroll who crossed for Ayew who managed to scramble the ball into the back of the net.
Sunderland tried to respond and Khazri delivered a decent free kick onto the head of O’Shea but Randolph got down low to grasp the ball. Khazri was again in the thick of things soon after teeing up Gibson on the edge of the box with a low free kick rolled into the path of the Irishman but he was caught off guard and sliced the ball wide.
We drew level soon after in remarkable fashion after Sunderland forced a corner after good work from Anichebe. Khazri whipped in a curling cross which beat everyone and nestled into the roof of the net sending the home fans wild who had almost forgotten how to celebrate a goal. A large section of the crowd in the South Stand had already made their feelings known to Moyes chanting for his dismissal and booing his every appearance on dugout.
Khazri’s goal sparked cries of “are you watching David Moyes” in response to the managers treatment of the Tunisian and it is difficult to disagree with as for any faults he may have he at least looks threatening going forward and is exciting to watch something that has been in very short supply. At the other end Wes Ham had a great chance to take the lead when Carroll and Ayew combined again but this time Ayew volleyed over. We ended the half on top with Defoe seeing a shot blocked before Khazri rolled a tame shot at the keeper after being teed up by Defoe.
We went in level at the break but as was the case last Sunday Moyes’ side conceded almost instantly from the restart when James Collins glanced in Snodgrass’ corner. Sunderland searched for an equaliser and Khazri whipped a free kick onto the roof of the net before with half an hour to go he produced a great piece of skill to set up N’Dong but the midfielder blazed over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Defoe had a shot blocked from close range before the game went a bit crazy after Sunderland replaced Cattermole with Januzaj as Billy Jones went down after clashing with Masuaku and needed lengthy treatment before being stretchered off. Jones was replaced by Fabio Borini before Moyes made a final change reverting to a back three with Kone replacing Manquillo.
The changes paid off almost instantly after Randolph flapped at a cross under pressure from Anichebe allowing Borini to drive home a volley. The Italian celebrated like he had just scored the winner in the World Cup final sliding on his knees in front of the bench and saluting all four sides of the ground which was a bit extravagant given our predicament and the fact it’s the only decent thing he’s done for months.
There was ten minutes of injury time after Jones’ injury and though Sunderland searched for a winner it wasn’t coming. The visitors were reduced to ten men for the final five minutes after Sam Byram picked up a second yellow but the lads couldn’t capitalise on the extra man advantage.
Final Score – Sunderland 2 West Ham United 2
ALS Man of the Match – Wahbi Khazri
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