Writer: Michael Briggs
Date:Sunday December 5 2010
After that last gasp defeat last week at Wolves, Sunderland needed to bounce back and bounce back they did, but struggle is one word to describe the performance.
England international Jordan Henderson scored his first goal of the season after converting a low cross from Asamoah Gyan.
Victor Obinna hit the post in the closing stages of the second half while Scott Parker also had a chance to get on the score sheet.
Sunderland now sit comfortably in seventh after that result and leaves the Hammers now at the foot of the table.
It was the second game that the Black Cats have put Anton Ferdinand and John Mensah in the heart of the back four to replace the injured Michael Turner and Titus Bramble and both put in a stern performance as Steve Bruce looked to pile on the offensive option with Darren Bent and Gyan starting upfront.
A dry first half in which both sides failed to test either keeper, summed up a poor first half, Kieran Richardson skying an effort way over the bar and Tal Ben-Haim nervously heading away a Henderson cross for a corner.
Darren Bent later tired and audacious effort from the edge of the box but could only watch as his shot fly wide of the goal.
Carlton Cole almost caused Craig Gordon problems when Mensah totally missed a clearance but partner Ferdinand was there to clear the ball away.
Jonathan Spector then ripped the home defence apart when he dribbled through four plays only for his shot to just go past the post.
Obinna then later had his own effort but his long range scuffed shot dribbled past Craig Gordon post.
It would be the 35th minute when Sunderland finally made the breakthrough and regardless of the attackers on the pitch it would be a midfielder that would claim a goal.
Nedum Onuoha floated a long ball to record signing Gyan who delivered and whipping low cross and Henderson fired home to send relief around the Stadium of Light.
West Ham bounced back and nearly immediately retaliated at the start of the second half when Obinna took advantage of a mix up in the Sunderland defence to find Carlton Cole, whose shot whistled past Gordon's left-hand post.
Gyan was at it again later this time his fiery shot towards the bottom corner put Robert Green was equal to it and parried it away from goal.
Sunderland then should have then sealed the game with a second when again Gyan flicked a neat lob to Richardson who couldn`t quite get a hold of the ball but enough to make Green spill it, Danny Welbeck then collected the rebound, took a touch and had his effort blocked by James Tomkins.
Manager Steve Bruce praised his side and felt his side fully deserved the victory and all three points.
He told SAFC.com 'I thought we deserved it. We needed a second goal but it wasn't coming.
'It was important we got back to winning ways - I'm delighted with a lot of performances, especially the back four with their clean sheet.
'With the loss of Turner and Bramble I threw down the gauntlet to Ferdinand and Mensah this week and they've responded magnificently.
'They did well, particularly as they were up against players like Cole, Obinna and Picquionne.
'We needed to respond and I thought we deserved the win.
'It was a great team goal to win the game and a great finish from Jordan,' Bruce said. 'Let's hope that's the first of many.
'We looked a bit unbalanced at times with Danny Welbeck, Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan, but with those three playing the one thing we are is a threat.
'Some of our football in the first half was fantastic. It was always going to be difficult because they sat in and played with four centre-halves across the back.'
Date:Sunday December 5 2010
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|17. West Ham||15||3||4||8||-6||13|
|19. Crystal Palace||15||4||1||10||-12||13|
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