West Ham finally ended their rotten run of form by clinching maximum points against Sunderland at Upton Park on Saturday evening thanks to Hammers top scorer Diafra Sakho’s 10 Premier League goal.
With West Ham trying to correct their one win in 12 games, and Sunderland looking to impress new boss Dick Advocaat, this had the potential to be an intriguing game.
The first chance of the game fell to the visitors. A breakaway by West Ham villain Jermain Defoe resulted in his teammate Conor Wickham unleashing a fierce drive which was parried by Adrian.
Centre half Wes Brown only lasted 11 minutes, and was forced off with a knee injury. Sebastian Vergini replaced the former Manchester United man.
After 14 minutes, Defoe had a chance to put the Black Cats ahead but his blazing shot went over the bar. Then it was the home team's spell to command the action.
First, captain Kevin Nolan forced a save from Costel Pantilimon, before top scorer Diafra Sakho headed the ball from a Matt Jarvis cross narrowly past the right hand post.
With the 15 minutes between Sakho’s chances and the 31 minute containing no goalmouth action, Alex Song livened the crowd with a stunning volley from 25 yards out which Pantillimon dealt with expertly.
The lacklustre first half ended goalless and to bring more direction to the game, winger Matt Jarvis was replaced by striker Carlton Cole for the second half.
When Kevin Nolan was brought down and linesman Andrew Halliday waved his flag, many of the home faithful thought they would see their first penalty at Upton Park since the opening day of the season. However, referee Lee Mason judged that Nolan was in an offside position.
Despite his off field problems, winger Adam Johnson was brought on in place of Steven Fletcher.
Adrian was made to work after 77 minutes, dealing with a swirling 25 yard shot from left back Patrick Van Aanholt.
At the death, Diafra Sakho produced a sublime finish which looked to have clinched all three points for the Hammers for the first time since January 18.
West Ham: Adrian, Jenkinson, Collins, Kouyate, Cresswell; Noble, Song, Nolan © (Nene, 82), Downing, Jarvis (Cole, 45); Sakho (O’Brien, 90).
Subs Not Used: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Amalfitano, Poyet.
Sunderland: Pantilimon, Reveillere, O’Shea ©, Brown (Vergini, 11), Van Aanholt; Rodwell, Gomez, Larsson; Wickham, Defoe (Graham, 89), Fletcher (Johnson, 75).
Subs Not Used: Mannone, Jones, Bridcutt, Watmore.
ATT: 34, 914