Sunderland (1) 1 West Ham (0) 0: Henderson’s class clinches it

Not a game with any great talking points. The referee Martin Atkinson had a fairly easy match, though the booking of Cattermole looked pre-ordained and was certainly harsh. Had he been as harsh with Carlton Cole, West Ham would have been down to 10 earlyish in the second half.

What did distinguish the game was the goal, a finish of control and quality from Jordan Henderson after Gyan broke down the right and sent over a cross that was spot-on but still left work to do.

Sunderland were comfortable for the lead apart from a minor flurry of end-of-half pressure, and then fell into bad old habits after the break, defending far too deep and getting nothing of real promise anywhere near Darren Bent, who was eventually withdrawn.

This did present the chance for a number of breaks, and from one of these, late, Welbeck missed a chance in a confused goalmouth that Bent would probably have converted.

At least we did not lapse into that other bad habit: conceding a late goal to change the result. Pete Sixsmith will deal with events at greater length, and from a shorter distance, but it looked and felt like an open, entertaining game with bursts of quality but long spells of ordinariness.

West Ham rarely looked capable of scoring, despite enjoying growing possession as the game wore on. Three welcome points that take us back to seventh; it is good to be able to win even when, except in short spells, we do not perform in convincing style.

Starting teams:

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

West Ham

Green, Ben Haim, Gabbidon, Upson, Tomkins, Dyer, Parker, Cole, Boa Morte, Spector. Obinna.

Monsieur Salut

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