Sunderland 2-2 West Ham: Draw edges Black Cats closer to relegation
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 15/04/17 6:19pm
Sunderland edged ever closer to relegation from the Premier League despite a valiant 2-2 draw with West Ham at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Wahbi Khazri scored direct from a corner (26) and substitute Fabio Borini netted with his first touch (90) as the hosts cancelled out strikes from Andre Ayew (5) and James Collins (47) for the Hammers.
The encouraging performance will do little for Sunderland's survival bid though, with the Wearsiders left needing favours to avoid dropping into the Sky Bet Championship.
The draw leaves the Black Cats rooted to the foot of the table, nine points from safety with just six games left to secure their top-flight status.
Having seen Sam Byram dismissed for two bookable offences late on, West Ham held on for a point which sees them climb to 13th.
David Moyes shuffled his pack following last Sunday's defeat to Manchester United, making four changes, the most notable of which saw Khazri handed his first start since October.
Andy Carroll replaced the injured Michail Antonio and deputised for suspended captain Mark Noble, who was replaced in midfield by Edimilson Fernandes.
And Carroll had a hand in West Ham's opener, turning Robert Snodgrass' deep cross back for Ayew, who kept his cool to poke the ball past the on-rushing Jordan Pickford., who had already denied a Manuel Lanzini free-kick.
The Hammers were a yard away from doubling their lead on 21 minutes but, having shaped to pick out the far corner, Snodgrass' effort whistled past Pickford's near post.
Byram's shoulder barge on Jermain Defoe went unpunished as Sunderland saw tame penalty appeals ignored by referee Andre Marriner.
But their complaints soon turned to cheers as Khazri's corner flew into the back of the net via the post, ending the hosts' 701-minute wait for a league goal in front of their own fans.
2016 - Wahbi Khazri's goal was the first scored direct from a corner in the Premier League since Ben Watson vs Man City in Jan 2016. Whip.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 15, 2017
West Ham should have restored their lead on 36 minutes but Ayew, having nipped ahead of the better-placed Snodgrass, swivelled and fired over from close range.
Sunderland responded by seeing out the half the stronger of the two sides, with Khazri drawing Darren Randolph into a save in stoppage-time.
The positivity evaporated just two minutes into the second period as, just as they did against Manchester United, the hosts conceded immediately after the restart, Collins glancing Snodgrass' corner home.
Didier Ndong spurned the best chance of the game to haul the hosts level, but his rash 72nd-minute effort, after fine play from Khazri, typified Sunderland's plight.
Things then took a turn for the worse when right-back Billy Jones sustained a serious injury following a collision with Arthur Masuaku and required seven minutes of treatment.
13 - Sunderland have conceded more headed goals than any other Premier League side this season. Bombardment.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 15, 2017
However his replacement, Borini, wasted no time in lightening the mood, punishing Randolph's handling error to drill the hosts level at the end of normal time.
The indication of 10 minutes of additional time, plus Byram's dismissal for a second booking, only added to the hosts' hope of staging a dramatic comeback but it failed to materialise as Sunderland were left on the brink of the drop.
4 - Darren Randolph has made more errors leading to goals than any other player in the Premier League this season. Clumsy.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 15, 2017
Sunderland: Pickford (6), Jones (6), O'Shea (6), Denayer (5), Manquillo (5), Cattermole (5), Ndong (4), Gibson (5), Khazri (6), Defoe (5), Anichebe (5).
Used subs: Borini (6), Kone (n/a), Januzaj (4).
West Ham: Randolph (4), Byram (4), Collins (6), Fonte (7), Masuaku (5), Ayew (6), Fernandes (5), Kouyate (6), Snodgrass (6), Lanzini (5), Carroll (6).
Used subs: Nordtveit (4), Calleri (n/a).
Man of the Match: Jose Fonte.