Sunderland v West Ham as it happened

West Ham win 2-1 at Sunderland to deepen the Black Cats’ Premier League relegation worries.

31 March 2014 Last updated at 18:58

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As it happened

  1. 22:42: 

    That is it from us for another night of intriguing Premier League action as West Ham take a giant step towards top flight safety and Sunderland remain firmly in trouble.

    We take a break from league action tomorrow as the Champions League resumes at the quarter-final stage. You can follow live text commentary of Manchester United's first leg against Bayern Munich at Old Trafford on the BBC Sport website.

    Thanks for your company. Good night.

  2. 22:37: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    It has been a fairly miserable season for Sunderland fans at the Stadium of Light this season. Their side have the worst home record in the Premier League this campaign - with just 12 points - and they have only scored 13 goals on their own turf. It is no surprise they are deep in the relegation mire looking at those stats.

  3. 22:35: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Opta Joe on twitter: Adam Johnson has been involved in 10 (scored seven, assisted three) of Sunderland's 13 PL goals in 2014.

  4. 22:32: 
    Manager reaction- Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Gus Poyet speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live:

    "We are not going to give up, we have shown tonight that we will not give up. If I see a team out there not trying and to putting effort in I will leave straight away, I did not see that and we will continue fighting.

    "I'm trying to use Adam[Johnson] in the best way we can, the more spaces there are the more influential he will be. It would be very easy for me to say he will start next Monday but I don't know. We talk about Jonno and how much he affects games coming on.

    "Today everybody would agree we were the better team but we lost and that is the most important thing. We were looking to win the game somehow."

  5. 22:29: 
    Manager reaction- Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    The Uruguayan looks pretty despondent as he carries out his media duties but is full of praise for the character his side showed. "We are not going to give up," Gus Poyet said about Sunderland's Premier League future.

  6. 22:27: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Sunderland manager Gus Poyet is speaking to the BBC now and is adamant his side should have been awarded a penalty for Kevin Nolan's first-half handball.

  7. 22:26: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Opta Joe on twitter: 7 - Only four players (Sturridge, Suarez, Gerrard & Yaya Toure) have scored more PL goals in 2014 than Adam Johnson.

  8. 22:23: 
    Manager reaction- Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    West Ham manager Sam Allardyce speaking to the BBC:

    "It was a fantastic win for us and we've now gone an extra distance away from Sunderland after that win.

    "If Andy Carroll stays fit from now to the end of the season hopefully he can go to the World Cup, he's scoring goals and winning games for us. He's not match fit at the moment, he isn't as sharp as he could be so hopefully we'll see more from him in the next few weeks.

    "We've had a run of form in the last eight games where we've picked up 15 points from 8 games, results like that over the course of a season mean a top six finish."

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    Andrew: Gus Poyet is going to have to perform miracles in the final weeks of this Premier League season if he is going to keep his Sunderland side in the top flight. They're going to have to get results against some big teams, as 5 of their remaining 8 games are against Spurs, Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United. Things really don't look good for the Black Cats.

    Jenni: Yet again we are seeing the negative impact a cup run has on a club's league form. No wonder managers rest players and don't take the FA Cup or League Cup seriously. The awful thing is that Sunderland mightn't even have a cup or PL safety to show for all their efforts this season.

    Matt: In Adam Johnson, Sunderland have a player who can really run at defences and cause some issues. He has got to be starting crucial games like this, otherwise Sunderland look pretty much option-less going forward.

  10. 22:18: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Sunderland travel to Tottenham in a week for their next Premier League match knowing time is running out to close the gap on those above them. They then entertain Everton, travel to Manchester City and Chelsea, before a home match against relegation rivals Cardiff. Not a pleasant looking fixture list.

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    Alex Griffiths: What a relief, almost safe. Well done Big Sam and the boys.

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    Ernest Bauer: West Ham have really turned around their season, flirting with relegation a couple of months ago now up to 11th.

    Jonathan Smith: Massive relief for #WHUFC. Now we're safe it's looking onwards and upwards for the next season!

    Senor Burito: If Sunderland go down Poyet has to take the blame. He took them out of the drop zone, yes, but it's his fault they fell back in.

  13. 22:12: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Andy Carroll, scorer of West Ham's first goal, speaking to Sky Sports: "It's a great feeling to win against a team like Sunderland but all that matters is the three points.

    "Personally I need to keep fit, keep involved and keep scoring goals. We need to take things as they come, the teams below us are picking up points but we're confident of staying in the Premier League and I think we're safe now."

  14. 22:11: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Sunderland had their fair share of pressure in the second half, managing 25 shots on goal and seven on target. They also enjoyed 61% of possession but the all-important stat is the score line. The home fans will take little comfort from their fight back.

  15. 22:09: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    West Ham captain Kevin Nolan speaking to Sky Sports:

    "I thought we dealt with them quite well, Adam Johnson made a fantastic impact when he came on but we dealt with him well.

    "It was a massive game for Sunderland, probably bigger for them than it was for us and we knew if we won we would go 12 points ahead of them. Tonight was all about us putting space between us and the bottom.

    "We've had a massive injury list and we've dug in and with the camaraderie and what we've built up at the club we always knew we would start picking up points when we got some bodies back."

  16. 22:07: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham
    Adam Johnson

    He may only have played 37 minutes but Sunderland winger Adam Johnson certainly had an impact in the second half, as shown by the graphic above illustrating his action areas. He had 40 touches, scored a goal and created four chances. Should he have started? Yes.

  17. 22:03: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    West Ham manager Sam Allardyce is about to speak to the TV cameras. To say he looks happy with himself is an understatement.

  18. 22:01:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live at the Stadium of LightSunderland 1-2 West Ham

    "Your heart actually bleeds for Sunderland and their fans, they have been behind their team all night and Sunderland have actually played quite well.

    "One question remains, why was Adam Johnson only used in the second half. Why didn't he feature in the first half? He brought more vision than anyone else and he controlled the game, his energy levels seemed good so it wasn't a question of his fitness levels. I'm just totally and utterly confused by the decision to leave him on the bench because Gus Poyet usually makes the right decisions."

    Vito Mannone
  19. 21:58: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    West Ham are now just three points and one place off a spot in the Premier League top 10. Whether you like what Sam Allardyce does - and many Hammers fans don't - it is difficult to argue his style of football isn't effective. Big Sam will be one happy man this evening.

  20. 21:57: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham
    Premier League

    Sunderland remain four points adrift of safety as their dismal home form continues. It is far from over for the Black Cats but, with five of the top seven still to play, it is looking very tough to stay up.

  21. 21:51: 
    FULL-TIME- Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Sam Allardyce punches the air before saluting the travelling West Ham fans. That win surely secures their place in the Premier League next season.

    For Sunderland, you have to ask why on earth did Adam Johnson not start? The winger was at the heart of a brave second-half fight back from the hosts after coming on as substitute but it was too late to salvage anything. Sunderland's Premeir League place is looking increasingly precarious.

  22. 21:49: 
    CLOSE!- Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    That may have been the chance Sunderland were waiting for. Marcos Alonso's cross is met by the head of substitute Ignacio Scocco but it goes over the bar with the match into five minutes of injury time.

  23. 21:48: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Chaos inside the West Ham penalty area. The Hammers clear the initial corner but the ball is pumped back into their area with Vito Mannone still forward. The ball is finally cleared but Sunderland keep coming.

    Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone competes at an attacking corner
  24. 21:46: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Another corner for Sunderland as goalkeeper Vito Mannone returns upfield...

  25. 21:46: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Surprisingly, with their goalkeeper up, Sunderland opt to take a short corner. Liam Bridcutt finally chips the ball into the penalty area but it is overhit and sails harmlessly over. Vito Mannone sprints back.

  26. 21:44: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    A late Sunderland corner. Goalkeeper Vito Mannone is forward......

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    Daniel Woodley: If Sunderland lose this game then Poyet should be blamed. Awful decision not to start Adam Johnson, who is their best player.

    Mathias Ekohinmi: Too late for any form of miracle. Johnson started late. Poyet should explain why he was on the bench.

    Frenchy: Poyet overlooking Johnson in a bid to ensure he doesn't end up in Brazil lining up against his beloved Uruguay.

  28. 21:42: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Sunderland deserve credit for the way they have fought back this half, as Santiago Vergini fires just over the bar from 20 yards. The hosts look as though they have a few more chances in them yet. The big question is can they take one?

  29. 21:41: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Just for a split second it looks as though Fabio Borini's deflected strike from outside the penalty area could draw Sunderland level. His effort falls kindly for goalkeeper Adrian, though. A yard or two either side of the Spaniard and he might not have got there.

  30. 21:40: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    We are into the last 10 minutes as Sunderland look increasingly desperate in search of the equaliser. Defeat and you can't help but feel they have a huge task ahead in trying to stay in the Premier League. Time yet though....

  31. 21:38: 
    SUBSTITUTION- Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Argentina international Ignacio Scocco comes on for Sunderland in place of Ki Sung-Yueng. Scocco has yet to score since signing for a reported £4m in January.

    He forms a three-man strike force with Fabio Borini and Connor Wickham, with the former sending a shot horribly wide. It is closer to the corner flag than the goal.

  32. 21:35: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Adam Johnson is looking like a man with a point to prove. He is coming deep, demanding the ball at his feet before looking to create something in West Ham's half. West Ham respond to this heavy pressure with a defensive move as Roger Johnson replaces Mohamed Diame.

  33. 21:32:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live at the Stadium of LightSunderland 1-2 West Ham

    "It's so obvious to everyone in this ground that Adam Johnson is controlling this game, it should have been clear to Poyet before the game started. Give the ball to Johnson and he will be the difference, he can win this game for Sunderland if he is given enough of the ball."

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    Karl Cobane: Is Gus Poyet ever going to realise that Adam Johnson is by far Sunderland's best player?

    Steve Davison: Poyet has shown tonight he lacks courage and belief by starting with Johnson benched.

    Alex Griffiths: Can't believe Sunderland didn't start with Johnson, he has been their best player recently. What is Poyet thinking?

  35. 21:30: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    While Sunderland have to throw numbers forward in search of an equaliser, they need to keep things steady at the back. Andy Carroll has a volley blocked from a tight angle as the visitors enjoy a brief respite from the barrage of pressure they have been under.

  36. 21:29: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    West Ham are on the ropes. Sunderland suddenly look like a team who believe and the equaliser looks as though it is coming. Why didn't the hosts start like this? Perhaps because the man at the heart of this comeback, Adam Johnson, was on the bench.

  37. 21:27: 
    Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    What a different game this is now. This time, Fabio Borini races clear on goal but can only fire into the side netting. Some of the home fans thought it was in.

    CLOSE!- Sunderland 1-2 West Ham

    Sunderland are almost level. Ki Sung-Yueng's 20-yard low skidding shot is fumbled by goalkeeper Adrian but Connor Wickham can only fire the rebound straight at the Spaniard. Wickham could have been a bit braver there.

  39. 21:24:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live at the Stadium of LightSunderland 1-2 West Ham

    "What a fantastic finish. Suddenly they get Johnson on and they start playing the ball.

    "We said all night long that Johnson should have been on from the start. I actually thought he started too deep but he did exactly what Sunderland needed him to do - he got on the end of those passes."

  40. 21:21: 
    GOAL- Sunderland 1-2 West Ham - Adam Johnson (65 mins)

    A brilliant response from who else but Adam Johnson? Since coming on as a second-half substitute, Johnson has been the hosts' best player and a clinical strike from him gets his side back into the game.

    Connor Wickham flicks the ball to Craig Gardner and his through ball is fired into the top corner from just inside the penalty area by Johnson. We have a game on our hands.

    Adam Johnson scores
  41. 21:19: 
    Sunderland 0-2 West Ham

    West Ham are enjoying themselves now as they keep the ball, with Sunderland chasing shadows. I'm not sure boss Sam Allardyce will have to deal with any jeers from his supporters tonight. So far, this is a classic away display from a side who have won only four of their last 29 league away games.

  42. 21:17: 
    CLOSE!- Sunderland 0-2 West Ham

    Stewart Downing has to score - but doesn't. The midfielder races clear on goal but his side-footed shot is brilliantly tipped wide by goalkeeper Vito Mannone. Sunderland are still in the game - just.

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    Shane Long: Relegation battle turning into real anti-climax. Can see no way that Sunderland, Cardiff or Fulham will escape their situation.

    Matthew Evans: Thought Sunderland were getting better under Poyet but still in big trouble. Bottom three don't look like getting out at the moment.

    Andrew Priestley: With the fixtures they have coming up, things don't look good for Sunderland. Defeat tonight could well be terminal.

  44. 21:15: 
    Sunderland 0-2 West Ham

    Brilliant by Adam Johnson as his driving runs sets Sunderland clear on a break. Fabio Borini's touch lets him down though after being played down the left channel by Johnson before Ki Sung-Yueng dallies on the ball and West Ham clear. Poyet's substitution has made an impact but could it be too little too late?

  45. 21:13: 
    Sunderland 0-2 West Ham

    Sunderland almost find a way back into the game in a comical manner. Marcos Alonso's shot from the edge of the area is deflected towards goal by Matt Taylor's tackle. It looks simple for goalkeeper Adrian until Andy Carroll almost heads the ball out of his own goalkeeper's hands. The ball drops onto the goal line but Adrian is able to grab it before a Sunderland player can react.

    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live at the Stadium of LightSunderland 0-2 West Ham

    "For the second goal that ball was just lumped up from the right-back area by West Ham and it is absolutely text book - it's easy and it's working a treat. I hope Sam Allardyce has his ear cupped to the crowd again.

    "Sunderland's fans knew they had to win this one and their team's play is too simplistic. They are doing exactly what West Ham want them to do. They need to get the ball to Adam Johnson in the wide areas and get him to attack in the final third."

    Sunderland's players look dejected
  47. 21:10: 

    Sunderland boss Gus Poyet quickly responds as he brings on Adam Johnson for Lee Cattermole. The stage is set for the former Manchester City man to make himself a hero.

  48. 21:06: 
    GOAL- Sunderland 0-2 West Ham - Mohamed Diame (50 mins)

    Things suddenly get a whole lot worse for Sunderland. It isn't pretty by West Ham but Sam Allardyce won't care as his side look like taking another huge step towards safety.

    Andy Carroll plays the role of creator this time as he muscles John O'Shea out of the way to chest the ball back to Mohamed Diame, who scuffs his shot past Vito Mannone from around 12 yards.

    Mo Diame celebrates
  49. 21:05: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham
    Premier League bottom six

    Talk about a big half of football for Sunderland. You can see what the Premier League table would look like if things stay the same and it isn't pretty for the Black Cats. Time is running out for Gus Poyet and his men.

  50. 21:04: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    Sunderland fans are getting behind their side this half as they look to inspire a comeback.

  51. 21:02: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    Game on again as West Ham bring Colombian Pablo Armero on for George McCartney. No changes for Sunderland as yet.

  52. 21:01: 
    KICK-OFF- Sunderland 0-1 West Ham
  53. 20:59: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham
    Andy Carroll

    Andy Carroll may have got the goal that is the difference between the two sides at the moment but a look at his action areas above show he has been busy at both ends. Can't fault his work rate.

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    Niklas Lanwehr: Sunderland's 11 players have 9 goals and 6 assist - Adam Johnson ALONE has 7 goals and 5 assist, how is he sitting on the bench?

    Sam Robson: Say what you like about Big Sam and West Ham, but on there day, they are an incredibly difficult side to break down.

    Bandit nemesis: Johnson is actually not that good, no big or mid table team wanted him after city, that tells you everything.

  55. 20:51: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    For all their possession in the first half, Sunderland managed just one shot on target. Plenty of effort but very little quality from them so far.

  56. 20:49:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live at the Stadium of LightSunderland 0-1 West Ham

    "I really wish the Sunderland fans for their own sake would not boo in situations like that. Sunderland need to do something more sophisticated in the second half, you're talking 20 or 25 minutes in and people are asking about Adam Johnson.

    "You need a player with a bit of creativity who can change the game, if you lump the ball in to the box West Ham will be able to clear it up straight away. Sam Allardyce has had his defenders geared up to deal with that all season.

    "Sunderland need to be more creative in their play, they need somebody who can make decisions and drag the defenders out of position. If you run at pace at the defenders you will cause them problems."

  57. 20:49: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    It has to be said Connor Wickham has struggled to make any sort of impact for Sunderland. It is the striker's first home appearance since being recalled from a loan spell at Leeds United and he has yet to have a shot either on or off target. Maybe time for a rethink?

    Wickham moved to the north east from Ipswich for £8m in 2011 and has scored just one goal since.

  58. 20:46: 
    HALF-TIME- Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    The half-time whistle is met by boos from the Sunderland fans as they voice their frustration at their side's lack of a cutting edge.

  59. 20:42: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    Sunderland can't be faulted for effort as they continue to fly into every tackle, but there is a lack of composure for the hosts when it really matters. West Ham have had 13 clean sheets this season - the second highest number in the Premier League - so Sunderland are going to have to work to find a breakthrough.

  60. 20:38: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    Andy Carroll again beats Sunderland's defenders to a cross inside the penalty area. This time though, his header is easy for goalkeeper Adrian. Whatever people say about Carroll, there is no denying he is a real threat.

    At the other end Fabio Borini's attempted overhead kick is blocked before Kevin Nolan appears to handle inside the penalty area. Sunderland defender John O'Shea screams for a penalty but referee Howard Webb waves play on. They had a a shout there.

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    Tom Kruse: A rubbish first half of the season for West Ham, but a good second of the season for them, that tells you to stick with your manager.

    Josh Jackman: West Ham construct a flowing move which ends with a shot on target from Diame. Who says Allardyce sides always play ugly?

    Haider Bokhari: Big Sam seems to have listened to the fans. West Ham choosing their passes much better today rather than just hoofing it.

  62. 20:35: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    Talking of Adam Johnson, how frustrated must he be at the moment? Just a couple of months ago he was still talking about breaking into England's World Cup squad, now he is left playing a bit-part role in Sunderland's relegation battle. If things stay the same here, you would expect to see Johnson soon after the break.

  63. 20:33:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live at the Stadium of LightSunderland 0-1 West Ham

    "I think Sunderland are passing it well, they just don't have a cutting edge. When you think cutting edge you think Adam Johnson - he just has to come on at some point in this game."

  64. 20:33: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    Half an hour played at the Stadium of Light and Sunderland's mountainous task looks steeper by the minute. With just one point from their previous five matches, relegation looms large unless something dramatic changes.

    Fabio Borini tumbles in the penalty area for the hosts as the dangerous Ki Sung-Yueng breaks forward again but there are only muted shouts for a penalty. They were never going to get that.

  65. 20:29: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    Santiago Vergini drags a shot well wide from 20 yards as Sunderland continue to press. West Ham look content to put numbers behind the ball and ask their hosts to break them down. So far, the Black Cats are struggling to do so.

  66. 20:25: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    As you can see from the graphic above, Sunderland are enjoying a lot of the ball but they are struggling to turn that possession into clear cut chances.

    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live at the Stadium of LightSunderland 0-1 West Ham

    "Sunderland are controlling most of the game and in midfield they're looking great. It's defensively where they're struggling. They're under pressure whenever West Ham attack, they need to calm it down more and they could afford to play it more."

  68. 20:23: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    Easy for Vito Mannone as Mohamed Diame's curling shot from the edge of the penalty area bounces into his arms. While Sunderland are enjoying a lot of the possession, it is the Hammers who look as though they carry more of a threat in the final third. A lot of that could be down to some rank bad defending by the hosts though.

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    Tom: You'd have expected Sunderland to push on after thrashing Newcastle and reaching Wembley. Seems to have had the opposite effect. The trapdoor looms.

    Andrew, Richhill: It's all well and good that Sunderland still have more games left to play than their relegation rivals, but it means absolutely nothing unless they can convert those games in points. A win tonight vs West Ham is a must in order to put some points on the board and move towards safety.

  70. 20:20: 
    CLOSE!- Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    West Ham are almost 2-0 up as Mark Noble's shot on the stretch goes just inches wide of the post from 20 yards.

  71. 20:18: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    Replays of Andy Carroll's goal won't make good viewing for Sunderland defender John O'Shea. The former Manchester United man was marking the striker - in a loose sense of the word - and simply allowed the England forward to run off him to head home.

    West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is looking fairly happy with himself at the moment.

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    Paul Thompson: That's far too easy for West Ham. It's not difficult to see why Sunderland are where they are. Carroll header - bad defending.

    Adam Momoniat: You have your priorities mixed up if you respect Carroll enough to play three centre-backs but then don't mark him from a corner.

    Andrew Moore: Of course Carroll would score tonight, true Geordie.

    Andy Carroll celebrates
  73. 20:15: 
    Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    This is end-to-end stuff at the moment as fears of a tight affair appear to be unfair. Sunderland look dangerous going forward but West Ham are always a threat with their more direct style. The hosts need to get back into the match quickly though.

  74. 20:13: 
    CLOSE!- Sunderland 0-1 West Ham

    Sunderland should be level. Ki Sung-Yueng breaks into West Ham's area before squaring the ball to the unmarked Lee Cattermole 10 yards out on the right-hand side. Cattermole has just goalkeeper Adrian to beat but a weak shot is blocked and his rebound attempt goes wide. He has never scored for the Black Cats and you can see why.

    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live at the Stadium of LightSunderland 0-1 West Ham

    "It's Andy Carroll's header but that is the manager's game plan - that is classic Sam Allardyce.

    "The goalkeeper has to come out to meet that - you cannot allow the strikers to attack the ball in the six-yard box like that. Sunderland have had most of the play and most of the chances and they will continue passing and continue attacking, but do they believe in themselves to score and get level?"

  76. 20:09: 
    GOAL- Sunderland 0-1 West Ham - Andy Carroll (9 mins)

    A typical Andy Carroll finish. The big striker rises above Sunderland's defence to powerfully head home just his second goal of the campaign from Mark Noble's corner. Surely the hosts had been warned about Carroll's aerial presence?

    Andy Carroll scores
  77. 20:08: 
    Sunderland 0-0 West Ham

    Liam Bridcutt is at the centre of everything for Sunderland in the opening stages. The midfielder was very highly rated by Gus Poyet at Brighton and has adjusted to the pace of the Premier League well since arriving in January.

  78. 20:05: 
    Sunderland 0-0 West Ham

    West Ham look to respond but Andy Carroll's weak header rolls harmlessly into the hands of goalkeeper Vito Mannone. Sunderland are the better team early on and their efforts are being vociferously welcomed by the home fans.

  79. 20:04:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live at the Stadium of LightSunderland 0-0 West Ham

    "Sunderland have got the fans behind them. Sometimes this place can go quiet but tonight the fans are right behind them. The best thing about that early chance was the pass from Bridcutt. What a signing he has been for Gus Poyet."

  80. 20:02: 
    Sunderland 0-0 West Ham

    Sunderland are enjoying the early pressure and Phil Bardsley flashes a cross just wide of goal from the right, after a neat pass by Liam Bridcutt. A really positive start by the hosts.

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    Johnny, London: People say that they would rather win ugly than lose pretty, but with Big Sam's tactics it is ugly EVERY game - win, lose or draw.

  82. 20:00: 
    KICK-OFF- Sunderland 0-0 West Ham

    Sunderland need a rare home win to spark their survival bid into life, while West Ham know victory would all-but secure their place in the top flight for another season. A draw would undoubtedly be better for the Hammers, as for the hosts it really is all or nothing.

    Game on.

  83. 19:57: 
    Mixed results in relegation race
    Crystal Palace

    Sunderland - and to a lesser extent West Ham - fans would have endured an uncomfortable weekend in front of the television, radio, and internet, seeing how their relegation rivals fared.

    It proved a mixed set of results, although Crystal Palace's 1-0 win against Chelsea was the last thing Poyet's men wanted to see.

    A draw between fellow strugglers West Brom and Cardiff did go in their favour, while bottom side Fulham lost at home to Everton to ensure Sunderland kept off the bottom.

    Now it is time to see how their own teams do.....

  84. 19:56: 

    The traditional classical music is blaring out of the tannoy as the teams emerge from the tunnel at the Stadium of Light. How important could this game prove for Sunderland?

  85. 19:54: 
    Same again for Sunderland

    Speaking ahead of tonight's match Sunderland, coach Charlie Oatway insists Gus Poyet's men are not about to change their approach:

    "We need to make sure we get the results, that goes without saying. But the philosophy of how we want to play and how we do play I don't think is going to change that much," he said.

    "We could say we are going to change it against West Ham, we are going to play 11 players who we feel can get the ball forward and get it into the box. But we haven't got that and we would lose against West Ham so we can't do that, we have to do what we are good at."

  86. 19:52: 
    Hammers united

    West Ham's players have rallied behind manager Sam Allardyce this week after being jeered by their own fans in the win over Hull.

    Winger Stewart Downing said: "We found it all a little bit strange, winning the game and getting booed off. In this game it's all about results. It wasn't pretty but the big thing is we got the points because it moves us closer to safety.

    "In the situation we're in the most important thing was to get the win, especially against a team that was in and around us."

    Midfielder Mark Noble added: "I would ask that you [the fans] give your backing to the boys because I can tell you that we are giving 100% for the shirt and 100% for West Ham United."

  87. 19:50: 
    Work to do for West Ham

    West Ham may be on the brink of safety but a quick look at their fixture list shows the sooner they do get over the line the better.

    After tonight's match, they entertain Liverpool and then travel to Arsenal.

    Matches against relegation contenders Crystal Palace and West Brom follow, before they finish their season with a home match against Spurs and a final-day trip to Manchester City. No easy games there.

  88. 19:48: 

    West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "It is a little surprise in how Gus has set up with a three at the back instead of the 4-3-3 that we predicted. It must be that he thought it worked well against Liverpool and we have to combat that.

    "Sunderland will come out of the blocks fast and be defensively sound and resilient, but we have to get possession and use the ball well and score as fast as we can."

    Text us on 81111

    Jenni, Newtownards: I'm expecting a Sunderland win tonight. They have more to play for in terms of Premier League safety, they have a great recent head-to-head record against West Ham, and they are a team that is capable of playing some good football, as they showed in the final 30 minutes at Anfield last week.

    Andrew, Belfast: Sunderland's next four fixtures after tonight's game don't look too appealing; Tottenham, Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea. I think we're safe in saying that 3 points are desperately needed tonight.

    Mark: As a West Ham fan I think this game has got draw written all over it but if the Hammers win I'd say they will be safe for another season.

  90. 19:44: 
    World Cup hopes?
    Sunderland's Adam Johnson

    England manager Roy Hodgson will have an eye on events in the north east, with a couple of players still desperate to earn a late World Cup lifeline.

    Sunderland winger Adam Johnson still hopes to add to his last England appearance - which came in August 2012 - and will know helping his side survive the drop could be a good place to start. He needs to get on the pitch first, though, having been left on the bench again.

    Hammers striker Andy Carroll was backed for a place in Brazil by his boss Sam Allardyce earlier this month, despite missing most of the season because of injury and suspension. Carroll has made just nine appearances for West Ham this campaign, scoring one goal.

    Outside bets both of them surely?

    Join the debate at #bbcfootball

    Frederick Dowd: Of course Allardyce is right. As an Arsenal fan I'd take sloppy and ugly over beautiful & fluid if it meant we took three points.

    Robert Salam: Sam's tactics can be painful at times but we need stability right now and the debt paid down. Can then rebuild again.

    Peter Collins: Entertainment. I'd rather win playing pretty than win playing dull. Although I'd rather stay up dull than go down pretty.

  92. 19:38: 
    Few home comforts

    There have not been many home comforts for the Mackems this campaign. They have the worst home record in the league and, with Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United left to visit on their travels, that needs to change and fast.

    Poyet's men have scored just 13 home league goals - a Premier League low - and have also won only once against bottom-half opposition this season.

    Sunderland will point to their games in hand over their rivals as reason for hope but, with just one win from their last eight home matches, defeat tonight would leave many starting to fear the worst.

  93. 19:35: 

    Sunderland manager Gus Poyet: "It has been difficult to play a system when we have a presence in the box at all times. The best way recently has been to play three at the back and bring up the full-backs, and we needed to deal with their presence and the power up front which this helps us with.

    "It is very important today that we score first and are aggressive and impose ourselves on the game.

    "On paper winning games against the bottom teams is the best way to stay up, but unfortunately we are playing better against the top teams. Today is a big chance for us."

  94. 19:33: 
    West Ham

    Andy Carroll leads the line for West Ham, with Stewart Downing, Kevin Nolan and Mohamed Diame looking to feed off his knock downs. A lot of responsibility falls on Mark Noble and Matt Taylor in the centre of the park.

  95. 19:31: 

    Sunderland will hope Fabio Borini and Connor Wickham can form an effective partnership in a two-pronged attack, after the latter was recalled from a loan spell at Leeds United. As the graphic above shows, the Black Cats keep faith with their 3-5-2 system.

    Join the debate at #bbcfootball

    So whose corner are you in? Is Allardyce right? Should results take precedence over the performance? Or are you more of a football romantic - like Poyet - who believes teams have to entertain?

    Does your team have to entertain you to keep you happy or would you be happy with whatever is served up as long as it guaranteed your place at the top table?

    You know the drill. Tweet #bbcfootball, text via 81111 or post on the BBC Sport Facebook page.

  97. 19:23: 
    Hammer blow for Sam
    West Ham boss Sam Allardyce

    West Ham boss Sam Allardyce must be feeling as though he can't win at the moment - even when his team does.

    A chorus of boos followed his side's home win over Hull as sections of Hammers fans voiced their disapproval at a so-called lack of entertainment.

    It isn't the first time 'Big Sam' has been hit by such criticism as he sticks by his "win at all costs" philosophy. Results over performance every time for him.

    He may almost have kept West Ham up again but Allardyce is facing another survival battle - one for his own future.

  98. 19:21: 
    Poyet the purist

    Poyet is a great believer in "the beautiful game". He arrived at Sunderland in October, following Paolo Di Canio's dismissal, with the club bottom of the league on one point from five games, and has got the home fans on side with his desire to entertain.

    "They will care about the ball," he said of his players in January. "The ball is priceless. I like to say I want the ball to be happy with us. If the ball talks he will say, 'OK, I want to be with that side'. The more time I get, the more clear that idea will be."

    A slightly different philosophy to the opposite dugout then.........

  99. 19:18: 
    March to forget for Sunderland
    Premier League table

    Sunderland fans started the month dreaming of glory in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley, they end it staring into the Premier League abyss.

    Since losing to Manchester City at the home of English football, they have picked up just one point and scored just one goal to leave them four points from safety.

    Before their first major cup final in 22 years, Poyet insisted "winning a cup means more than staying in the Premier League". You get the feeling owner Ellis Short may have a slightly different outlook on that.

  100. 19:15:  
    Pat Nevin, BBC Radio 5 live

    Speaking ahead of Sunderland v West Ham on the Monday Night Club on BBC Radio 5 live

    "I don't think Sunderland have been on a terrible run of form, it's just been a terrible run of results. I don't think they've actually played that badly and I've been impressed with them when I've seen them this season."

  101. 19:15:  
    BBC Radio 5 live

    Mark Chapman presents the day's sports news and football debate, plus match build-up to Sunderland v West Ham on the Monday Night Club, which has just started on BBC Radio 5 live. It is followed by live commentary from the Stadium of Light.

  102. 19:12: 

    Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley, Alonso, Brown, O'Shea, Vergini, Ki, Bridcutt, Cattermole, Borini, Wickham. Subs: Gardner, Johnson, Colback, Altidore, Cuellar, Scocco, Ustari.

    West Ham: Adrian, Demel, McCartney, Reid, Tomkins, Noble, Taylor, Nolan, Downing, Diame, Carroll. Subs: Jaaskelainen, Armero, Johnson, J.Cole, C.Cole, Jarvis, Nocerino.

  103. 19:09: 

    Winston Reid comes in to replace the injured James Collins in the heart of West Ham's defence as the only change from the side who beat Hull City last time out.

    For Sunderland, striker Fabio Borini returns to the side after being ineligible for the defeat to Liverpool. He starts in place of Jozy Altidore, while Ki Sung-Yueng and Marcos Alonso also start.

  104. 19:06: 
    Fight for survival

    The Stadium of Light will be a nervy place tonight as Sunderland entertain West Ham with both sides still having work to do to secure their top-flight future.

    It took 37 points to survive in 2013 and 2012, while in 2011 you needed 40 points. The lowest tally to stay up since the Premier League had 20 teams was 31 in 2010, while the highest was 42 in 2003.

    Whatever way you look at it, things don't look good for Sunderland, who are in the drop zone on 25 points, four away from safety - albeit with two games in hand.

    The Hammers will be breathing a little easier. You can't help but feel a win tonight, to move to 37 points, and they are pretty much safe. All is far from well at Upton Park though. More of that in a bit.

  105. 19:02: 
    Clash of style
    Sam Allardyce and Gus Poyet

    Good evening. Tonight's live text offering brings a clash of footballing ideologies.

    Sunderland's purist Gus Poyet against West Ham United's pragmatist Sam Allardyce. Both managers have their eyes firmly on Premier League survival and both believe their approach is the way to make it a reality.

    With a huge financial windfall being dangled as a carrot to escape the drop, failure is not an option. Stick with us for live commentary of what is certain to be another tense night.

  106. 19:00: 

    Coronation Street or Emmerdale. Labour or Conservative. Oasis or Blur. There is no right or wrong, it is all about opinions.

    Everyone has their own approach to life as uniformity would make for a pretty dull world. Variety - so they say - is the spice of life.

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Related to this story

As It Stood Table

Last updated 31 Mar 2014 UK

Barclays Premier League summary table; it charts each team by position, team name, games played, total goal difference and points
Position Team Played Goal Difference Points
No movement 1 Liverpool 32 49 71
No movement 2 Chelsea 32 38 69
No movement 3 Man City 30 52 67
No movement 4 Arsenal 32 19 64
No movement 5 Everton 31 18 60
No movement 6 Tottenham 32 -4 56
No movement 7 Man Utd 32 14 54
No movement 8 Southampton 32 9 48
No movement 9 Newcastle 32 -9 46
No movement 10 Stoke 32 -8 40
No movement 11 West Ham 32 -6 37
No movement 12 Aston Villa 31 -12 34
No movement 13 Swansea 32 -3 33
No movement 14 Hull 32 -7 33
No movement 15 Norwich 32 -25 32
No movement 16 Crystal Palace 31 -19 31
No movement 17 West Brom 31 -12 29
No movement 18 Cardiff 32 -32 26
No movement 19 Sunderland 30 -20 25
No movement 20 Fulham 32 -42 24

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