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BBC Sport's David Oates
With a round-up of the action from Upton Park
 real 14k

Sunderland's Don Hutchison
"We struggled in the first half"
 real 14k

Saturday, 13 January, 2001, 18:47 GMT
Black Cats punish Hammers
Varga (right) scored the opening goal
West Ham 0-2 Sunderland

Stanislav Varga and Don Hutchison scored either side of half time as West Ham were punished for their poor defending in a tense clash with Sunderland at Upton Park.

It seems ironic that Sven Goran Eriksson's first taste of Premiership football as England manager saw a Slovakian and a Scot seize the limelight.

  Match highlights
14 mins: Di Canio denied by Sorensen
22 mins: Varga heads home
35 mins: Quinn booked
68 mins: Hutchison puts Sunderland 2-0 up
Varga opened the scoring for the Black Cats in the first half against the run of play, before Hutchison's free kick ensured all three points returned to Wearside.

As Eriksson headed for his seat, a West Ham fan held aloft a banner in the Bobby Moore Stand which read "the iceman cometh".

Indeed, the Swede may have witnessed a typically breathless Premiership encounter but, if anything, it was the English stars who seemed to freeze.

The first half began at a ferocious pace as both sets of players looked to impress.

Eriksson: Impressed by Sunderland?
Sunderland nearly took the lead as early as the eighth minute through Scottish international Hutchison but his header was hacked off the line by the West Ham defence.

It took 14 minutes for Di Canio to make his first positive contribution but it very nearly led to a goal.

I met Sven Goran Eriksson after the game and he was obviously very impressed with Joe Cole and he said that he's special, a very good player
  West Ham manager Harry Redknapp
The Italian livewire latched onto a clever ball, then raced clear of the visiting defence before unleashing a vicious left foot strike which was well saved by Sorensen.

West Ham were beginning to stamp their authority on the game with Frank Lampard working tirelessly in the midfield and Frederic Kanoute and Paolo Di Canio constantly probing in attack.

But Peter Reid's sides are never short on character and, after stifling the West Ham onslaught, they gave the home side a lesson in finishing courtesy of Varga after 22 minutes.

The Slovakian, who was impressive throughout, rose high above the West Ham defence to steer home a cross from the right which looped beyond Shaka Hislop and sent the visiting fans wild.

West Ham looked to haul themselves back into the game straight away with Trevor Sinclair blasting wide from long range and fellow England prospect Joe Cole pulling his shot across goal after latching onto a Kanoute pass.

It wasn't the greatest game to watch in the world but we are very happy with the result
  Don Hutchison
For all their possession, the Hammers just could not find the net and it summed up their day when Stuart Pearce's thunderbolt was spectacularly saved by the outstanding Sorensen midway through the second half.

As West Ham continued to stutter in front of goal, Hutchison wrapped up the victory for Sunderland with a piece of quick thinking in the 68th minute.

It wasn't spectacular but it was very good, and we were very solid and professional
  Sunderland manager Peter Reid
The former Liverpool midfielder caught out the West Ham defence when he slotted home a 25 yard free kick before the hosts had chance to organise their wall.

The win moves Sunderland into second place in the Premiership and leaves both West Ham's defence and attack rather red faced.

West Ham: Hislop, Stuart Pearce, Winterburn, Song, Tihinen, Lomas, Cole, Sinclair, Lampard, Di Canio, Kanoute. Subs: Forrest, Moncur, Potts, Bassila, Camara.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Williams, Gray, Thome, Hutchison, Phillips, Quinn, Rae, McCann, Schwarz, Varga. Subs: Ingham, McCartney, Oster, Craddock, Kilbane.

Referee: M Messias (York)

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