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Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Saturday, 4 April 2009 17:02 UK

West Ham 2-0 Sunderland

By Owen Phillips

Junior Stanislas (l) James Tomkins and Mark Noble celebrate West Ham's second
Stanislas, Tomkins and Noble celebrate West Ham's second

Youth team products Junior Stanislas and James Tomkins grabbed a goal each as West Ham eased past Sunderland to boost their hopes of a place in Europe.

Stanislas sidefooted the opener from Luis Boa Morte's cross after a superb move started by keeper Robert Green.

Tomkins made it 2-0 after the break when his powerful header from Mark Noble's corner crept past Craig Gordon.

Sunderland started well but offered little goal threat apart from three fine efforts from Grant Leadbitter.

The Black Cats, chasing a first away win in seven games and a first away goal in four, looked the sharper of the two sides early on.

Leadbitter twice went close, first sending a rasping shot inches wide from 20 yards and then seeing his fierce left-foot drive beaten away by Green.

Zola full of praise for young Hammers

The Hammers seemed to be missing the bite and drive of the injured Scott Parker in midfield and Sunderland were finding it easy to create space in midfield with some neat passing and interplay.

Steed Malbranque shot wide after evading a couple of challenges on the edge of the box and the pace of Djibril Cisse was also posing problems.

But the Londoners started to settle and began to look lively in attack - largely thanks to the twinkle-toed Italian David Di Michele.

Herita Ilunga was the first to profit and poked an effort wide after a terrific through-ball by Di Michele.

Junior Stanislas was a constant threat and Boa Morte's pace was also to the fore.

We conceeded two bad goals - Sbragia

And the pair combined for a wonderful Hammers goal just before the break which all began with some quick thinking from keeper Green and inevitably involved Di Michele.

England international Green's smart throw found Boa Morte on the left and the full-back flicked the ball wide to Diego Tristan.

The Spaniard turned the ball down the flank to Di Michele and the Italian did superbly to find Boa Morte, who had continued his run. The winger laid the ball across the six-yard box for Stanislas, who could not miss.

With their confidence now visibly lifted the home side upped their game and eight minutes after the restart Tomkins doubled their lead.

The centre-half rose highest and his towering header from Noble's corner beat the recalled Gordon in the Sunderland goal.

Tomkins then almost scored a carbon-copy third but this time Gordon was able to turn his header away and then save the follow-up from Matthew Upson.


The only blow to West Ham came midway through the second half when Jonathon Spector was taken off on a stretcher after falling awkwardly following an aerial collision. Spector lost consciousness and play was delayed by six minutes before he left the pitch.

Sunderland did press in the final 10 minutes and Leadbitter was once again denied when his effort was cleared off the line by James Collins.

But Gianfranco Zola's side still created the better chances and Boa Morte could have added a third but his shot was blocked.

Substitute Kieron Dyer also had an effort deflected wide, and Tristan saw a wonderful dinked effort go just over the bar after a jinking run.

West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola:
"It's amazing to see our young players doing so well. We need their energy and strength.

"We will need them to help us achieve our goals. When you have a great team spirit it's easy for whoever comes in to do a good job.

"Junior has been a surprise. I knew about his technical skills but I didn't know about his mental strength."

Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia:
"We started well and had a couple of chances but conceded from our corner and made it very difficult for ourselves.

"In the second half we conceded from their corner - defensively it was a very bad goal.

"West Ham are a good team, they keep the ball well, and made it difficult. At 2-0 was the game was dead for us.

"We have to do a little bit better than we did here."

West Ham: Green, Neill, Tomkins, Upson, Ilunga, Noble, Spector (Collins 73), Stanislas (Lopez 90), Boa Morte, Di Michele (Dyer 81), Tristan.
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Nsereko, Sears, Payne.

Booked: Ilunga.

Goals: Stanislas 42, Tomkins 53.

Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley, Ferdinand, Ben-Haim, Collins, Malbranque (Edwards 75), Whitehead, Richardson, Leadbitter, Cisse, Murphy (Jones 54).
Subs Not Used: Fulop, Nosworthy, Reid, Healy, McShane.

Booked: Whitehead.

Att: 34,761.

Ref: Mike Jones (Cheshire).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Sunderland's Craig Gordon 8.27 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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see also
Premier League as it happened
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
04 Apr 09 |  Premier League

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