Saturday, 22nd October 2016
With a matter of seconds remaining on the clock, and the game already deep into injury time, Winston Reid stepped up to save West Ham's blushes and secure all three points against a (quite frankly awful) Sunderland side that has now taken just two points from their opening nine fixtures.
That it took so long for the Hammers to break the deadlock will no doubt be the cause of some concern for manager Slaven Bilic and his team. However this narrowest of victories, combined with last weekend's success at Crystal Palace means the Hammers have recorded back-to-back wins for the first time since April and, most importantly, away from immediate danger.
Although match statistics show that there were 30 shots at goal during the game, that only five were on target gives an indication of the sub-par fayre offered by both teams for much of the match. Whilst West Ham dominated the opening proceedings, all they had to show for it was a Dimi Payet's effort that hit the post.
He doesn't score often but each of his goals are important— Dimitri Payet (@dimpayet17) October 22, 2016
Thank's bro ????????
Good work of the… https://t.co/UNC5WkTtll
Sunderland, who provided little threat throughout the game enjoyed their best spell at the beginning of the second period; Hammers 'keeper Adrian was forced to react smartly when left one-on-one right at the beginning of the half when the visitors created their best chance of the afternoon.
And they were forced to pay for the lack of ambition when Reid, who had marshalled the defence expertly throughout the preceding 94 minutes picked up a loose ball on the edge of the Black Cats' box before turning smartly and firing home - with practically the final kick of the game.
Although those two wins in eight days have lifted the Hammers three points above the drop zone, they remain 15th in the Premier League table - albeit within reach of Southampton in 8th who current have 12 points, two more than West Ham.
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Rarely called into action but more than capable when asked to do so. A nice easy start to the season for one of the RoI's Euro 16 heroes.
Looked accomplished at full back tonight, as he had very little defending to do. Sterner tests will follow for Antonio, as will the inevitable qeustions regarding his suitability for the role.
Sam endured a torried time in the first leg so it was pleasing to see him put in a solid performance tonight in an unfamiliar position.
Calm, assured and willing to put the boot in when required - just what you want from a centre half.
Another youngster to shine on the big night. The Ox was an able partner to the more experienced Reid but also capable of turning defence into attack with some delightful flighted dellveries.
Another player making his debut, the Norwegian had a fairly quiet first half but came alive in the second. He also showed some lovely footwork as the game reached its closing stages; another impressive start.
A classy performance from a very important player. Payet and Noble drew the plaudits last season but it was Kouyate that kept the midfield ticking over. Tonight he takes the acclaim for two goals that steered West Ham into the next round of the competition.
Solid and combative as per usual, his most notable contribution was the superb delivery for Feghouli's goal. Should be a shoo-in for Allarduce's next squad, at this rate.
The big man put himself about well and played an important role in both of Kouyate's goals. He still seems a little of the pace, thought that's not unusual at this stage of the season.
An impressive start for the winger, who may well have taken the Man of the Match award were it not for Kouyate's two-goal haul. He ran at Domzale's defence all night and was finally rewarded with a goal that sealed the win.
Whilst you can certainly question the ability, there can be no doubt that Valencia gave 100 per cent for West Ham tonight - the sort of attitude his former striker partner would do well to take note of.
Long linked with a move away from the club but given a positive reception upon his introduction by the crowd. Another who seems determined to work through his difficulties.
A nice little two-minute caneo to introduce him to the West Ham family.
See above, just for half the time...
Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo
Referee: Bobby Madley.
Man of the Match: Edimilson Fernandes.
West Ham United
Darren Randolph, Michail Antonio, Sam Byram, Winston Reid, Reece Oxford, Havard Nordtveit, Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble, Andy Carroll, Sofiane Feghouli, Enner Valencia.
Goals: Cheikhou Kouyate 8 Cheikhou Kouyate 22 Sofiane Feghouli 81 .
Booked: Michail Antonio Sofiane Feghouli Enner Valencia .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Marava, Brachi, Dobrovoljc, Horic, Balkovec, Morel, Horvat, Majer, Crnic, Alvir, Mance.
Substitutes: Husmani (Horvat 62), Juninho (Majer 77), Brantanovic (Mance 68).
Subs not used: Milic, Vetrih, Repas, Blazic.
Booked: Crnic, Balkovec, Horic.
Sent Off: None sent off..