West Ham 1-1 Sunderland: Nolan rescues late point from Hammers to deny Black Cats and in-form Fletcher

Tom Bradley
Nolan: I thought Diame had left West Ham

West Ham shared the points with Sunderland in a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Upton Park in the Premier League.

Steven Fletcher opened the scoring for Sunderland with an early strike in the first half. Despite the Black Cats early lead, West Ham constantly applied pressure on the visitor’s goal with Simon Mignolet producing a world-class save from a Kevin Nolan bicycle kick.

Sunderland put in a solid defensive display against the Hammers, constantly dealing with an onslaught of long balls and crosses into the box from the hosts. West Ham finally made a breakthrough when Nolan volleyed home a close range goal in the last minute of the game.

Sunderland took the lead in the ninth minute. Sebastien Larsson chipped the ball into Fletcher who controlled the ball and fired a low shot into the bottom corner.

The hosts responded well after going a goal down by forcing a couple of corners but Sunderland cleared its lines both times and looked well organized in defense as it looked to stop West Ham from playing its game.

Ricardo Vaz Te missed a great chance to bring West Ham level after Matthew Taylor whipped in a cross from the left and the former Bolton player headed the ball down and wide at the far post.

West Ham looked the more dangerous side as the first half continued. The hosts had numerous chances and Cole missed a great chance for an equalizer on the 34th minute. Mohamed Diame delivered a good cross and Cole had beaten John O’Shea but he saw his header fly over the bar.

Kevin Nolan had missed numerous half chances in the first half but the midfielder finally tested Simon Mignolet. Vaz Te floated in a cross and Nolan hit a spectacular bicycle kick which the Sunderland keeper managed to keep out with a superb save.

West Ham came close to coming level on the 76th minute as James Collins saw his header hit the top of the Sunderland crossbar for the Hammers' best chance of the game to that point.

Sunderland had a good chance to make it 2-0 with a rare break as James McClean whipped in a ball across West Ham’s goal but David Vaughan couldn’t reach the cross.

On the 93rd minute, West Ham finally got the equalizer it had been pushing for. Modibo Maiga headed a loose ball into the path of Nolan who volleyed a strike into the top corner of the goal.

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