Obinna shines as West Ham banish their away-day blues

Sunderland 1 West Ham United 2

Maybe Avram Grant should convince West Ham they're playing in the Carling Cup every week. They can't buy a victory in the Premier League but this was their second in the knock-out format in a matter of weeks, and they were good value for it.

"A win like this has been in the air for a while," Grant insisted after his side built on their encouraging point at Stoke City with a win at a venue which has proved equally as forbidding for visitors in the past year.

This was only Sunderland's second home defeat in 10 months, Manchester United being the other side to return south with a win in that timespan. Victories here are hard earned, and in no way could it be described as a stroll against a Steve Bruce second-string. The manager kept his promise to give the competition every respect, making just two changes from the weekend, while Grant weighed in with seven. It proved to be Sunderland's undoing.

Despite that number of changes, the disruption was minimal to the visitors, with Scott Parker again pulling the strings in midfield. Spurs were rarely in trouble from the moment Frédéric Piquionne broke the deadlock 10 minutes before the break with a goal that had been long coming.

Grant's view later was simple: "Sunderland played a strong side but we were the better team and deserved to win." Few neutrals would disagree with him.

After Hammers' first away win in 13 months, Grant added: "If you've seen our last few games you'd have seen we played pretty well. We're making progress and it's been frustrating when we've played well and not taken the points but we've done very well here and come away with the win."

Victory sets West Ham up nicely in their attempts to secure a first league victory of the campaign this weekend against a Tottenham side who encountered very different Carling Cup fortunes last night. "It's important psychologically to win," Grant said.

"The players showed that if you keep on doing the right things, then you get your rewards. Because of that I'm very optimistic about the future. Bottom of the table is not a place for us but we have to take the points to show that's the case."

Asamoah Gyan, on his full Sunderland debut, lost his marker to meet Jordan Henderson's near-post corner shortly before the interval to head the hosts level with a confident finish after Piquionne had latched on to an astute pass from Victor Obinna to thread a shot past Simon Mignolet, by far the busier of the two goalkeepers, from a narrow angle.

West Ham deservedly restored their lead on the hour when Pablo Barrera, who pushed Parker as the contest's most influential performer, cut in from the right to find the Nigerian with time and space to take a touch before beating Mignolet low to the keeper's right from 15 yards.

Steed Malbranque might have taken it into extra-time, but Marek Stech stood firm at his near post to deny the Frenchman and the Stadium of Light was not to witness a dramatic late goal for the third consecutive occasion.

"We were flat from the first whistle," conceded Bruce, in an admission that he might have made more changes to his starting line-up in the wake of their draining 1-1 draw with Arsenal a little over 72 hours before.

Gyan, Kieran Richardson and Anton Ferdinand are all doubts for the trip to Liverpool after succumbing to hamstring injuries, another downside to an unsatisfying night which saw the hosts booed off by sections of the home crowd at a less than half-full stadium. The manager added: "I decided to go with mainly what we did against Arsenal but we looked off the pace, it was evident to see.

"With hindsight maybe I should have made more changes but there's no excuses, we were well beaten by a better team."

If West Ham continue on their current trajectory of improvement, that is a lament we may start to hear on a more regular basis from opposing managers.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Mignolet; Bardsley, Ferdinand (Da Silva, 40), Onuoha, Richardson; Elmohamady, Henderson (Zenden, 71), Riveros, Wellbeck; Bent, Gyan (Malbranque, 61). Substitutes not used Carson, Angeleri, Reid, Colback.

West Ham United (4-4-1-1): Stech; Faubert, Ben Haim, Tomkins, De Costa; Barrera (Noble, 89), Kovac, Parker, Piquionne (Cole, 78); Boa Morte; Obinna (Dyer, 71) Substitutes not used Boffin, Spector, Brown, McCarthy

Man of the match Parker

Referee H Webb (S Yorkshire)

Attendance 21,907

Match rating 6/10

News
people

Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando

Sport
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych
tennis
News
news

Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck

News
Gywneth Paltrow proposed that women seek out a special herbal steam-treatment service
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Arts and Entertainment
tv

First full-length look is finally here

Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
Tax now accounts for ‘nearly 80%’ of the price of a bottle of whisky
news

Arts and Entertainment
Peppa Pig wearing her golden boots
film

"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star

Life and Style
tech

Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses

Arts and Entertainment
film
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Film director Martin Scorsese
film
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee