Roeder's lads hand Reid a job warning

West Ham United 3 Sunderland 0
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The Independent Online

The state of the England manager's love-life may be slightly shaky at the moment, but that of the East End with their favourite team is rock solid, a point – or indeed three – rammed home by this fourth win in five games for West Ham.

Glenn Roeder started off this season as a short-priced favourite to get the sack, but this morning his side sit pretty in seventh place and it is not impossible they will sneak into next season's Uefa Cup thanks to their league position. However, when the dust settles at the end of this season, this easy win for the Londoners will have done no favours for the job security of his Sunderland counterpart, Peter Reid.

Not that Reid, who was still able to raise a smile afterwards, is contemplating the sack just yet. But he was left considering his team's prospects for the rest of the season.

The Black Cats are now one place away from the relegation zone, and can still be caught by Ipswich, who have two games in hand. The Suffolk team's nightmarish fixture run-in, including Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United, is likely to do for them, while also being what saves Sunderland from the drop back into a division they left three years ago.

Reid admitted he could take no positives from the game itself and was already looking forward to next weekend. "We still need one more win and we've got to beat Charlton next week. We were poor and we got what we deserved. We were second best all over the pitch. At least our fate is still in our own hands." West Ham – and all those present at Upton Park – thought they had taken the lead through Joe Cole's deft finish six yards out after Trevor Sinclair's low cross from the right. Yet, belatedly, the referee Steve Bennett ruled his effort out, possibly because of a delayed linesman's flag for offside, but the majority were left bewildered by what looked like a perfectly legitimate goal.

Sunderland were simply grateful, such has been their recent abysmal league record, which has taken them towards the Premiership's nether regions this year. Three wins in their last 17 games or two from seven, whichever way you dress it the Black Cats have been sliding towards the relegation zone for the past four months.

But, after that let-off, West Ham were straight back at them, with Cole to the fore.

Whether he is a World Cup possible or probable after his impressive cameo against Paraguay in midweek, his tricks, as well as his simple passing, praised by Sven Goran Eriksson on Wednesday, were again in evidence.

But Cole was not involved when West Ham did take the lead. With 28 minutes gone, the French full-back Sébastien Schemmel fed Sinclair in the inside-right channel and the England hopeful thrashed the ball under Thomas Sorensen's body.

Straight after the break, Sorensen made three saves within a minute, doing well to deny Sinclair, then Tomas Repka from a corner and Schemmel from the follow-up, but the Dane's great efforts were in vain. Within 60 seconds West Ham had doubled their lead and it was the least they deserved for dominating the game.

Cole went on another one of his bewitching dribbles and found Sinclair in the box, with the makeshift striker pulling the ball back for Steve Lomas, who guided his shot home from 10 yards out.

Barely a West Ham game goes by without Jermain Defoe getting on the scoresheet and the England Under-21 striker's parting shot before he was substituted was to get his side's third goal after 77 minutes, positioning himself nicely to head home from Sinclair's pass, after Lomas' accurate initial cross.

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