Bruce's tactical switch pays dividends with Henderson strike

Sunderland 1 West Ham United 0

It remains to be seen whether West Ham United can truly save their season. Perhaps the next attraction at the Stadium of Light could enlighten Avram Grant and his side. There happens to be "An Evening of Clairvoyance" in the Banqueting Suite at Sunderland's home ground tonight, hosted by one Steve Holbrook, author of such works as "Light in the Darkness" and "Survival".

Having glimpsed a couple of chinks of light on home ground, with victories in their "Save Our Season" contest against Wigan and in their Carling Cup quarter-final against Manchester United, the Hammers suffered another one of their dark days on the road yesterday. The East Enders have not won away in the Premier League since their visit to Wolves on the opening day of last season and their barren run stretched to a 26th match after Jordan Henderson's 34th minute goal consigned them to defeat on Wearside.

The Hammers did win 2-1 at the Stadium of Light in the third round of the Carling Cup in September, but after their 4-0 midweek demolition of Manchester United in the same competition they could not summon the attacking clout to end Sunderland's unbeaten home league record – nor to salvage a point for their top-flight survival mission.

"We need to pick up points away from home," Grant lamented, after a result that took his team back to the bottom of the Premier League pile. "We have to do something about it, because we can't stay without a win away from home."

Sunderland started with Asamoah Gyan and Darren Bent up front, the first time Steve Bruce had deployed his chief goal scorers from the off in a Premier League fixture. It meant a switch out to the left flank for Danny Welbeck and in the opening quarter the Wearsiders missed the livewire central attacking influence of the in-form Manchester United loanee.

In the first 30 minutes, Bruce's side only managed to fashion a couple of half chances, long range efforts from Lee Cattermole and Bent, both comfortably saved by Robert Green. It was only when the Sunderland manager switched Gyan and Welbeck that the contest sparked to life.

Bruce had to venture to the apron of the pitch and bark at Gyan to "get wide" before the Ghanaian shifted – initially to the left. Within a couple of minutes, though, the move paid dividends. Roving out to the right, Gyan sprung West Ham's offside trap, latching on to a ball up the line from Nedum Onuoha and cutting a low pass into the middle for Henderson to beat Green with a first-time left-footed shot.

It was the midfielder's first goal for a year and it was very nearly followed by a second for Sunderland, Gyan clipping the top of the crossbar with a shot from the left edge of the penalty area. At that stage, West Ham had yet to pose a threat to Craig Gordon in the home goal, but might have been level a minute before the interval.

Jonathan Spector – retained in central midfield following his two-goal contribution against Manchester United – dribbled his way through to the left edge of the Sunderland penalty area but then scuffed his shot wide of the target. It was a close call for the Black Cats and there was another four minutes into the second-half, Carlton Cole dragging a shot across the face of the home goal.

Sunderland had their moments in the second period but the big question always was whether the Hammers could find an equaliser. After substitute Freddie Piquionne drove a low shot on to the outside of the left post, the answer was: no.

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
As Loki in The Avengers (2012)
filmRead Tom Hiddleston's email to Joss Whedon on prospect of playing Loki
Voices
voices In defence of the charcoal-furred feline, by Felicity Morse
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star