Sunderland 1 West Ham 2: Sam Allardyce left to ponder what could have been as Andy Carroll strikes once again

Carroll's injury woes have been well documented but striker netted the opening goal in the victory over the Black Cats

West ham boss Sam Allardyce was left to reflect on how things might have been had Andy Carroll been fit all season after a significant victory at Sunderland.

The 25-year-old England striker's second goal of the season set the Hammers on their way to a win which lifted them 11 points clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone and at the same time, plunged the Black Cats into ever deeper trouble.

Carroll's towering ninth-minute header gave the visitors a lead they never surrendered, although it was Mohamed Diame's 50th-minute strike which ultimately proved decisive as substitute Adam Johnson struck to prompt a late, if ultimately unsuccessful, fightback.

Allardyce said: "It's a bit scary to think where we might be if we'd had Andy all season. We didn't have him all season last season and finished 10th; we have had him even less this season.

 

"We are now 11th, we are one point behind our last year total, so we have 37 points and this time last year, we had 38, we have had our best run of results since we have been back in the Premier League.

"Since Andy and the other players got fit - and I always said coming on the back of January, 'Once our players are all fit, watch out, we will be okay, we will win football matches'.

"The form we are showing at the moment is proving that. It's been an outstanding run from the players and an outstanding achievement."

By contrast, Sunderland, who had strong appeals for a first-half penalty waved away, find themselves four points adrift of safety with eight games to play, the next of them at Tottenham next Monday night, a day of the week on which they have not won a game in 12 years.

But head coach Gus Poyet, who admitted he may have made a mistake in starting with Johnson on the bench, is refusing to give up on the mission he accepted back in October when he inherited a team with just a single point to its name.

He said: "What I believe is I need to convince the players to keep doing it and defend this club to the end, to the last minute, try their best.

"If everybody does the same, who goes down? The three worst teams in the league, because you try your best and you can be the worst.

"But you need to try your best, give it your best shot and play the best way you can play. It hurts, yes, it's sad, yes."

He added with a wry smile: "I didn't even know until this morning that we hadn't won a game on Monday for I don't know how many years.

"Thank you to the TV for putting another game on Monday next week, it very nice. Why don't they change the last seven and put them on Monday as well?"

Read More: Sunderland 1 West Ham 2 match report

PA

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
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
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
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
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
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