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Match Analysis: Sunderland 1-1 West Ham United

Sports Mole takes a closer look at Sunderland's 1-1 draw against West Ham United at the Stadium of Light.

West Ham United extended their good run of form to one defeat in 10 outings courtesy of a 1-1 draw against Sunderland at the Stadium go Light this afternoon.

The home side were ahead inside 22 minutes when Jordi Gomez converted from the spot following a contentious penalty awarded by referee Phil Dowd.

Just seven minutes later, the Hammers were level as Stewart Downing struck beyond the reach of Costel Pantilimon from range to set up an entertaining second half.

Despite both sides pushing for a winner, neither could find a way through to ensure that the game one apiece.

Here, Sports Mole takes a look back at how the 90 minutes of action unfolded at the Stadium of Light.

Match statistics

Shots: 8
On target: 4
Possession: 57%
Corners: 6
Fouls: 11

Shots: 14
On target: 8
Possession: 43%
Corners: 8
Fouls: 18

Was the result fair?

At the end of what was an entertaining, end-to-end battle at the Stadium of Light, both sides will put forward their argument that they deserved to claim all three points. However, a 1-1 draw appears to be the correct result on reflection of the full 90 minutes, with West Ham able to extend their positive run of form.

The opening stages of the game, which proved to be rather scrappy, was in stark contrast to the remainder of the first half as both sides continued to wrestle for momentum. Sunderland edged ahead following a contentious penalty decision when Adam Johnson went down rather easily under the challenge of James Tomkins, allowing Gomez to tuck the ball away, although the Hammers soon hit back.

Downing, playing against a team where he spent some time on loan at earlier in his career, fired beyond Pantilimon thanks in no small part to a deflection off the boot of Gomez, to continue his recent resurgence. The second half continued in much the same way, with both sides searching for a winner, although in the end it was a case of cancelling each other out and settling for a point.

Sunderland's performance

Gus Poyet's men have built up a reputation this season as being draw specialists having shared the spoils in no fewer than five of their last six games. While it is true that they have become increasingly hard to beat, picking up just solitary points will not help them to push away from the relegation zone. The Black Cats will be pleased following this performance, though, against a West Ham side in the middle of a great run.

Further faith was shown in striker Jozy Altidore from the start, although he failed to convert the one big chance which fell his way right before the interval. This was not an occasion for individuals, but more of a collective team effort to see the game out in the end. The Black Cats certainly had chances to win the match, and the three points would have done them and their supporters a world of good this afternoon, yet it was not to be in the end and their winless run - now standing at six games - goes on.

West Ham United's performance

Coming into this encounter, only two sides had scored more goals than the Irons in the top flight. While this was another decent showing in an attacking sense, the duo of Andy Carroll and Diafra Sakho just could not do enough to win the game for their side. Much of their best play came down the left through full-back Aaron Cresswell, whose overlapping runs were often picked out by Downing.

Arguably West Ham's best chance to win the contest fell the way of Cresswell following one of his trademark bursts forward, but his shot was well kept out by Pantillimon, who had a solid game throughout. Results elsewhere ensure that United hold onto their place in the top four of the Premier League this evening, yet it could have been even better had they been able to convert one of their many half-chances across the 90 minutes.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Costel Pantilimon: Had a number of stops to make in the first half, while he thwarted Cresswell's opening on the hour mark brilliantly by racing out to close down the angle.

Biggest gaffe

Referee Phil Dowd got a couple of decisions spot on this afternoon, namely the decision to only award Sunderland a free kick and not a penalty following Alex Song's handball on the edge of the box. However, many will feel that the penalty awarded to the Hammers was somewhat harsh, with Johnson going to ground rather easily.

Referee performance

As touched on above, Dowd had his good moments, but a contentious call for the first-half penalty which Gomez tucked away rather blighted his afternoon. Also could, and perhaps should have, pointed to the spot when Winston Reid handled inside the area.

What next?

Sunderland: Today's match may have been entertaining overall, but it will surely be nothing compared to what next weekend's local derby against Newcastle United offers up.

West Ham United: The Irons are four games unbeaten following this draw, yet they face a huge test of their European credentials next weekend with a trip to face league leaders Chelsea.

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Jordi Gomez #14 of Sunderland scores the opening goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and West Ham United at Stadium of Light on December 13, 2014
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