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Nolan strikes in stoppage-time as Sunderland draw again
SUNDERLAND conceded the lead for the third Premier League game in succession as Kevin Nolan 's stoppage-time strike secured West Ham a 1-1 draw at Upton Park.
Nolan's effort cancelled out Steven Fletcher's first-half strike as the Scotland international made it four goals in three league games since completing a £10m move from Wolves.
The Black Cats had to dig deep, but with Titus Bramble and John O'Shea outstanding at the heart of the defence, it looked like Martin O'Neill's side would claim their first Premier League victory.
But instead, Nolan's dramatic late strike means it is four draws from four for the Wearsiders.
O'Neill made one change to the side that drew with Liverpool last weekend, with Bramble starting in place of the injured Carlos Cuellar.
There was no sign of Adam Johnson , who continues to struggle with the thigh injury he sustained on international duty, but Larsson proved himself an able deputy as he laid on Fletcher's opener in the tenth minute.
Larsson crossed from the right, and Fletcher controlled the ball on his chest before slotting a crisp finish into the bottom right-hand corner.
James Collins gave the Scotsman far too much room in the penalty area, but Fletcher still displayed commendable composure to convert his fourth goal in the last three games.
Sunderland offered a threat on the counter-attack throughout the first half, and James McClean wastefully dragged a 28th-minute shot wide when Jack Colback and Stephane Sessegnon were much better placed in the middle.
However, West Ham had opportunities themselves, with Ricardo Vaz Te heading Matt Taylor's cross over the crossbar and Carlton Cole failing to find the target from a Mohamed Diame centre.
The Hammers continued to press in the closing stages of the first half, and Nolan came within inches of an equaliser when he fired a swivelled volley narrowly wide of the target.
Nolan once scored a hat-trick against Sunderland in a Tyne-Wear derby, but the former Newcastle midfielder was thwarted by a superb save from Simon Mignolet two minutes before the break.
Vaz Te crossed from the right, Nolan fired in an acrobatic volley, but Mignolet flung himself to his left to claw the ball to safety.
The Black Cats goalkeeper did well again ten minutes into the second half to prevent Vaz Te reaching Cole's flick on in the six-yard box, and Danny Rose defended superbly shortly after the hour mark to prevent Yossi Benayoun reaching Matt Jarvis' centre. Rose, Bramble and O'Shea won a succession of crucial headers after the interval, with the 57th-minute introduction of Matt Jarvis increasing West Ham's threat from the flanks.
West Ham came within inches of an equaliser with 14 minutes left, but while Collins' header from Mark Noble's corner beat Mignolet, the ball rebounded to safety off the crossbar.
However, Sunderland were unable to hold on to the final whistle.
Three minutes of stoppage time had elapsed when Jarvis kept the ball alive on the byline, and after Vaz Te headed on, Nolan swivelled to fire a half-volley low into the net.
WEST HAM (4-3-3): Jaaskelainen; Demel, Collins, Reid, O'Brien; Noble, Nolan, Diame; Vaz Te (Jarvis 57), Cole (Maiga 77), Taylor (Benayoun 57).
Subs (not used): Henderson (gk), McCartney, Tomkins, O'Neil.
SUNDERLAND (4-4-1-1): Mignolet (gk), Gardner, Bramble, O'Shea, Rose; Larsson (Vaughan 62), Colback, Cattermole, McClean; Sessegnon (Campbell 71 (Meyler 90)); Fletcher.
Subs (not used): Westwood (gk), Kilgallon, Wickham, Saha.
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