Sam Allardyce rues defeat on Upton Park return
Sam Allardyce was left cursing his luck after Sunderland slipped to a 1-0 defeat at West Ham.
Michail Antonio's first-half strike secured three points for the Hammers and left their former boss empty-handed on his return to Upton Park.
Never mind managing the Black Cats, Allardyce joked he must have run over one after his relegation battlers missed a host of chances to equalise in the second half.
Jermain Defoe spurned two glorious opportunities against his old club while substitute Jack Rodwell fired straight at Adrian when it looked easier to score.
And Allardyce admitted: "You can't create that many chances and not come away with a result.
"We are kicking ourselves, which is worrying, when you play that well and don't get any points. We are making life extremely difficult for ourselves.
"We did enough to win, never mind draw. It must be that black cat we ran over."
The build-up to the game centred around Allardyce, whose relationship with the West Ham supporters was strained to say the least during his four years in charge.
He may have anticipated a hot reception yet nothing more sinister than a polite smattering of applause greeted the 61-year-old as he took his seat in the opposition dug-out.
"Jermain Defoe got more stick than me I think," he added. "But I had four very good years at this club. I've been a part of the history and part of them going to a new stadium as a Premier League club.
"To come here for the last time, it would have been nice to get a result."
Both sides had hit the woodwork - Mark Noble saw a drive tipped onto the crossbar by Vito Mannone and Wahbi Khazri clipped the frame of West Ham's goal - before Antonio struck after half an hour.
Sam Byram's pass down the right wing looked harmless until Patrick van Aanholt allowed Antonio to gather the ball and turn back inside.
The winger then strolled into the penalty area unchallenged before rifling his shot across Mannone into the far corner.
Sunderland laid siege to the Hammers' goal after the break, although home substitute Andy Carroll almost added a second when he volleyed against the bar.
"We deserved to win," was Hammers boss Slaven Bilic's verdict.
"We scored the goal, we hit the post twice and we could have had a penalty for a foul on Dimitri Payet.
"But more than a few times there were situations where we tried to be too cute. This is the Premier League. Until you score the second one there is always the danger you will concede.
"But did they deserve to win more than us? No way."
Who is your sportstar of the year?
Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.
Prizes include, tickets to Ireland's against Scotland in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.