Fabio Borini's stunning equaliser thrills Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce
Published 01/03/2016 | 23:26
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce saluted "the best goal of the season" after seeing substitute Fabio Borini snatch a point with a last-gasp equaliser against Crystal Palace.
The Black Cats were trailing in the final minute of normal time when Borini, who had replaced injured substitute Lee Cattermole 10 minutes from time, collected DeAndre Yedlin's pass and lashed home an equaliser from an improbable angle to make it 2-2.
Palace boss Alan Pardew insisted his side deserved to win, but Allardyce was of a different opinion.
He said: "Well he would, wouldn't he? When have you ever heard Alan say they didn't? Alan says he plays well when he plays badly and he deserves to win when he shouldn't.
"In the end, we have to be pleased with a point and I am delighted Fabio scored the best goal of the season, not just here at Sunderland, but across the whole of the Premier League. You would have to go a long way to beat that one."
Sunderland looked to be on their way to a vital win when Dame N'Doye's 25-yard strike was deflected past wrong-footed goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey by defender Scott Dann.
However, they had not legislated for former Black Cat Connor Wickham, who thumped home a fine 61st-minute equaliser on the turn and then volleyed what would have been the winner had Borini not intervened at the death.
The point lifted the Black Cats out of the bottom three on goal difference, but was short of the win Allardyce, who was unhappy that his side had not been awarded a free-kick in the run-up to Wickham's second, had targeted ahead of a difficult trip to Southampton on Saturday.
Asked if he could take positives from the game, the 61-year-old said: "Yes, we are out of the bottom three. Let's hope it's for a while - we could be back in there by tomorrow night. We have got to go to Southampton and get a result now.
"Staying in touch is about getting a result at Southampton. It will be difficult to get a win, but if we can't get a win... If you said, 'Would you accept a point at Southampton?', I'd say 'Yes' on the basis of where we are at the minute."
Pardew, whose side were denied a first league win in 11 attempts by Borini's wonder-strike, admitted few players could have scored that goal.
He said: "He is probably the only player on the pitch who could have hit it there. He was fresh, Borini. We know he's got a good hit and he's hit it in an area where we couldn't stop it.
"Overall, really it was a game we deserved to win, but I think on reflection in the morning, a draw isn't a bad result."
Pardew's disappointment at his side's failure to hang on was tempered by £9million summer signing Wickham's contribution on a night when he took his tally to five goals for the season and four in two games.
He said: "Connor will score goals as a number nine, I've always thought that. He's been a bit unlucky because he was in a great spell and he got injured and then got suspended, so he's had a fragmented season.
"But he's come back and he looks sharp. The first goal was a terrific goal that was worthy of any Premier League game.
"I didn't think we played very well in the first half, but in the second half, we were terrific. It was a game that we perhaps should have won, but we have to take a point and move on."