Sport Premier League

Friday 9 December 2016

Mixed feelings for Moyes as Van Aanholt rescues a point

Sunderland 1 West Brom 1

Lousie Taylor

Published 02/10/2016 | 02:30

Sunderland defender John O’Shea contests an aerial ball with West Brom’s Salomon Rondon. Photo: Russell Cheyne/Reuters
Sunderland defender John O’Shea contests an aerial ball with West Brom’s Salomon Rondon. Photo: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Sunderland fans joke about Patrick van Aanholt being "dangerous at both ends" but, for once, he left David Moyes smiling. A most attacking left-back, the Dutchman has been culpable for the concession of quite a few goals during his distinctly chequered time on Wearside but, equally, scores his fair share.

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Dropped to the bench by Moyes - (still fuming about Van Aanholt's summertime smoking of shisha pipes) - he enjoyed one of his better afternoons after replacing the injured Jan Kirchhoff and, capitalising on a piece of wonderful skill from Duncan Watmore, scored the equaliser. The resultant draw dictates that Sunderland's wait for a first Premier League win of the season continues, but they have at least doubled their points tally to two.

For long stretches of an afternoon on which Tony Pulis' side missed several extremely presentable chances following Nacer Chadli's assured opener, the injury-hit Wearsiders looked doomed to yet another defeat but, creditably, they never folded.

"West Brom are the masters of not conceding goals, but we kept going," said Moyes. "It's a disappointment because we need wins, but we'll take something from this. I'm glad we were able to give the supporters something."

Chadli's goal began with Kirchhoff conceding possession to Claudio Jacob and moving the ball on to Matt Phillips. His pass fell perfectly for the scorer, whose first touch took him away from Lamine Kone. All that remained was for an attacking midfielder whose polish, pace and physical presence were already enhancing the afternoon to slide a classy, acutely angled left foot shot into the far corner. It was his third goal in four Premier League games. "Chadli," said Pulis. "Has been fantastic for us."

If Moyes must have been disappointed with Kone, he can only have been relieved to see James McClean - heavily booed by his less-than-adoring former public - miscue a cross that had promised to offer Salomon Rondon a simple tap-in on the verge of half-time.

Sunderland's Duncan Watmore keeps possession of the ball. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.
Sunderland's Duncan Watmore keeps possession of the ball. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

Early in the new half, Kirchhoff suffered the latest in a long line of injuries when he collapsed while jumping for a high ball and had to be carried off. Seeking to exacerbate Wearside misery, Darren Fletcher chested a ball down adroitly before unleashing a fine volley, ably diverted by Jordan Pickford. Chadli pounced on the rebound but shot wide.

At the other end, Pulis' players generally defended admirably in the face of mounting pressure. Fortunately for Moyes, Watmore possessed sufficient drive to unhinge that backline courtesy of a startling change of pace and deftly dinked ball which prefaced Van Aanholt sending a half-volley looping into the net. It was his second goal this season.

"We're really disappointed," said Pulis. "But the great thing for Sunderland was that the crowd stuck with them; they kept them going."

Observer

Sunderland's Wahbi Khazri in action with West Bromwich Albion's Craig Gardner. Photo: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters
Sunderland's Wahbi Khazri in action with West Bromwich Albion's Craig Gardner. Photo: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters

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