Saturday 24 March 2018

Allardyce hails fighting spirit

Sunderland 1-1 Bournemouth

Billy Jones of Sunderland and Bournemouth’s Republic of Ireland midfielder Harry Arter. Photo: Getty
Billy Jones of Sunderland and Bournemouth’s Republic of Ireland midfielder Harry Arter. Photo: Getty
Sam Allardyce, manager of Sunderland looks on. Photo: Getty
Sunderland's Patrick van Aanholt celebrates scoring his team's equaliser. Photo: Getty

Damian Spellman

Sam Allardyce saluted Sunderland's resilience after seeing them bounce back to snatch the first draw of his 16-game reign against Bournemouth.

The Black Cats started dreadfully and trailed to record signing Benik Afobe's 13th-minute header, and had it not been for keeper Vito Mannone - who would not have been happy with his attempt to keep out the £10million man's effort - they might have been further in arrears.

However, they fought back to level in first-half stoppage time through Patrick van Aanholt and might have collected all three points had keeper Artur Boruc not managed to repel Billy Jones' ­second-half header and secure a 1-1 draw.

A relieved Allardyce said: "After they scored, Vito kept us in the game at that stage. The good thing from my point of view is that I have seen us go under at that stage so many times since I have been here, but we stayed in it and because we stayed in it, it allowed us to play our way back into the game, gladly.

"It was a fantastic time to score a goal and it lifted us and in the second half, anybody could have won it. It was end-to-end, either side could have won it."

If Allardyce was happy enough with a point, opposite number Eddie Howe certainly was not. Asked if it was two points dropped, he said: "After the first half, absolutely, yes. From watching, I felt we were in total control and doing everything we hoped to do, passing the ball very well. The only disappointment really is we didn't create more chances in that spell and have the clinical aspect to our game where we go on and make it two or three, which I felt our dominance deserved."

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