Sunderland 2 Irons 2
So in the end I suppose we have to be happy!
We were outplayed in the first half when at our slow-starting worst and failed to clinch a win that seemed there for the taking when they went down to 10 men in the second.
But to claw our way back from 2-0 down via goals from Carl Jenkinson and the inevitable Dimi Payet was praiseworthy when the home side looked to have shaken off all their shocking early season form in that first 45 minutes .
Sunderland started like a team at the top of the table rather than rock bottom totally dominating the first half, taking the lead through an unstoppable Fletcher drive on 10 minutes and a delicate Lens chip off the underside of the bar after 22.
The hosts were in full cry for the rest of the half and Borini twice shot wide of a near open goals.
But after failing to create anything much at all, or indeed hold possession for any length of the time, the Irons gave themselves a real chance when Victor Moses strode down the left side and pulled back a cross for the late arriving Jenkinson to crash home bang on half time.
The second half could hardly have been different and from the start we made the running when Manuel Lanzini’s long run ended in a 25 yard shot flying wide.
And when Lens was dismissed on 58 minutes for a second bookable offence on Reid the Hammers snapped into their stride levelling two minutes later when Payet gleefully drove home after Pantilimon could only fumble out a Lanzini effort to his feet.
Jelavic appeared as a sub and was at full stretch when turning a shot over from Payet’s through ball before heading another cross from the Frenchman wide.
The Irons continued to play a patient attacking game and Jelavic saw a header go wide before Sakho managed to repeat the same act.
Such was the intensity of our second half pressure even an hour after the finish the feeling persists we should have won it.
Wins by Leicester and Palace have seen us slip to fifth place but let’s be honest. Everyone would have accepted that on kick off day!