Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce praised his side’s character after they came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw against AFC Bournemouth at the Stadium of Light.
Eddie Howe’s visitors hit the front after 13 minutes through recent recruit Benik Afobe as Sunderland started the match in laboured fashion.
Allardyce feared a collapse, having seen his players buckle after falling behind this term, but, with the help of recalled goalkeeper Vito Mannone, they stood firm and Patrick van Aanholt levelled on the stroke of half-time.
“We played very poorly for maybe 20 or 25 minutes,” Allardyce said.
“Vito kept us in the game at that stage and the good thing from my point of view is I’ve seen us go under so many times from that position since I’ve been here, but we stayed in it.
“It allowed us to play our way back into the game, particularly when we made a little switch by bringing Jeremain Lens out into the wide area and putting Adam Johnson in the middle.
“Both started getting better possession, getting better with the ball and obviously Fabio Borini’s pass to Patrick was a fantastic time for us to score a goal and it lifted us.”
Billy Jones drew a fine save from Artur Boruc in the Bournemouth goal after the break, but Sunderland were unable to force a winner.
Nevertheless, Allardyce was satisfied to see the Premier League’s second-bottom side claim another point in their fight against relegation.
“The second half was end-to-end and any side could have won it,” he added. “I thought we’d got the goal when Billy headed the ball, but it was a good save.
“It wasn’t to be for the three points, but it’s our first point [under Allardyce] after going behind. We haven’t lost; we’re disappointed we haven’t won, but we’ve gained two wins, a draw and a loss in the last four games.
“It’s a reasonable [return] of points during that small period of time and we’ve got to try from this point to pick more points up.”
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