English Premiership

Sunderland, Bournemouth share spoils

Patrick van Aanholt (AP)
Patrick van Aanholt (AP)

Sunderland - Second-bottom Sunderland squandered a chance to close in on Premier League safety as Patrick van Aanholt's strike earned them a 1-1 draw at home to Bournemouth on Saturday.

The Dutch left-back struck in first-half injury time after January signing Benik Afobe had put Bournemouth ahead with a 13th-minute header that embarrassed recalled Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

Van Aanholt's goal inched Sunderland to within three points of safety, but with games against Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United to follow, it was a missed opportunity for Sam Allardyce's side.

Eddie Howe's Bournemouth, beaten only once in six league games on the road, remain 15th, four points clear of third-bottom Newcastle United.

Jordan Pickford, 21, had kept goal for Sunderland in their two previous games, but Mannone returned to the starting XI against Bournemouth and was at fault for the first goal.

Afobe met Junior Stanislas's bouncing cross from the right with a diving header and although he made decent contact, Mannone got a strong hand to the ball and should have kept it out.

Bournemouth looked to build on their early momentum, with Stanislas unable to turn the ball in after Mannone missed a cross from Marc Pugh, Andrew Surman shooting just wide and Mannone parrying from Stanislas and Afobe.

But Sunderland belatedly gained a foothold and after Artur Boruc had saved a header from John O'Shea and a deflected Fabio Borini shot, they equalised in first-half stoppage time.

Borini, returning to the side in place of Danny Graham, picked out Van Aanholt's run from left-back with a pass between centre-back and full-back and the Dutchman rifled home his second goal in two games.

It was a goal that will have completely changed the tenor of the half-time team-talks and Sunderland were a different team after the interval.

Former Bournemouth striker Jermain Defoe almost caught Boruc out with a dipping shot that sailed inches wide, while Billy Jones headed straight at Boruc from Adam Johnson's right-wing cross.

Yann M'Vila also tested Boruc, but the game's momentum tilted again in the latter stages.

Matt Ritchie saw a deflected shot trickle narrowly wide and then created a glorious chance for substitute Lewis Grabban, who somehow contrived to shoot wide from five yards.

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