Sunderland 1-1 Bournemouth: Van Aanholt earns Black Cats a point
By Nick Lustig
Last Updated: 23/01/16 7:26pm
Sunderland's Premier League survival hopes were dealt a blow on Saturday after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Bournemouth at the Stadium of Light.
New Bournemouth striker Benik Afobe opened the scoring in the 13th minute with his second goal for the club following his £10m arrival from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
But Patrick van Aanholt's equaliser on the stroke of half-time proved enough to earn a point for Sunderland, with Bournemouth forward Lewis Grabban missing a great chance late on to secure a vital win for his side.
The draw keeps Sunderland in 19th place in the Premier League, three points from safety, while Bournemouth remain in 15th spot.
Ahead of the match on Wearside, Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce said his side could not afford to lose if they hoped to stave off relegation and secure their Premier League status.
But he would have been less than pleased by the start his side made as he watched them fall behind inside the opening 15 minutes.
The energetic Junior Stanislas was instrumental in the away side's opener, collecting the ball on the right before whipping an enticing delivery into the path of Afobe, who stooped to head past Vito Mannone.
Bournemouth were aiming to maintain their fine recent form on the road having lost just one of their last five Premier League away matches and continued to look the most threatening of the sides with Afobe and Stanislas testing the palms of Mannone.
But their first-half dominance was not rewarded with the lead at the interval as Van Aanholt restored parity with his second goal in as many matches.
Fabio Borini, restored to the starting line-up after missing last Saturday's 4-1 defeat to Tottenham, collected the ball on the edge of the 18-yard box before finding the run of Van Aanholt. The Dutch left-back made no mistake, rifling his effort beyond Artur Boruc.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe warned his side they needed to "nullify" Jermain Defoe in order to gain a positive result against Sunderland, but they were nearly undone shortly after the interval when the forward broke free of the away side's defence before curling his shot just wide of the post.
Boruc was then called into action to deny Billy Jones and Van Aanholt before Bournemouth substitute Grabban missed arguably the best chance of the second-half.
Stanislas, once again instrumental, produced an excellent through-ball and having timed his run to perfection Grabban had only Mannone to beat, but somehow managed to fire his shot wide.
Sunderland: Mannone (7), Jones (7), Van Aanholt (7), O'Shea (6), Brown (6), Cattermole (6), M'Vila (6), Johnson (7), Lens (7), Borini (7), Defoe (6).
Subs used: Rodwell (5), Watmore (5).
Bournemouth: Boruc (7), Smith (7), Francis (7), Cook (7), Daniels (7), Surman (7), Pugh (7), Gosling (7), Arter (7), Stanislas (8), Afobe (8).
Subs used: Murray (5), Grabban (5) Ritchie (6).
Man of the match: Junior Stanislas.