Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Cats Must Stop Shuffling and Start Stride for Safety

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Cats Must Stop Shuffling and Start Stride for Safety

Article excerpt

Byline: James Hunter Sports Writer twitter: @JHUNTERCHRON

SOUTHAMPTON .......................1 SUNDERLAND ..........................1 SUNDERLAND shuffled a step closer to safety at Southampton when they should have taken a huge stride.

With the bottom three of Newcastle United, Norwich City and Aston Villa all losing again, the Black Cats' draw at St Mary's has opened up a tiny one-point gap.

Yet Sam Allardyce could not hide his disappointment because Sunderland should have beaten the Saints after taking the lead against 10 men five minutes from time.

They came within 60 seconds of earning a priceless away win which would have put clear daylight between them and the rest - and crucially would have meant they would not have been overtaken next weekend when they have no game.

Yet they just could not get over the line and they must hope failure does not turn out to be too costly in the final analysis.

Villa have effectively thrown in the towel and accepted their fate. However, Sunderland cannot rely on Newcastle and Norwich continuing to drop points in the run-in.

In that sense, this was yet another massive opportunity lost.

Sunderland were the benefi-ciaries of late drama against Palace, when Fabio Borini salvaged a point at the death. Yet on the South Coast, the boot was on the other foot.

With Southampton already reduced to 10 men following the dismissal of skipper Jose Fonte for a professional foul on Borini, sub Jermain Defoe's goal five minutes from time looked to have earned Sunderland all three points.

The Saints threw everything at the Wearsiders to force an equaliser and eventually they earned their reward, Virgil Van Dijk levelling three minutes into injury time.

Big Sam was furious and rightly so. His team should have been able to see the game out but they failed to hold on to possession and run the clock down. …

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