BOLTON headed away from the Stadium of Light on Saturday with a priceless Premier League point in the bag.
But Trotters boss Owen Coyle was convinced it should have been all three.
“If you analysed the game over the whole 90 minutes, I think we were worthy of the win,” he said.
“I think Sunderland had something like three shots on target in the whole game.
“We started the game ever so well, controlled the first half-hour and got a goal and my main disappointment was that we gave away cheap possession for their equaliser – although there was quality about Sunderland’s finishing.
“That gave Sunderland a lift for five minutes going into the half-time break, but, prior to that, you’d have thought we were the team at home.
“In the second half, there wasn’t a lot in it, but we conceded to go behind.
“Given our exertions from Tuesday night at Aston Villa, it would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves.
“But this group of players don’t know when they’re beaten and we picked ourselves up and produced a wonderful equaliser.
“We were at risk from counter-attacks, but you’ve got to remember that Craig Gordon has had to make some terrific saves.
“We go away with a point, though, and any point at this stage of the season could be a crucial one.”
Coyle is convinced Wanderers will survive the drop, even though the draw with Sunderland still leaves them in the relegation zone.
The Glaswegian has labelled the campaign “a freak season” – pointing at a string of midfield injuries: “seven at the moment and a new one to Nigel Reo-Coker against Sunderland.”
But he believes Bolton, led by talismanic skipper Kevin Davies, are ready for the final push to clinch Premier League safety.
“We’ve taken four points from two away games against Aston Villa and Sunderland and that will be our platform for the next two home games,” he said. “We had a mountain to climb against Sunderland after going a goal down, but we showed we’re a side capable of doing that, and that bodes well.
“We give credit to Wigan, who have produced a magnificent run, but my focus is on Bolton, who have taken 14 points out of 24 and that’s a fantastic effort, too.
“I’m confident that we’ll get out of the bottom three because we’ve put in a lot of hard work, which I’m sure will come to fruition.
“We believe there are points in every single one of our remaining games – we said that before the Villa and Sunderland games and we’ve taken four point from two of them.”