Rowell Report: Sunderland’s game at West Ham was a golden opportunity for three points

Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
Ex-Sunderland footballer Gary Rowell
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USUALLY, I would regard an away point as a good one, but at Upton Park against a depleted West Ham team last week, I feel we let a great chance of victory get away from us once again.

The point gained doesn’t really improve our position a great deal.

At least we denied the Hammers the victory that would have widened the gap between us even further, but West Ham were there for the taking and we should have got more than a draw.

Suspensions and injuries meant West Ham were below strength and vulnerable and it was a good time to play them, but we didn’t fully capitalise on that situation.

Just like our previous away game at Aston Villa, a 0-0 draw could easily have been a win, and these are the opportunities where we have to be getting maximum points.

Sunderland had more possession, corners and shots on target than West Ham, but we lacked a killer instinct and weren’t ruthless enough in the final third.

This Sunderland team don’t seem to be able to get it right at both ends of the pitch at the same time.

If we keep a clean sheet, we don’t score and if we’re finding the net, then we leak goals at the other end.

Gus Poyet needs to get that balance right, as it really wouldn’t have taken much to win both of our last two away games and four points has slipped away from Sunderland too easily.

Jozy Altidore, Fabio Borini and Ki Sung-Yueng all had very good chances to get the one goal that would have been enough for victory as I couldn’t see West Ham coming back if they went behind, even if Phil Bardsley was unlucky with his shot that struck the bar.

The fact that Vito Mannone barely had a save to make, while Jussi Jaaskelainen was West Ham’s man of the match, tells its own story.