Sunderland 2 Bolton Wanderers 2

Sunderland's Nicklas Bendtner scores against Bolton Wanderers.

Sunderland's Nicklas Bendtner scores against Bolton Wanderers.

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SUNDERLAND’S goal drought ended this afternoon but they could not rid themselves of their tendency to draw games – which could hit their hopes of a top-half Premier League finish.

Four of their last five matches have ended level and they extended that sequence today after coming back from a goal down to take the lead, only to give it away cheaply and be forced to settle for a share of the points by relegation-threatened Bolton.

A first half hour of football to forget was distinguished only by Bolton’s opening goal – Martin Petrov given far too much space over on the left to cross for Kevin Davies in space at the far post and he volleyed across Craig Gordon.

Sunderland equalised through Bendtner in the 36th minute when Colback slipped him in with a finely weighted pass and the Dane finished well across keeper Adam Bogdan.

The Wearsiders took the lead in the 55th minute when James McClean drove a free-kick home – Bogdan getting a glove to it but pushing the ball onto the crossbar and in.

And Sunderland were looking good value for the three points when they were caught napping in the 70th minute, a cross coming in again too easily from the left, this time from Sam Ricketts and Kevin Davies at the far post capitalising on more sloppy marking to head back across Gordon from four yards.

* Full match report and pictures in tonight’s Football Echo.