Sunderland AFC 3 Bolton Wanderers 3: Halloween thriller but Cats equal winless record as pressure mounts on Simon Grayson

Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers served up a Halloween thriller at the Stadium of Light but the 3-3 draw did nothing to ease the growing pressure on Simon Grayson.

Tuesday, 31st October 2017, 8:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:10 am
Lewis Grabban scores for Sunderland AFC.

It was also game number 19 at home without a win, meaning Sunderland equalled the English record for winless streaks at home, joining Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Dagenham & Redbridge.

The bottom-of-the-table clash had everything with six goals, chants against the players and chants against Grayson with sections of the crowd calling for his head when Sunderland fell behind.

Sunderland avoided going bottom of the Championship by fighting back to secure a point but it is another game without a win for Grayson, Sunderland having only won once all season in the league.

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Before kick-off in the final home game before Remembrance Sunday, Sunderland showed its support for armed forces charities.

Colour Sergeant Chris Hunter, a Sunderland season ticket holder, led the tribute and laid a poppy wreath in the centre-circle when the teams gathered to observe the silence.

On the pitch, Sunderland started positively, winning three corners in the opening 10 minutes but none came to anything. Aiden McGeady a constant menace in the opening stages, dictating play.

Sunderland had a strong claim for a penalty waved away in the 18th minute, Callum McManaman bundled over by Antonee Robinson inside the area, referee Tony Harrington not interested.

McManaman and McGeady both bright in the opening stages of the game, Sunderland having to be patient though.

Sunderland, sloppy in possession, were on the back foot on the half hour mark with the Bolton winning a succession of quick corners.

The game was following an all-too familiar pattern and the Black Cats fell behind 32 minutes in, guess who? Sammy Ameobi.

A long ball forward was knocked down by Gary Madine to Ameobi 25-yards out, under no pressure he took a touch before unleashing a low effort past Robbin Ruiter.

It was a dreadful goal to concede and the chants against the players and manager started. 'You're not fit to wear the shirt' and 'We want Grayson out' could be heard as Bolton celebrated.

Sunderland were all over the place after the goal, struggling to get a foothold in the game as supporters in the South Stand chanted 'You're getting sacked in the morning' towards Grayson.

Out of nowhere, Sunderland levelled just before half-time. Grabban again.

Didier Ndong with a brilliant run and through ball to the striker, who raced clear of the Bolton defence before sliding the ball past ex-Sunderland stopper Ben Alnwick.

His seventh goal in 11 games. Grayson made a half-time switch with James Vaughan on for Jonny Williams, Sunderland switching to two up front.

Sunderland were denied a second penalty appeal 10 minutes into the second half.

Wheater looked to have tugged down Vaughan - who had earlier attempted an ambitious overhead kick - but Harrington again waved it away to the fury of the home support.

Sunderland grabbed the lead in the 57th minute, excellent link-up play involving Grabban, Ndong and Bryan Oviedo.

The left-back sliding the ball into the path of Grabban to finish from six yards.

But they could only hold the lead for all of three minutes. Grabban miscued a clearance, the ball nodded back towards his own goal by Marc Wilson and Madine finished from six-yards.

Heartache for Sunderland and their supporters. And it soon got worse.

Ndong tracked back to clip the ball away from Antonee Robinson after a quick break but then miscued his pass to Ruiter and Bolton capitalised.

Madine's cross was slotted home by Karl Henry to make it 3-2.

The Stadium of Light was almost stunned into silence, the crowd unable to believe what they were seeing once again from their team. Another lead squandered.Sunderland weren't dead and buried just yet on Halloween.

Sub Paddy McNair - on for Darron Gibson - with a superb low finish into the left-hand corner of the net from 20-yards to make it 3-3 with 10 minutes to go.

Neither side could find a late winner though, with Sunderland having to settle for a point and an unwanted home record.

FT: Sunderland AFC 3 Bolton Wanderers 3 Sunderland: Ruiter, Matthews, O'Shea (C), Wilson, Oviedo, McManaman, Ndong, Gibson (McNair, 75), McGeady, Williams (Vaughan, 45), Grabban.Subs: Steele, Cattermole, Kone, Honeyman.Goals: Grabban (45, 57) McNair 79

Booked: Grabban 85Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Little, Beevers, Wheater, Robinson, Pratley (C), Henry, Vela, Ameobi, Madine, Armstrong (Noone, 84).Subs: Howard, King, Buckley, Cullen, Osede, Darby.Goal: Ameobi (32), Madine (60) Henry (67)Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)Attendance: 26,395