ON THE plus side, it wasn’t goalless.
On the negative side, this cycle of draws is becoming slightly mind-numbing.
Sunderland’s knack of finishing all-square is proving to be the only defining characteristic of a season, which is becoming as mundane as last year’s was a spectacular rollercoaster.
Gus Poyet’s side are difficult opponents to play against, but they aren’t sufficiently difficult to succumb against.
There are no glaring inadequacies in the side, but neither are there any stunning, stand-out features.
It’s a conundrum for Poyet to face because being thoroughly inconsistent in the Premier League can have more rewards than being consistent.
Sunderland have been unbeaten in five of their last six games. But if they’d won two of them, they’d have more points on the board.
Like most of the other nine draws this season, a point was probably a fair result in an open, entertaining encounter.
Despite falling behind, West Ham were the better team in the first half and again during a 10-minute spell after the break, with the impressive Alex Song pulling the strings from the middle of the park.
But Sunderland finished the game in the ascendancy and other than Andy Carroll’s near-miss at the death, they came closest to grabbing a winner.
Jozy Altidore’s spurned sitter on the stroke of half-time was far from the first time such a torrid miss has been seen from the American while wearing a Sunderland shirt.
It was symptomatic of a player shorn of confidence and shorn of a striker’s instinct.
The other two brushes with the West Ham net fell far more into the unfortunate category for Sunderland.
Phil Dowd had managed to spot the slightest of pushes from James Tomkins on Adam Johnson in the first half, but he couldn’t spot Winston Reid almost catching Santiago Vergini’s after the break.
It would have made a nice story for Connor Wickham to grab the winner too after penning his new contract at the Stadium of Light. It took a magnificent finger-tip parry from Adrian to deny him.
West Ham are no mugs and given they had won their previous three games, a point isn’t the worst result in the world.
It edges Sunderland closer to that 20-point barrier which Poyet is looking to surpass by the halfway point of the season too.
But the pattern of draws is growing tiresome, even if it’s ironically a result which they would probably take at St James’s Park next weekend.
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