Rowell Report: Sunderland continue to shoot themselves in the foot as another opportunity passes by

Sunderland's Didier Ndong reflects on his miss against West Ham United. Picture by FRANK REID
Sunderland's Didier Ndong reflects on his miss against West Ham United. Picture by FRANK REID
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Sunderland produced a grandstand finish, came back from behind twice yet still disappointed everybody on Saturday throwing away a golden opportunity for three points against a very average West Ham side.

The Hammers second goal right at the start of the second half was a killer that flattened everybody and it was the second time in six days that we have conceded when a lot of fans were just getting back in their seats after the half-time interval.

In association with John Hogg Funeral Directors

In association with John Hogg Funeral Directors

Unlike against Man United though, this time Sunderland had a real chance of victory. If ever there was a game there for the taking it was on Saturday after doing the hard work by equalising with Wahbi Khazri’s remarkable set piece, which for the first time since the Palace game more than two months ago, gave Sunderland some momentum.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who during the break was thinking three points here and winnable games coming up and maybe – just maybe – the miracle might be on after all, but within two minutes of the restart we concede and the rug is well and truly pulled from underneath us.

It is hard to believe how genuine hope can be thrown away so easily by this team.

Even then, if Didier Ndong had scored when he should have, it would have given Sunderland 20 minutes plus to find a winner, but he blazed over and Sunderland’s second equaliser, when it did come, was too little, too late.

So yet another game that left you feeling frustrated at the end just like so many this season, but if you keep giving the opposition goals at the beginning of each half, what chance have you got?

I didn’t know whether to be glad or angry at Khazri’s man of the match performance as all it did was beg the question why a talented player has been ignored when he has so much to offer.

Last season when he played under Sam Allardyce, I didn’t see a hint of a bad attitude or a lack of effort which makes his virtual season-long exile from the team even harder to work out.

With both Swansea City and Hull City losing, they played their part in helping Sunderland, but for it to really count, we had to help ourselves with a win over West Ham but with the game there for the taking at half-time Sunderland couldn’t deliver.