Six things: Sunderland set piece woe, Coleman subs and why has upturn been so long in coming?

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Sunderland's inability to defend set pieces has haunted them all season and when it mattered most, it was their downfall again.

Time and time again Sunderland have shipped goals from corners and free-kicks this campaign, every goal conceded pushing them closer to the drop.

Sunderland drew 1-1 with Norwich City at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland drew 1-1 with Norwich City at the Stadium of Light.

Here's what we learned from the Norwich City draw.

Sunderland now firmly in miracle territory:

The writing has been on the wall for weeks, if not months, but only a miracle will now save Sunderland from the drop this season.

With four games to go, 12 points to play for, Sunderland are six points from safety and staring third tier football square in the face.

George Honeyman in action against Norwich City.

George Honeyman in action against Norwich City.

For a team that has only won six games all season, the chances of winning four straight games is remote, you'd have to say.

But that's what is needed just to give Sunderland a fighting chance.

Sunderland's inability to defend a set piece costs them dear. Again.

On the face of it, a draw was probably a fair result with both sides enjoying chances during an entertaining encounter at the Stadium of Light.

But with Sunderland leading 1-0 going into the final minutes, they were within touching distance of cutting the gap to safety to four points.

With four games left, that would have made life at the bottom of the Championship very interesting indeed, especially with Reading and Burton up next.

Yet, Sunderland again proved incapable of defending a set piece.

A free-kick into the box, the first ball isn't cleared and they aren't in a position to clear the knockdown, unmarked Ivo Pinto sweeping home.

Early John O'Shea departure through injury proved pivotal.

With 20 minutes to go, Sunderland lost their skipper and chief organiser O'Shea with back and groin problems.

He couldn't continue any longer - and while he certainly hasn't been immune from criticism this season - he proved a big loss for the final stages last night.

Jake Clarke-Salter replaced him and looked indecisive for the final 20 minutes and the Norwich equaliser came from a free-kick into the Sunderland area.

Had O'Shea been there would Sunderland have escaped with a crucial win? We'll never know.

Perhaps not, but Sunderland certainly lacked his leadership and organisational skills late on and he is now set to miss the trip to Reading through injury.

Lynden Gooch a shining light for Sunderland.

The attacking midfielder was excellent again for Sunderland against Norwich City.

He has been a real plus point in recent weeks and will be a huge asset next season, if as looks increasingly likely, Sunderland are relegated.

Tenacious and dogged, he gave James Husband a really difficult evening. He took a heavy knock late on and Coleman will be sweating on his fitness over the coming days.

Sunderland can compete at this level, so why has it taken so long?

Sunderland could easily have won all of their last four games, they beat Derby County convincingly and were unfortunate against Sheffield Wednesday before giving away leads against

Leeds United and Norwich City.

It just highlights that this team is capable of competing at this level so why has it taken the best part of 40-games to get performances like the ones witnessed in recent weeks?

It has just added to the feeling of misery and frustration on Wearside.

Could Joel Asoro have helped make the game comfortable before late Norwich sucker-punch?

Chris Coleman made three subs against Norwich City, two of them enforced with Adam Matthews and John O'Shea coming off after picking up injuries.

On came Bryan Oviedo at the break for Matthews and Jake Clarke-Salter with 20 minutes to go for O'Shea.

Fair enough, no argument there given the latest injuries picked up.

But could youngster Joel Asoro have been brought on instead of Kazenga LuaLua and much earlier in the game?

Asoro, who had been in good form prior to his concussion suffered on international duty a couple of weeks back, would have added fresh legs, pace and a new attacking threat.