Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson described his side’s draw with Doncaster Rovers as “cruel” after an injury-time equaliser saw them denied all three points.
The Black Cats came into the match on a three-game losing run in all competitions but looked set to secure the win, dominating for large periods of the game and leading through an exceptional strike from Grant Leadbitter.
Their lead rarely looked threatened but they let it slip at the death, with Fejiri Okenbirhie snatching a point for their opponents.
On the leveller
Sunderland had been on top for much of the game and did a particularly good job of nullifying Doncaster’s threats, but it all fell apart in the second minute of injury time.
One piece of skill saw them beaten down their left side as Brad Halliday advanced, before the defence failed to deal with the resulting cross to allow Okenabirhie to score.
Parkinson said: “It was cruel to concede with the last kick of the game. It was just one moment when we tried to win the ball on the edge of the box and it ended up in the back of the net.”
On the run of play
Until that crucial moment, it had been a much-improved display from Parkinson’s team, and the manager was just left disappointed that they couldn’t kill the game off with another goal.
“The first half was the best we have played for a long time,” he said. “Some of our movement in wide areas was excellent.
“They came into it a bit in the second half to a certain degree but I still felt we were in control of the game. We did not get that second goal and should have taken three points, so I'm disappointed with that, but we have to take heart from the performance because we looked a lot better.”
On the penalty shout
Parkinson had fair reason to be unhappy about one decision in the first half, when Joe Wright’s forceful lunge into Lynden Gooch in the penalty box led to vociferous appeals which were waved away by the referee.
“We should have had a penalty in the first half. I couldn't believe how he did not give it,” he said.
“The refs have to get those decisions right and, even if the ref does not think so, the linesman should let him know it was a stonewall penalty. It proved costly, but really we were in a position where we should have seen the game through anyway.”