Patrick van Aanholt rescues a 1-1 draw for Sunderland against fellow strugglers Bournemouth

Patrick van Aanholt

Patrick van Aanholt

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At the start of the season, Patrick van Aanholt was rightly on the receiving end of a torrent of criticism after a series of costly clangers.

But since Sam Allardyce's arrival at the Stadium of Light, van Aanholt has been completely rejuvenated, with the Dutchman continuing to keep alive Sunderland's hopes of remaining in the Premier League.

Two of van Aanholt's three goals in the previous three Premier League outings had been chalked off as own goals, yet there was no doubting that the left-back was the hero in Sam Allardyce's first draw as Sunderland boss.

The ex-Chelsea man's leveller on the stroke of half-time let Sunderland off the hook after an appalling first half from the Black Cats, when Bournemouth's £10million January signing Benik Afobe had deservedly put the visitors ahead.

Sunderland were better after the break, with Billy Jones drawing a smart save from Bournemouth keeper Artur Boruc, yet Lewis Grabban missed an absolute sitter for the Cherries at the death.

Bournemouth had started as the more confident of the two sides and the Cherries broke the deadlock in the 12th minute - moments after a narrow escape following a low cross from the right wing.

This time, it paid off for the visitors, as Junior Stanislas' low cross was met by an excellent diving header from Afobe, with Vito Mannone unable to keep the effort out when he should have done better.

There should have been another shortly afterwards, when the ball bounced off Stanislas six yards out, with the goal at his mercy, after John O'Shea had deflected Charlie Daniels' cross into his path.

It was completely one-way traffic from the visitors though, with Sunderland utterly abject - unable to retain possession and hoofing it aimlessly forwards towards Jermain Defoe.

Bournemouth had another opportunity in the 25th minute, when Stanislas' angled drive from the right-hand side of the area was parried away by Mannone.

Moments later, the keeper was needed again to keep out Afobe's shot from the edge of the area after the striker failed to spot the unmarked Stanislas, who would have only had the Italian to beat.

Sunderland finally mustered some sort of threat in the 34th minute when O'Shea's header from Billy Jones' knock-down was plucked away by Artur Boruc.

But with the last kick of the first half, the Black Cats got a Get Out of Jail Free Card when van Aanholt drew the hosts levelled.

The left-back scored with a near carbon-copy of the one he had produced at Spurs seven days earlier.

Fabio Borini threaded the ball inside right-back Adam Smith, where van Aanholt ran onto it and powered the ball beyond Boruc.

The supply lines towards Jermain Defoe remained dire at the start of the second half, yet the striker finally got an opportunity to have a sight of goal in the 55th minute.

Lee Cattermole's raking pass picked out Defoe on the left flank, where he cut inside and hit a right-footed shot from 25 yards which drifted just wide of the far post.

Jones had a great chance to put Sunderland ahead three minutes later when he met Adam Johnson's inswinging cross from the right, but his free header from six yards out was well-saved by Boruc.

Sunderland looked the more likely team to go ahead, but Bournemouth were a whisker away with 10 minutes to go when substitute Matt Ritchie's shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection off Dan Gosling, but drifted just wide.

Moments later, Bournemouth's £7million January signing Lewis Grabban missed an absolute sitter after leaving Wes Brown for dead from Stanislas' through-ball.

Grabban has just Mannone to beat, but sent his effort wide of the post.

Sunderland: Mannone, Jones, O'Shea, Brown, van Aanholt, Cattermole, M'Vila, Johnson, Lens (Rodwell 87), Borini (Watmore 66), Defoe. Subs not used: Pickford, Coates, Fletcher, N'Doye, Yedlin. Booked: Jones (90)

Bournemouth: Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Gosling, Surman, Arter, Pugh (Ritchie 57), Stanislas (Murray 90), Afobe (Grabban 64). Subs not used: Federici, Distin, O'Kane, Iturbe. Booked: Surman (18)

Attendance: 41,367