Martin O'Neill

O'Neill on away point

by Stuart Vose

Boss sums up draw in East London.

Martin O'Neill felt his side should have bagged themselves a killer second goal as Sunderland drew at West Ham.

The Black Cats took a point from a 1-1 stalemate at the Boleyn Ground as Steven Fletcher's early opener was cancelled out by Kevin Nolan in second-half injury time.

“We should have won the game and we should have been able to hold on,” O'Neill told afterwards.

“There were a number of really good chances to make it 2-0 and with a little bit more care on the ball we could have scored those.

“When you don’t take those chances you always leave yourself wide open to an equalising goal.”

Fletcher opened the scoring after just nine minutes with his fourth goal of the season – a clinical finish from Seb Larsson's cross.

Sunderland mounted a concerted rearguard action, including a world-class save from Simon Mignolet to deny Nolan.

But the West Ham captain broke through when he hooked home from close range in the final moments.

“I’m disappointed for the players,” O'Neill added. “It was a strong defensive performance, particularly in the second half.

”I thought we dealt with everything that West Ham threw into the penalty area and to concede in the fashion that we did was very disappointing.

“Simon [Mignolet] made a great save in the first half to keep us in front - it was a fantastic save and the goal Steven Fletcher scored was also fantastic, but we knew we’d be under pressure in the second half.

“As that pressure mounted, I thought we dealt with it well. But we missed too many good chances and we should have done better. We should have had more than one goal today.”

The result was Sunderland's fourth successive league draw as the Black Cats maintained their unbeaten record this season.

But O'Neill couldn't help thinking of what might have been, reflecting: “We do remain unbeaten in the league, but those extra points today would have made it a great start to the campaign for us.

“If we had managed to hang on I think we would have deserved it.”