Draw specialists Sunderland halted West Ham United's impressive winning run with a 1-1 stalemate at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
One of the Barclays Premier League's most in-form teams, fourth-placed West Ham travelled to the north east on the back of three straight top-flight victories, but found themselves frustrated by a resolute Sunderland side.
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet spoke of his desire to turn draws into wins in the lead up to the match, after a run of results that had seen his team take a share of the spoils against Chelsea and Liverpool.
And it looked as if the Wearsiders were set to claim only their third BPL win of the campaign when Jordi Gomez gave them the lead from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute.
Yet West Ham's response was swift and Stewart Downing quickly levelled matters in the 29th minute.
From there, West Ham looked the more likely to push on and take all three points but, despite a string of second-half chances, they were left to settle for a point.
Sunderland, meanwhile, have now drawn 10 of their 16 top-flight fixtures this term.
Poyet's side lived dangerously in the early exchanges and goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon was forced into a near-post save in the sixth minute to deny Carl Jenkinson following a poor defensive header from John O'Shea.
The hosts were vulnerable at the back but went ahead in controversial fashion.
Adam Johnson went to ground in the area under contact from James Tomkins and referee Phil Dowd showed pointed to the spot. Gomez stepped up and tucked the ball into the bottom right corner.
West Ham levelled just seven minutes later, though, with Downing restoring parity by cutting on to his left foot and unleashing a low effort that deflected off a defender and beyond the outstretched hand of Pantilimon.
Aside from their spot-kick, Sunderland created little in terms of goal-scoring opportunities.
But they should have retaken the lead on the stroke of half-time, Jozy Altidore failing to connect with Sebastian Larsson's right-wing cross from three yards out with the goal at his mercy.
Sunderland made the better start to a second half disrupted by a head injury sustained by West Ham defender Winston Reid, Johnson heavily involved again as his curling free-kick was punched away by Adrian after a handball from Alex Song.
Pantilimon was soon forced into action at the other end to prevent to thwart Aaron Cresswell from close range, before Andy Carroll chipped narrowly over the bar after neat link-up play with Diafra Sakho.
A frantic finish saw Sunderland denied a second penalty for an apparent handball from Reid and Adrian tip a fierce effort from Connor Wickham over the bar.
But neither side were able to nick a late winner, instead taking a hard-fought point apiece.
Sunderland Head Coach Gus Poyet: "We did enough to win the game. It was a game that whichever side scored more than one goal would win.
"I never felt we were under pressure, where you want the final whistle to come. We cannot ask the players for more, we cannot be more organised but there is something missing at the moment and we need to find it.
"Luck helps, but we need to hit the target. When you have a break you need to put in a good cross. To play the football I want, at the moment we are quite far away. We are doing as much as we can at the moment."
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "I wanted three points. I think the performances and chances created deserve that but we respect a point away from home in the Premier League.
"The overall performance from the players was excellent and you have to be satisfied when you come back from a goal down.
"We created enough chances in the first 20 or so minutes to win two games. In the end, we respect the point but on the performance overall I think we deserved all three."
|21 Dec 2014||v Newcastle (A)|
|26 Dec 2014||v Hull (H)|
|28 Dec 2014||v Aston Villa (A)|
|01 Jan 2015||v Man City (A)|
|10 Jan 2015||v Liverpool (H)|
|17 Jan 2015||v Spurs (A)|