Sunderland 1 Queens Park Rangers 1: Idrissa Sylla goal not enough for QPR at Black Cats

Queens Park Rangers forward Idrissa Sylla scored at Sunderland (pic: Scott Heavey/PA)

Queens Park Rangers forward Idrissa Sylla scored at Sunderland (pic: Scott Heavey/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Sky Bet Championship: Sunderland 1 (McGeady 61) Queens Park Rangers 1 (Sylla 37)

Sunderland’s wait for a first home win in 2017 continues after they were held to a 1-1 draw by QPR.

The Black Cats have now gone a remarkable 17 games without claiming victory at the Stadium of Light, and they remain rooted in the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone.

Things might have been even worse for them after Idrissa Sylla’s first-half header gave QPR a deserved lead, but a second-half rally saw Aiden McGeady curl home an excellent equaliser from the edge of the area.

The visitors are still waiting for their first away win of the campaign, after they peppered Jason Steele’s goal in search of a late winner without any success.

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Sunderland were able to welcome Duncan Watmore back to the starting line-up after a 10-month absence with a cruciate ligament injury, and the former England Under-21 international was his side’s brightest attacker from the outset.

The Black Cats have missed Watmore’s pace and dribbling ability and, after Alex Smithies made a decent save to deny George Honeyman in the opening minutes, the returning forward set up McGeady for an opportunity that should really have resulted in a breakthrough.

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Having spun past his marker close to the halfway line, Watmore produced a slide-rule pass that sent McGeady galloping clear of the defence. The Republic of Ireland international had plenty of time to pick his spot, but rolled a weak side-footed effort well wide of the target.

QPR had spurned chances of their own by that stage, most notably when Sylla could only head straight at Steele after a long ball caused confusion in the home defence.

There was always a good chance that Sunderland’s defensive deficiencies would rear their head again, though, and sure enough some desperate defending enabled the visitors to open the scoring seven minutes before the break.

Luke Freeman swung over a corner from the right-hand side, and with Steele rooted to his line, Sylla out-jumped James Vaughan inside the six-yard box to head home.

Sylla should have added a second goal shortly before the break, but he blazed over from eight yards after Jamie Mackie picked him out with a driven cross.

Mackie was the provider again at the start of the second half as he pulled the ball back for Pawel Wszolek to drill a shot straight at Steele, but Sunderland also went close shortly after the interval through Lewis Grabban, who came off the bench at the interval to replace the ineffective Vaughan.

Watmore whipped in a cross from the right, and Grabban’s first-time effort was creeping in at the near post before Smithies turned the ball behind for a corner.

Sunderland were a more threatening proposition with Grabban on the field, and they equalised shortly after the hour mark.

Didier Ndong teed up McGeady close to the edge of the area, and the Irishman atoned for his first-half miss as he curled home an exquisite left-footed strike.

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