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Published: 18:37 | 30/4/16

Allardyce praises Defoe following late equaliser

Striker nets 93rd minute penalty at Stoke

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce admits the Black Cats would already be relegated if it wasn't for the goals of Jermain Defoe.

Defoe coolly netted an injury-time equaliser at the Britannia Stadium to secure a 1-1 draw with Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium, and leave Sunderland's Premier League destiny in their own hands.

Sunderland drop into the relegation zone despite the draw, one point behind Newcastle following the Magpies' 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, but crucially the Black Cats have a game in hand on their North-East neighbours.

"Where would we be without Jermain Defoe? Relegated probably. The other lads haven’t scored enough goals, Jermain has kept us close to be out of trouble,” said Allardyce.

"I am going home satisfied it is a point gained rather than two dropped."

Sunderland face Chelsea and then Everton at the Stadium of Light, before a final-day visit to Watford on 15 May, and Allardyce is hopeful that his team can beat Guus Hiddink's side to set up a tense final week of the season,

"We have our destiny in our own hands and have got to play better so if the referee slips up we have got to make sure it doesn’t cost us," he said.

"It was a scruffy, scrappy game, we have got to win that game in hand and certainly next week against Chelsea."

Defoe, who won the penalty in injury-time following a trip by Stoke defender Geoff Cameron, says he was not psyched out by the time gap between the award and the taking of the spot-kick.

"I thought we played well today, first half was scrappy but it is a difficult place to come," the former England striker told Sky Sports.

"I thought they played well but you always need that bit of luck and we got it in the end.

"Everyone worked hard and put a shift in and we will fight to the end. The lads gave the ball to me and I was confident I would score.

"I didn’t realise about any delay, when it is a penalty you try and relax and there was no negative thoughts in my mind. It is a massive relief, we will take the point."

Defoe was disappointed by the performance of referee Craig Pawson, feeling the man in black failed to spot a Peter Crouch push on Younes Kaboul in the build up to Marko Arnautovic's 50th minute opener.

"It is a brilliant point in the end but for me one that could have been a win rather than the draw," he continued.

"Obviously they didn’t deserve their goal because it was a blatant foul on Younes Kaboul and we should have had a penalty when Geoff Cameron flicks the ball with his hand and referee and his assistant don’t see it.

"Those things have gone against us today which has not allowed us to be in a position to win it.

"It is a very precious point and in the end the referee was brave and good enough to make the right decision for us for the penalty."

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