EVERTON boss David Moyes was a frustrated man after seeing substitute Jermaine Beckford pass up the chance to snatch victory at Sunderland.
The former Leeds striker went through on goal in injury time just minutes after Mikel Arteta had levelled, but blasted over the crossbar with just keeper Craig Gordon to beat.
Moyes said: “It was a great chance in the last seconds, through on goal, and he normally finishes them. It could have been three points.
“We had the ball a lot in and around the edge of the box, we got into good positions, but didn’t make them pay.
“It was disappointing we couldn’t finish off our good play.
“(But) we are pleased. It’s a hard place to come, especially after the result last week for Sunderland.”
Ultimately, Arteta rescued a point for the visitors with eight minutes remaining when his low drive was deflected past Gordon by full-back Phil Bardsley.
They had taken the lead through Tim Cahill’s sixth-minute header – his seventh goal in 10 appearances against the Black Cats for Millwall and Everton – and the Australian was later denied a second by goal-line clearances from Jordan Henderson and Lee Cattermole.
In the meantime, Sunderland had equalised when Danny Welbeck, playing alongside leading scorer Darren Bent in the absence of injured record signing Asamoah Gyan, turned Bolo Zenden’s 23rd-minute cross home.
Welbeck, on loan for the season from Manchester United, put the Wearsiders in front with 19 minutes remaining when he headed home Kieran Richardson’s cross with more than a hint of offside in the build-up.
Kieron Richardson was clearly in an offside position – just yards from the referee’s assistant – when the ball was returned to him to cross for Welbeck’s second goal and Moyes quipped: “Obviously it was an offside goal – but it was a difficult one for the linesman to see, wasn’t it?”
Welbeck, for his part, simply commented: “I was just bothered about getting my head on the ball and luckily it went in.”
However, Arteta’s late strike was not the end of the drama with Welbeck and Beckford both passing up glorious opportunities to win the game at the death, the latter with almost the last kick of the game.
Bruce said: “We started slowly against one of the better teams in the Premier League.
“That put us on the back foot, but we responded and overall I have to say I would have taken a 2-2.
“We are a little bit aggrieved to have conceded late, but I think a draw was a fair result.”