It was crucial Sunderland headed into yet another international break with some sort of result against West Bromwich Albion.
The season is only seven games old. This wasn't a must-win game. But Sunderland needed something to give their long-suffering supporters.
Some shoots of hope. Sunderland started well enough and Jermain Defoe will be kicking himself all weekend that he didn't convert his third-minute chance.
The move was free-flowing with Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore and Dider Ndong all involved.
It was probably the best move of the match but Defoe screwed his effort wide. Sunderland kept plugging away but it was West Brom that opened the scoring.
Cue the inevitable drop of heads and confidence. It was like watching a balloon deflate.
And it took Sunderland a while to get over. Nerves and anxiety evident around the Stadium of Light.
With just a single point from their opening six Premier League games, the failure to win in August and September had ensured another dismal start to the season.
Sunderland needed something from this game. A win ideally but if not, then certainly do not lose.
That would have opened the floodgates, with fan patience wearing very thin.
As it was, David Moyes switched to a 3-5-2 and Sunderland fought their way back into the game.
The side lacks quality. You can't knock their endeavour or character. But quality is short in key areas.
Too many passes going astray and poor decision making in key areas. Sub Patrick van Aanholt started and finished the 83rd minute move that salvaged a point.
Far from ideal but at least Sunderland had something to take into the break.
The return of John O'Shea ensured more organisation at the back, while Didier Ndong impressed in central midfield.
Moyes has taken - and continues to take a lot of stick from fans - but he deserves credit for switching formation. It paid off in the end.
Wins are needed, though.
Sunderland have two weeks to work out how to get their first of the season ahead of a tough double header away from home.