Echo Jury on Sunderland vs Southampton: A welcome point ... after a dreadful first half hour

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IF the challenge of avoiding relegation was not difficult enough, it now seems that Sunderland want to give sides a two-goal lead and not start playing until the second half, writes Keith Appleton.

During the first period, the Mackems were mauled by the scintillating Saints and we were more than fortunate only to be a goal down by half-time.

Thankfully, Poyet seemed to deliver a galvanising team talk and, in the closing stages, the Black Cats could have snatched an unlikely – if undeserved – winner.

Johnson continued his rejuvenation by scoring a priceless equaliser, provided another assist and has now been involved in all of the Wearsiders’ last six goals.

Borini also looks increasingly useful and took his earlier chance well and was just offside for his second “goal” to be disallowed.

At the other end, Mannone saved Brown and Ki embarrassment, following some sloppy passing and he continues to grow in stature.

Team resilience is to be admired and will be crucial in the final 16 league games, but we need to start quicker.