Six things: Juan Sartori may be in the bad books as Maja's magic continues to inspire Sunderland

Frustration was once again the order of the day at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland drew 1-1 with Fleetwood Town.

Saturday, 8th September 2018, 7:35 pm
Updated Sunday, 9th September 2018, 8:06 am
Josh Maja's magic continues to energise Sunderland and their supporters
Josh Maja's magic continues to energise Sunderland and their supporters

Again the Black Cats will feel they could have won the game - despite another slow start on home soil, which saw them fall behind early on.

Josh Maja levelled late in the first half and - thanks in part to a Jon McLaughlin penalty save - Jack Ross' side sealed a home point.

Josh Maja's magic continues to energise Sunderland and their supporters

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It could, and perhaps should, have been more after a string of late chances, but the Scot will be eager to take some lessons from another hard-fought draw.

And there were plenty of lessons evident, both on and off the pitch, concerning everyone from Joey Barton to Juan Sartori.

Here's six things we learnt from the clash:

Defending crosses - and corners - needs to be better

Jon McLaughlin is quickly turning into a real unsung hero

Fleetwood's goal was far too soft, and Sunderland really need to improve when it comes to defending crosses and, in particular, corners.

The Black Cats have only conceded once from open play this season and generally look solid at the back, but set pieces continue to prove their achilles heel.

All of the Cod Army's best chances in the first half came via corners and, for the goal, Paddy Madden was left unmarked and left with the easiest of finishes.

That needs to be improved upon - and urgently - as other sides will be starting to pick up on this vulnerability.

More can be made of attacking set pieces

At the other end, meanwhile, Sunderland aren't perhaps as effective as they would like to be from set pieces.

There were glimpses of how useful an outlet they could be for Sunderland when Glenn Loovens struck the post from a corner, but there were several opportunities wasted.

In the first half, Sunderland's insistence to go short proved frustrating for supporters - with such height in the side through the likes of Baldwin and Loovens, deliveries into the box seem to make sense.

And if they start coming regularly, it could be another weapon in the Black Cats' arsenal.

Maja's magic continues to prove a catalyst

It was a piece of magic from Maja that proved the turning point in this game.

We're not talking about the goal, but what came minutes before - the striker turning his marker and seeing a shot from the angle well-saved by Alex Cairns.

He created something from nothing, and got the fans back singing after Sunderland had offered very little in attack up to that point.

Little glimpses of magic from the striker continue to prove influential. Long may that continue.

Stopper is turning into the unsung hero of the campaign

After being riddled with goalkeeping problems in recent years, it's refreshing to see that the Black Cats now have a reliable figure between the sticks.

McLaughlin is quietly turning into a real shining light of this campaign and his crucial penalty save only served to emphasise that.

He may not get the recognition that those further forward enjoy, but the Scot's contribution has been no less valuable this season.

It wasn't quite 'David v Goliath'

One of Joey Barton's many, many pre-match comments centred around the game being a 'David v Goliath' fixture.

And perhaps, on paper, it was. But in reality, it transpired to be a very evenly-matched affair.

Sunderland have insisted that they will continue to treat all opposition with the respect they deserve and that was no difference for the visit of Fleetwood.

There are some good teams in this league and Ross will be aware that there are no David's in League One - despite Barton's quip.

Juan Sartori could be in the bad books at home!

Having a child is likely the happiest moment of anyone's life and something you want to savour.

Unless you're Juan Sartori who - just one day after his wife gave birth to a daughter, Julia - jetted in to the Stadium of Light to watch the game.

The Uruguayan may well be in the bad books when he returns home, although he did at least FaceTime his wife and newborn daughter post-match to show them the Stadium of Light.