A telling touchline shout and a change in the Sunderland dugout: The moments might you might have missed at York City
Sunderland’s draw with York City was watched by thousands on live streams, but there were a few moments that the cameras may have missed.
From changes on the bench to a pleasant change in the stands - here’s the moments you may have missed from the 1-1 draw:
THE COACHING STAFF CHANGE
Sunderland remain on the lookout for a new goalkeeping coach - after Lee Butler left the club to join Wrexham earlier this month.
Academy graduate David Preece had worked with the side in Scotland and in the warm-ups ahead of the fixture at Hearts, but that was a short-term arrangement for the time being.
And while the Black Cats continue their hunt for a replacement for Butler, it was academy goalkeeping coach Mark Prudhoe who worked with the stoppers at the York Community Stadium.
A fairly swift permanent appointment is hoped for, but in the short-term it would be little surprise to see Prudhoe continuing with the first-team side.
THE VOCAL TRAVELLING SUPPORT
There were plenty of red and white shirts in attendance at York on Wednesday evening, as fans enjoyed a first away day for 14 months.
And while there ultimately little to cheer about in terms of the result, that didn’t stop Sunderland fans from backing the side throughout.
As soon as when the teams were first read out - and Aiden McGeady’s name was met with a far greater cheer than any other player listed - it was clear that it would be Sunderland fans making the noise in North Yorkshire.
There were chants for new signing Tyrese Dyce and youngster Ellis Taylor, while a host of players and staff were encouraged to ‘give us a wave’ (most did, in fairness).
It’s a pleasant change after over a year of games being played in front of empty stadiums, and whet the appetite for a larger-scale return of fans in the near future.
THE SUNDERLAND ROTATION
While Lee Johnson has used pre-season as a chance to rotate his squad - he made three changes to his starting line-up at York - so too has it given him the chance to rotate the captain’s armband.
Dan Neil was named as skipper for the trip to Spennymoor, with Lynden Gooch then taking on the responsibility against Hearts.
But at York the role fell to the club’s most senior player in Aiden McGeady.
Johnson is yet to announce who will replace Max Power as the club’s captain but is likely to view the likes of Gooch and McGeady as leaders within the group regardless of whether they wear the armband.
But both are surely contenders for some kind of captaincy role during the 2021/22 campaign.
THE EARLY COMMENT THAT PAINTED A CLEAR PICTURE
While Sunderland saw plenty of the ball, their attacking play was at times frustrating with some missed opportunities to really stretch the York backline.
The Black Cats controlled their possession well but were not as penetrative as head coach Johnson would have liked.
That said, the visitors did carve out a couple of excellent moves - the first of which led to the opening goal of the game.
The second came late on and won Sunderland the late spot kick that was missed by Benji Kimpioka.
But there were times in the game where Johnson was visibly frustrated with the lack of a real cutting edge to carve apart the York backline.
Indeed, with barely five minutes on the clock, he had already called on Ross Stewart to start making more runs into space - highlighting the areas between the full-backs and centre-backs as a prime opportunity.
It was from a similar position that the Wearsiders won their penalty at Hearts on Saturday, and Johnson said it was something fans could expect to see plenty of this term.
And judging by that shout at York, it’s going to be a real hallmark of Sunderland’s play this term - particularly when Stewart is leading the line.
THE ATTACKING CHANGE
Sunderland’s shape was somewhat similar to that which the side started in at Hearts, and is what we are to expect to be Johnson’s preferred way of lining-up ahead of the new campaign.
But there was a notable difference at York - with Elliot Embleton getting into far more advanced areas than he has done in the previous two friendlies.
That led to a much better performance from the academy graduate, who was a key cog in all the good elements of Sunderland’s play.
It was he who helped to create the openings for both the goal and the late penalty, with some neat switches of play and clever vision to pick out players in space.
He showed a good range of passing throughout and certainly showed the creativity he can bring to the side this term - which will hopefully reduce the reliance on Aiden McGeady.
It must also be noted that the role of Corry Evans played a key part in Embleton being able to push on.
The summer signing played his anchor role exceptionally well, protecting the back four and breaking up play while simultaneously allowing Embleton and Dan Neil to play higher up the field.
THE YOUNGSTER QUICKLY HITTING HIS STRIDE
We’ve already learned that Callum Doyle really isn’t your average 17-year-old.
The Manchester City loanee has quickly hit his stride at Sunderland and put in another composed yet commanding display at the York Community Stadium.
And it was pleasing the youngster barking out instructions to his far more senior teammates - showing the leadership qualities Sunderland will undoubtedly need this season.