Sunderland have stopped the rot.
After four successive defeats, a result was vital at Hull City for the Black Cats, who sit perilously near to the Championship drop zone.
What did we learn from the 1-1 draw at the KCOM Stadium.
What good signings:
Simon Grayson, it would appear, has come up trumps with his deadline day deals.
They may have tired as the game wore on but what terrific shifts, Jonny Williams and Callum McManaman put in.
McManaman’s quick feet produced the away goal and came close to a game-sealer in the second half.
Williams played with energy and intelligence, rarely wasting the ball.
Great to see Vaughan get off the mark:
It’s taken a match or 10 but the 29-year-old has broken his Sunderland duck.
And he broke that duck expertly, heading in Callum McManaman’s delicious cross.
You could see the confidence rise and he twice went close to his second and third Black Cats goals, only being denied by good blocks.
This could well be the platform for the summer signing from Bury to push on.
A point gained?
Some may argue it was two points dropped given Sunderland led for over an hour at the KCOM Stadium.
But after four defeats on the spin, including a couple of shockers, it was vital the Black Catts stopped the rot.
There was plenty of graft from the team, who played for the shirt and their boss, and, at 1-0, they had chances to seal the deal.
They did not come off, but a draw proved a fair result against a side who, despite a few iffy results of their own, are strong at home.
Lack of attacking options on the bench:
There was quite a strong degree of hissing to Grayson’s substitutions on social media.
In defence of the manager, he did not have a great variety of choice among the seven sat behind him in the dug-out.
When Sunderland were being forced back in the second half they needed an outlet up front to try to stop the ball coming back seconds after it had been cleared from the back.
Jack Rodwell and Billy Jones were the first two subs on and both are defensive figures.
Lynden Gooch, the only forward on the bench was the last on.
Cut out the daft bookings:
If Sunderland are to climb the table, they going to have to work hard, which they did at the KCOM.
They are also going to have to be a bit smarter ‘upstairs’.
Sunderland can’t afford needless suspensions and unnecessary cards must be avoided.
James Vaughan is one booking away from a ban after being cautioned for removing the corner flag after his goal.
And Jack Rodwell and Lynden Gooch were yellow-carded within a minute of their entry to the field, putting them on a knife-edge in a fraught finale when it was all hands on deck.
A second yellow and a red could have caused terrible problems.
You CAN play without a penalty spot:
A quirky one to finish with and remember this little fact because it is bound to feature in a pub quiz at some point.
It’s hard to believe, but there were no penalty spots at the KCOM Stadium.
Referee Darren England and Hull City will doubtless get their backsides kicked.
It would have been amusing to have seen the reaction had Mr England needed to point to the spot, only to say ‘hang on, there isn’t one’.
Doubtless we’d have seen the groundstaff run on with a tape measure and pot of whitewash.