SAFC TEN YEARS ON: Hysen saves the day, Roy Keane pleased

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Here’s what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago.

HYSEN SAVES THE DAY - Sunderland hit back for point from poor show

Below-par Sunderland had to come from behind today to scrape a point against Leicester in new boss Roy Keane’s first home match.

Watched by comfortably their biggest crowd of the season, over 35,000, they mustered only one shot on target in the first half when Stan Varga’s side-footed effort was saved by keeper Paul Henderson.

Lowly Leicester, on the other hand, were much better than had been expected and not only looked comfortable in the first half but enjoyed the better pressure.

The visitors took the lead in the 48th minute when striker Matt Fryatt capitalised on an error from Liam Miller to advance on goal and drive a low short across Ben Alnwick from the edge of the area and into the keepers’s left-hand corner.

Sunderland – so impressive in their midweek win at Leeds – had not been at the races but they got back into it in the 65th minute when substitute Tobias Hysen scored with virtually his first touch of the game, sweeping in a low shot from just outside the area which did Henderson for power and accuracy, nestling in the bottom left-hand corner of Henderson’s net.

Still Sunderland could not raise their game enough to claim all three points. But with City also having chances of their own, a draw was a fair result.

LEFT-OUT LADS’ ATTITUDE GIVES KEANE BOOST: Roy Keane says there have been many things that have pleased him since taking over the reins of Sunderland Football Club last month.

But possibly the biggest has been the response of those players he has had to disappoint.

Three wins out of three, seven goals scored, once conceded, and a trio of stirring performances have been notched up since Kean first walked through the doors at the Stadium of Light.

And there have been plenty of other things to cheer, not least the performances of his five new signings.

But football is a squad game and the new manager feels his squad has shown exactly the sort of approach that he approves of.

He said: “Possibly the biggest plus for me since I got here has been the reaction of the players I have had to leave out.

“I made five changes from the team which beat West Brom and that meant disappointing a few players who would have expected to be involved in the normal course of things.

“Toby Hysen has had a good debut, Neill Collins had scored and it had been a good performance all round.

“I picked the team though that I thought was best equipped to beat Derby County and you could say I was right because we won that game.

“Similarly, in the Leeds United game, Chris Brown, who had scored against Derby, and Rory Delap made way.

“But I have spoken to the players involved and I have to say their attitude has been terrific.

“They have accepted the situation and have shown exactly the right attitude to it and they have also worked very hard in training

“That’s the sort of response I want and expect and obviously it improves players’ chances of getting in.”

There is no doubt that the influence of Keane and the expansion of the squad has improved not only results but also injected a newfound desire.

All three substitutes who came on on Wednesday against Leeds bust the proverbial gut to make their mark.

And Keane was delighted with their work.

He said: “I was very pleased with Grant Leadbitter.

“I had a feeling before the game that would come on and be an influence in it.

“And that’s the way it proved to be, he passed it really well and he also got a good shot in on goal.

“Stephen Elliott was the same. Again I felt that he would change things when he came on and he got himself a great goal before his injury.

“Likewise, Liam Lawrence came on and couldn’t wait to put himself about and that’s what I like to see from my players.

“I’ve come in and I’ve not asked anything of the players that they are not capable of producing.

“All I expect from them is that they give me 100 per cent of what they have.

“If they do that. I’ll be happy and so far they have done.”