It is to Sunderland’s immense credit that this week another unnecessary red card did not lead to their downfall.
Last week Callum McManaman’s bizarre dismissal changed the game and turned three potential points into another home humiliation.
The fear was that something similar would happen here when, after repelling Wolves’ advances with little real trouble for an hour, Lee Cattermole was booked less than twice in a minute.
The first came as he looked to snuff out a Wolves counter but the second was entirely self-inflicted, being caught on the ball and then rashly sliding in.
From there Sunderland were put under severe pressure, dropping deeper and deeper as Wolves threw bodies forward.
Tiredness was clearly beginning to creep in, gaps emerging in a defence that had looked secure before then.
The expensively-assembled attacking force queued up to cross and shoot but Sunderland held on. They were excellent in the air, committed in the tackle and the crucial moments, Robbin Ruiter stood up with some excellent saves.
Chris Coleman set the side up in a 3-5-2 that in a positional sense had strong similarities with the system that brought so much success to his Wales side, but here it was all about defensive organisation and a clean sheet against an attacking force this potent was testament to the work done on the training ground this week.
Wolves had good moments in the game, Diogo Jota fluffing a number of good chances, but for the most part the Black Cats kept the game in front of them and were rarely stretched.
There is much to work on, particularly ahead of two crucial home games.
The poise and composure on the ball was short of where it needs to be again and it is true that they offered little in attack.
But in what is without doubt a relegation fight, the commitment and discipline was second to none and will give the manager a lot of hope for the season ahead.
Most important of all, they didn't cave when adversity presented itself in the second half.
That was a certian step forward.