The story of the night as Sunderland are pegged back by Hull City in entertaining clash

In the end Sunderland just didn't have enough.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 9:42 pm

They had been excellent in the first half, deserving of their narrow lead over champions-elect Hull City.

Through the second period the hosts responded strongly, and it was hard to argue that they were not fully deserving of their point.

Sunderland had been energetic and committed throughout, but on a night when Peterborough United threatened to leave the door ever so slightly ajar, they couldn't quite apply the pressure.

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Hull City celebrate their equalising goal at the KCOM Stadium

Lee Johnson had reverted to a 4-3-3 system for the first time since the 4-1 win at Doncaster that sparked that long unbeaten run, and from the off the Black Cats looked refreshed.

Hull did have the best early chance when Wilks forced a good save, but Sunderland looked a threat and were playing with a dynamism that had deserted them previously.

They came within inches of an opener when Gooch found Jones at the back post, the winger's header bouncing back off the bar.

They would combine just moments later, though. Gooch did superbly to win the ball back by the corner flag, and even better to play an early cross to the back post. Jones arrived unmarked and thumped home on the volley.

Sunderland's pressing looked improved, sparked by Josh Scowen who in particular looked liberated with his brief to focus on harrying the opposition.

Throughout the half, though, slack passes in dabgerous area left them exposed and the speed of Hull's transition told you why they hold such a strong position.

Their equaliser was too easy, Wilks able to stand up a cross too easily and as the visiting defence switched off, Magennis had an easy headed finish.

Sunderland kept going, and it was Gooch again who drove them forward. Controlling a loose ball into the box, he knocked past Elder and drew the handball.

After lengthy protests, Leadbitter sent Ingram the wrong way with typical composure.

Sunderland looked good, though Hull continued to threaten when the passing was not precise enough.

Wilks was a menace throughout and drew as strong stop from Burge right at the start of the second half.

The home side continued to apply most of the pressure in search of an equaliser, and were becoming increasingly frustrated at the what they perceived to be poor officiating.

Wilks was perhaps fortunate only to be shown a yellow when knocking the flag out of the linesman's hand at one stage.

On the ball he remained the game's best player, again beating McFadzean and standing up a cross for Magennis to head in another equaliser.

Sunderland had been on the ropes, Scowen deny Magennis with a stunning cross moments earlier.

Hull continued to look the more likely even as Johnson began to ring the changes, Lewis-Potter missing a golden opportunity after Wright gifted him the ball in the final third.

Sunderland enjoyed more possession and territory in the closing stages, but a point was always going to be more than enough for the hosts and the onus was on the Black Cats to find another gear.

For the fourth game in a row, they just weren’t able to do it.

They came close in stoppage time, substitute O’Brien forcing a fine save from Ingram before thumping a header off the bar, but Hull were able to hold on.

Sunderland XI: Burge; Power, Wright, O’Nien, McFadzean (Hume, 75); Leadbitter (O’Brien, 72), Scowen, Winchester (Diamond, 72); Gooch, Jones (Maguire, 80), Wyke

Subs: Patterson, Stewart, Younger

Hull City XI: Ingram; Coyle, Jones, Greaves, Elder; Slater (Smallwood, 79), Docherty; Wilks, Honeyman (Crowley, 79), Lewis-Potter (Whyte, 79); Magennis

Subs: Long, Burke, Eaves, Emmanuel

Bookings: Wright, 15 Wyke, 19 Lewis-Potter, 50 Wilks, 60 O’Nien, 89

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