They came for a draw and still managed to win.
Nottingham Forest, a team who were so rigid they almost resembled the tree on their crest, looked content to come away from the Stadium of Light with a point and they still managed to nick the all three.
Sunderland may have been much improved from the Sheffield United debacle but they still continue to be their own worst enemy.
Every time the players broke into the Forest half, they looked lost. Whoever had the ball seemed to look up for someone, anyone, to take responsibility and make something happen.
The likes of Jonny Williams and Bryan Oviedo had the odd run at the defence but even then, they were bereft of options. The attacking cohesion looks so non-existent in this Sunderland side that there’s so point getting off your seat when we break forward. It’s hard to even muster a token lean forward as a surge towards goal rarely ends in a shot on target.
Even with that, there looked to be a positive to take from a much more organised defensive display. A first clean sheet of the season was in sight and even though the visitors rarely tested Robbin Ruiter (he’d only had one save to make until Daryl Murphy broke the deadlock) it would have at least been a vague sign of progress.
As I said though, Sunderland are their own worst enemy and Tyias Browning’s hospital pass gave Barrie McKay the chance to feed Murphy and nick the game for Mark Warburton’s side.
Browning’s reaction was much like that of the sparse crowd at the SoL, which will understandably continue to dwindle if such low levels of inspiration is displayed. There wasn’t anger, just a quiet devastation.
I suppose the only difference between the young defender and the supporters was that Browning couldn’t believe what had happened. Those in the stands could believe it though as it’s the kind of act that we’ve become used to.
Now that Sunderland go into their game against Hull City on the back of four defeats, three where they’ve been outplayed and one where they perhaps deserved something, it makes Simon Grayson’s tough gig even tougher.
He doesn’t just have to lift the confidence off the floor, he needs to find a way getting his team to create chances.
Without Aiden McGeady, Sunderland don’t look like they have anyone capable of conjuring up a goal scoring opportunity. Callum McManaman will need to get up to speed as quickly as possible and Williams will need to add a final ball to his tireless work, if The Lads are to get the better of a Tigers side who have struggled for form themselves.
Who is there to put the ball in the net though? Injury to Lewis Grabban leaves James Vaughan as Grayson’s only choice when it comes to senior strikers, so time has certainly ran out for him to end his drought.
No one is going to present us with the kind of golden chance we gave Forest, we desperately need someone to stand up and have the guts to be the man who can single handedly win a game for us. It’s time for someone to take responsibility.