Sunderland went into the game with only one fit senior striker after Lewis Grabban’s injury against Forest midweek. Adam Matthews retained his place in the starting 11 as did new boys Jonny Williams, Marc Wilson and Callum McManaman whilst Lamine Kone came in for Tyias Browning who ultimately cost the match on Tuesday night.
Leonid Slutsky’s side had scored four in their previous home game, despite a defeat at Craven Cottage midweek. Former Black Cats Fraizer Campbell and David Meyler started on the bench, whereas Sweden international Sebastian Larsson started for the former Russia manager’s side.
In another pretty uneventful Sunderland game on the whole. Hull had the first chance despite Sunderland edging the early exchanges and it came for on loan Chelsea full back Ola Aina. He fired a ball across the six yard area which Robbin Ruiter could only push out back into the danger area - but midfielder Didier Ndong was on hand to clear.
For once, Sunderland actually capitalised on their early dominance when Callum McManaman’s cross was met by James Vaughan, who had peeled off his marker at the back and got in front of Aina. The ex Everton man nodded into the bottom left corner past the helpless former Rangers goalie Allan McGregor. This was Vaughan's first goal for the club despite signing in early July and missing two penalties. Some fans had even branded him a “new Altidore”. He celebrated with his trademark by kicking the corner flag down.
Not long after this Sunderland started to look dangerous again as Vaughan got the better of Hull’s summer recruit Michael Hector and forced McGregor into a near post save with his legs. Nothing else really happened in the first half apart from a few half chances for the home side. Nouha Dicko's shot about five yards wide was the closest the home side got to a goal. Seb Larsson’s free kick against his former club sailed over to end the half.
Second half saw Sunderland step off the peddle and put 11 men behind the ball, reminiscent of the Martin O’Neil era - parking the bus when only 1-0 up. Ruiter's goal was peppered with efforts and the Dutchman was called into action when Polish winger Kamil Grosicki headed back across goal, forcing a superb save by the ex Utrecht goalie. Some good footwork at the other end by McManaman on the counter forced a super reflex save by McGregor.
Campbell was introduced and replaced the ex Wolves striker Dicko to immediate effect as his shot from range was just inches over, getting home fans out of seats. Another Grosicki header back across goal looked like it could’ve been dipping in past Ruiter but Campbell, hungry for a goal against his former employers, came rushing in and headed the ball very high and very wide.
The equaliser did eventually come and it was deserved, coming from former Sunderland youth player David Meyler who had come on at half time. The goal had been coming and poor tactics of all out defence ultimately cost the visitors three points. Meyler was played in by Campbell as the two substitute former Sunderland players combined, before taking it further into the box unchallenged and then unleashing a tame toe poke at Ruiter’s goal. The Irishman’s shot deflected off Kone, wrong footing Ruiter who failed to deal with another near post effort.
This point on the road for Sunderland meant they had more points away from home this season, again, and it also ended a four game losing streak for Grayson’s men.
Ruiter: 6, Matthews: 6, Oviedo: 6, Kone: 5, Wilson: 5, Cattermole: 6, Ndong: 7, Williams: 7 (Rodwell ’75), McManaman: 8 (Jones ’80), Honeyman: 5, Vaughan: 8 (Gooch ’90)
Jones: 3, Rodwell: 3, Gooch: N/A