A decent away point
My general rule of thumb is that a point away from home is a good result regardless of the flow of the game, and I have to say that probably applies here, too.
After we’d conceded a penalty (which was thankfully missed) and then gone down to ten men early in the second half, I think I would’ve snapped your arm off for a draw.
That doesn’t really tell the full story, but given both teams played so badly I think I’m just about happy to be sat here with another point on the board.
We move on.
The return of the ‘Loch Ness Drogba’
Without a doubt, the biggest highlight of the day was not only the return of Ross Stewart but the fact that he scored a really good goal to get us off and running at a time when we didn’t look like scoring.
He hasn’t kicked a ball in a league game since August, yet he looked like he’d never been away.
From chasing down balls when out of possession, to getting the first contact when defending set pieces and most importantly, getting on the end of a through ball before finishing under the goalkeeper when everyone was expecting a lob. Top stuff.
There are naturally going to be comparisons drawn between Stewart and Ellis Simms and the dilemma for Tony Mowbray will be about whether he plays them together or not, but just in that short period of time yesterday I think we saw lots of what we’ve been missing without Stewart in the team - he’s hugely important to us.
Delayed changes from Tony Mowbray
It was obvious at half-time that we needed to make early, decisive changes if we were going to start the second period well and grab control of the game, yet we waited until after we’d almost let the game escape our grasp before doing something about it.
Mowbray is very loyal to some of these lads and I don’t get it. Even before his red card, I think it was obvious that Elliot Embleton wasn’t playing well and needed to come off.
When you have a player as talented as Patrick Roberts sat on the bench, I have to ask: what are you waiting for? Similarly, I felt that with something different up top we could get an early foothold in the game, but he held back in bringing Ross Stewart on.
We came out after the break doing more of what we’d done in the first half, and after conceding a penalty that was missed and then having a man sent off, we were left thanking our lucky stars.
Mowbray made the changes, and they had an impact, but it shouldn’t have taken him that long to do it. If this was a one off I’d say ‘fair enough’, but it wasn’t. It seems to happen all the time and I’m not sure why, but it needs to be addressed.
Ruthlessness will win us points this season more often than not.
Get well soon, Embo!
Thoughts on his performance aside, it’s clear that Embleton picked up a very serious injury in the incident which led to his dismissal.
Let’s just hope he’s not out for too long, because it didn’t look great.
Malc Dugdale says...
A point against the odds
We should’ve been a goal down when we went a man down but Hull wasted the penalty.
We then managed to grab the lead and defended until the end for a draw. Every point is vital and that one will do for me, especially in the circumstances.
It was a good effort from the players who got the point for us.
A scoring return for Stewart!
Ross Stewart marked his return from injury with a well-taken goal after entering the game from the bench.
His hold-up play, line running and even his defensive headers in our box were a joy to watch, and I really hope that he feels good and continues to go from strength to strength.
More injury concerns
Just as we got Stewart and Dan Ballard back, we lost Alex Pritchard with a niggle and then Danny Batth and Elliot Embleton during the match.
We’ve had a poor run of luck with injuries and we have to hope both players are not too badly hurt- especially Batth, who’s been immense this season.
Embleton has been a bit of a ‘marmite’ player and although I don’t think his tackle was a red card, I think we’ve got the depth to cover for him.
A poor display from Amad
After such stellar performances of late, Amad had a bit of a poor one on Saturday, and his touches and attempts to get past Hull generally didn’t come off.
Everyone’s allowed a bad day and Patrick Roberts came on and made the assist for Stewart, so hopefully our depth can keep us going if players experience injuries or dips in form.
Andrew Smithson says...
Sunderland against the world
On Saturday, it sometimes felt as if everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
With Alex Pritchard out and Danny Batth going off, we were without two of our most senior players, and to then concede a penalty and to have a man dismissed felt like a recipe for disaster.
To get a point with all that going against us shows great determination, and whilst I know the hosts had lost their last four games at home, I think we can still come away feeling positive.
Time to take stock
Hull were promoted a season before us, but generally speaking, we seem to be in the better place.
We’re halfway through the 2022/2023 season and although there’s always room for improvement, it’s clear that we’re more than good enough for this level. To lose our head coach and to be without our main striker for so long yet still keep picking up points was very impressive, and I’m feeling confident about the next few months.
We can be inconsistent and that’s to be expected, but the effort we saw suggests that the players are on board, and if that remains the case we’ll do just fine.
More bad luck with injuries
To have Dan Ballard and Ross Stewart back was a major boost, but to lose Elliot Embleton and possibly Batth and Pritchard sums up our luck on the injury front.
Had we been able to select from a fully-fit squad for most games, I think we’d be even higher up the table, and it’s frustrating not to be able to name a more settled team at certain points.
Games at Hull have often been action-packed and I can think of at least four red cards that we’ve been shown since they moved stadiums.
I need to see the latest one again, because I think it’s an incident where it comes down to interpretation, but the amount of cards we’ve picked up is a concern.
A lot of them are down to factors outside of our control, but I do worry that it’ll give us a poor reputation, which could lead to more decisions going against us.
The penalty call was marginal at best, and although it didn’t result in a goal, that won’t always be the case.
Jon Guy says…
Stewart and Ballard making their comebacks
It was a real boost to see them back in action, and Stewart did what he does best.
He scores goals, but his all-round play is fantastic. He was the class act when he came on, and Ballard showed just what he can deliver.
We pressed for the victory despite going down to ten men.
It was clear that we were out to win the game even after the red card, whereas in the past, it would’ve been a case of ten men behind the ball and try to hold on for a point.
Yet more injury woes
No sooner does it look like the squad is getting back to full fitness than we saw Danny Batth exit the game after ten minutes, before Elliot Embleton was carried off with what looked like a nasty injury.
We’ll need every member of the squad this season, so to see them depart was a blow.
Another questionable refereeing performance
We don’t seem to be getting the rub of the green with decisions.
I felt that Embleton’s sending-off was harsh as he was focused on the ball, but apart from the red card, the referee was awarding Hull free kicks for incidents that were overlooked when we were on the receiving end.