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Sunderland v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship

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On This Day (28th October 2017): Grayson vows to stay on after Bristol defeat!

The end was almost nigh for the hapless Simon Grayson as his Sunderland side continued to tumble towards the bottom of the table.

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

How the mighty had fallen.

Almost two years to the day, Sunderland fans were on cloud nine after Big Sam’s new team gave them a vital win against local rivals Newcastle at the Stadium of Light.

Two years on, the feeling around the club was almost in complete contrast.

After a dismal 12 months, the club was in freefall languishing at the bottom of the second tier of English football with very little hope in the air.

Simon Grayson’s entire reign as Sunderland manager was similar to a relationship where both parties aren't really in it - they didn’t really want each other at the start, they regretted it as soon as it began and it fizzled out fairly quickly.

Sunderland v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

On this day in October 2017, his team endured another torturous afternoon at the Stadium of Light with future Sunderland manager Lee Johnson beating his soon-to-be employers with his vibrant Bristol City team.

A Callum O’Dowda-inspired Bristol displayed the attacking threat that Johnson’s sides were renowned for with good wing play from the aforementioned Irishman providing the two goals for the away side.

In truth, we started this game quite brightly. We should have taken the lead when Lewis Grabban lifted the ball over the bar after Duncan Watmore had played him through on goal.

Bobby Reid scored for the away side before Grabban made amends on the stroke of half time to make it 1-1.

As was typical of Sunderland throughout this entire season, Bristol controlled the tempo in the second half and got their winner when one of the smallest players on the pitch somehow scored the winner with a header.

Sunderland v Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

This was Sunderland’s seventh game without a win and things were beginning to look ominous for the Sunderland manager.

Despite the fact that the players he had at his disposal were akin to a bad Sunday League team, the former Leeds United and Preston manager did not seem to appear to have any presence within the club.

With the team on such a horrendous run, rumours were rife that Grayson had lost the dressing room and was the next in line off Sunderland’s chopping block.

Minutes after the game, the manager vowed to fight on though stopped short of defending his team.

I am disappointed with the players and what they have done today.

Yesterday we had a team meeting, designed to give players jobs and responsibilities. We repeated it again at lunchtime today and we have not been able to stop a player at 5ft 7ins getting a free header. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot.

We did get a break and a real boost with the goal, and I said at half-time we wanted to go on and impose ourselves but we kept on making really bad decisions.

Even in the last 15 minutes we huffed and puffed without being effective and lost our shape. We have to carry out our game plan.

Keeping on the theme of Halloween, Grayson lost his job three days later after a tragic 3-3 draw with bottom placed Bolton.

The manner of the result was the final straw for Grayson after a putrid time as manager.


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