Grayson is delighted after Vaughan gets off sickbed to score
GOALSCORER James Vaughan climbed out of his sickbed to answer Sunderland’s SOS call and help the Black Cats end their run of four successive defeats, boss Simon Grayson revealed.
With Lewis Grabban sidelined with a hamstring problem, summer signing Vaughan was the Black Cats’ only available senior striker, and although the former Bury man had been laid low by a sickness bug, he played virtually the entire 90 minutes of Sunderland’s 1-1 draw away at Hull City.
And Vaughan’s reward was his first goal for the club, after nine appearances in all competitions without finding the net.
“Vaughan was in bed Thursday night and all day Friday with sickness and diarrhoea so he was on his last legs in the last 15-20 minutes,” said Grayson, who eventually replaced him with Lynden Gooch in the 89th minute.
“But he did ever so well today to get off his sickbed and contribute as he did. I was pleased that he played and got his reward with the goal as well.”
On Grabban, he added: “He’s going to be out for a few weeks. I’m not going to say how long but it’s weeks rather than days.
“It’s a blow to us because he’s been doing well and we are not in a position where we have loads of bodies to fill that position.”
Vaughan’s goal came just after the quarter-hour mark and, with Sunderland unable to add a second, they were forced to defend for much of the second half.
And they held out until the 82nd minute, when former Black Cat David Meyler’s shot deflected off Lamine Kone past Robbin Ruiter.
“We wanted to get that second goal – [Hull goalkeeper Allan] McGregor made a great save from Callum McManaman, we had a two-on-two with George Honeyman and Vaughan which we didn’t take advantage of,” said Grayson
“Sometimes you have to see games through with what you have on the bench, but we don’t have that strength in depth at this moment in time.
“But in another week, 10 days, two weeks or so when we have Duncan Watmore and Aiden McGeady back, it will give us those extra options from the start and bench.”
Grayson was understandably disappointed to drop two
points in the final 10 minutes, but he was encouraged by the performance which was another step forward after their improved showing in defeat against Nottingham Forest in midweek.
He said: “Overall, I was disappointed, but pleased as well.
“The first 45-60 minutes, we were very comfortable and dominated the ball, created some good chances and got the goal, I thought we played well.
“We didn’t allow too many chances against us in that spell, but you know that they are going to come out and put you under some pressure at some stage.
“To withstand that pressure as we did was pleasing, it showed the character in the group, but ultimately the pressure told and they equalised with a deflected goal.
“I think if we’d got the second goal, we would have gone on to win the game. It was pleasing that we built on the performance of Tuesday night when we played well and got nothing.
“We could have quite easily crumbled under the pressure today and lost the game.
“We had to do whatever is required to break that cycle of four straight defeats, and a point against a good team is a start.
“In the final 20 minutes, we didn’t pass the ball and retain it as well as we can do. You have to give Hull some credit for that, [Jarrod] Bowen and [Kamil] Grosicki are probably two of the most talented players in this division at times.
“I think we just ran out of steam a little bit. The likes of McManaman and [Jonny] Williams were very effective in the first half, but the week caught up with them in the final 20 minutes, they didn’t really have the legs to keep it going.
“You want to make substitutions like-for-like, but we didn’t have the strength in depth to do that. I wanted us to be secure, but I also wanted us to have options to go forward; we didn’t quite have that.”
One player who will make a difference when fully fit is Watmore, who returned to action yesterday after nine months out of action with a cruciate ligament injury. He played 45 minutes for the U23s at Man City, winning and scoring a penalty in a 2-2 draw.
“Duncan played today and won a penalty and converted it for the U23s, which is pleasing,” said Grayson. “He will be important for us when we get him back.”