Sunderland have continued their opening day rut, which has now extended to eight season curtain raiser's without a win, with a 1-1 draw with Derby County at the Stadium of Light.
The match began with a fitting tribute to Bradley Lowery, who passed away following his fight with Neuroblastoma last month. A minute's applause and chants of "There's only one Bradley Lowery" rang around the stadium for the popular young fan prior to kick off.
Yet Derby opened the scoring with their first attack, a dancing run from Johnny Russell lead to a deflected cross finding Bradley Johnson on the back post, who slotted the ball home with ease. To the delight of the traveling supporters, a goal against the run of play is the sort of grit that fans will want to see as they aim for promotion.
11 GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL (0-1) pic.twitter.com/9PbrkXELVL— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) August 4, 2017
Despite the scoreline, Sunderland's continued to dominate proceedings as Scott Carson made a sensational save to deny Sunderland an equaliser. The ball fumbled around the box before Lee Cattermole struck venomously, as the ball flew towards the top corner he was denied by the Derby Keeper. Sunderland continued to knock on the door for the duration of the first half and were finally rewarded for their efforts.
With five minutes to go in the first half, Sunderland were awarded a penalty as the ball fell down in the 18-yard box,
In fact, the last time the sides met was a 0-0 Premier League clash in 2008 yet this encounter had much more entertainment to it, and the prospect of a goal fest lingered given both teams finding the net in the first half.
56' How did @grabbs22 not get a second?!— Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) August 4, 2017
Lovely ball from Catts arrowed forward but rattled the woodwork!
Vaughan picked up the first booking of the night after a clumsy challenge on Keogh, which was both late and reckless, but overall the referee Oliver Langford had a good grasp on the game.