Sunday 25 February 2018

WATCH - Aiden McGeady scored a 25-yard screamer for Sunderland today

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Simon Grayson is hoping Sunderland's 1-1 draw with QPR will turn out to be a "small step" on the journey to turning the club around.

Sunderland are still searching for their first home victory of 2017 after they failed to win at the Stadium of Light for the 17th home game in succession.

Aiden McGeady's equaliser just after the hour cancelled out Idrissa Sylla's 37th-minute opener, but Sunderland's supporters grew increasingly restless as they watched their side fail to win on home soil once again.

Grayson understands the fans' frustrations, but is hoping his players will take confidence from their second-half comeback.

He said: "The lads showed a lot of character. We've not won it, but we've not got beat. That's a small step, and hopefully the small steps that we're taking at this moment in time will help lead to bigger ones in the next few weeks.

"When we're at home, we want to break that hoodoo and win games. I thought we started okay, but we knew the first goal would be important and we had a couple of decent opportunities before they scored.

"We got done on a set-piece, which isn't really like us, and that knocked us back a bit. Full credit to the players, they were brave in the second half and we were more positive and passed it on the front foot.

"It was a great goal from Aiden, and we looked like the only team that were going to win it once we got back into it. But of course you're disappointed because you want to be picking up three points at home."

QPR boss Ian Holloway felt his side did enough to claim all three points, and sensed that the home crowd were ready to turn if Sunderland had fallen two goals behind.

Jason Steele made a succession of saves to prevent QPR pulling further ahead, although he was aided by some profligate finishing.

Holloway said: "If we had got that second goal, that might have killed them stone dead. I thought we bossed it. For the away team, I thought we played really well.

"The biggest difference was the substitutions that Simon has the capacity to make. Sometimes, that can make a big difference in this division. We lost Jack Robinson in the week and that was a big blow because he has been excellent for us.

"Last year, our goalkeeper had to make save after save in a lot of games for us, but we feel much more comfortable now. Sunderland had their moments, but as a team I thought we created a lot of chances.

"We needed that second goal though, and we just couldn't get it. If we had got it, then I just felt as though the atmosphere around the place would have made it very difficult for them."

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