Blackpool boss Simon Grayson was left disappointed in his bid to finally celebrate a win on Wearside as his side were held by struggling Sunderland.
Grayson failed to win a home game at the Stadium of Light during his time as Sunderland’s manager, and a little over two years after his sacking he returned with the Seasiders.
Despite watching his Blackpool side take the lead inside four minutes through Matty Virtue, Grayson had to settle for a point as Charlie Wyke’s first goal since August secured the hosts a 1-1 draw in League One.
Grayson did not have the chance to face the media when he was sacked in October 2017 after a 3-3 draw with Bolton – then managed by Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson – so he was in far better spirits this time as he entered the Black Cats’ media suite.
“I didn’t get much stick this time, so that was alright,” said Grayson. “I turned right instead of left when I came in (to the dressing room).
“It has been nice to see staff who I didn’t get chance to see when I left but I was ushered away quickly that night. There aren’t many players still here, one of the players (Aiden McGeady) was sent home earlier in the week.
“There were no issues with anything coming back here for me. I wanted to come here and win a match like we did last weekend.
“Slightly disappointed we haven’t won a game to be honest, but we just didn’t do enough at the top end to try to get a second goal – particularly in the last 15 minutes or so as well when they had 10 men.”
That red card was for George Dobson, who was dismissed with 16 minutes remaining for lunging in on Arnand Gnanuillet – the same player he clashed with at the end of the first half when they were both cautioned.
Sunderland are winless in eight and sit 12th in League One – the joint worst position the club has ever occupied.
Parkinson – who wanted a response having told winger McGeady to look for a new club during the week – has now only won two of his first 13 matches in charge.
His assistant Steve Parkin, who explained Parkinson was taking a break from media duties, said: “I am disappointed with the first four minutes, but we had a good reaction to conceding a goal.
“Body language is important, reactions are important and I am glad they took it on board today. If you go behind you need to see a reaction and we saw that. They didn’t let their heads go down. It was nice to see Charlie get a good goal as well.
“We showed a lot of character, the sending off was harsh. With the hindsight of seeing it again, it was harsh, I don’t see it as second yellow card. The lads got organised and made it difficult for Blackpool and we may have even sneaked it at the end.”