The Black Cats picked up their first league win at the Stadium of Light since November 3, and their first under head coach Lee Johnson.

There have been steady signs of improvement under the 39-year-old since arriving on Wearside.

Sunderland are still within touching distance of the play-offs and have number of games in hand.

But, they must make them count.

Games like yesterday afternoon could prove vital in the second half of the campaign.

Sunderland's lack of home comforts in recent weeks has been well documented and they must use the win against the Shrews as a platform to stop the rot at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats were comfortably the better side in the first half and for 30 minutes - played some brilliant football.

They cut open the visitors with ease and could have been two or three goals to the good, were it not for a lack of composure in front of goal.

It was a tale of two halves. The hosts had to weather wave after wave of Shrewsbury attack, which they did.

The Black Cats have already shown they have the capability to blow teams away - like the Lincoln City performance showed and the opening half hour yesterday, but the Shrews win shows that they can win ugly.

Jordan Willis' return from injury has been vital in this. His partnership with Bailey Wright has eradicated any errors that we've seen from the Black Cats in the first half of the campaign.

Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson
Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson

Johnson is under no illusion that his side must find a way to maintain their intensity for longer parts of the game.

"It was [a game of two halves],” he said.

“I thought first half an hour was outstanding, exactly how we want to play.

“When we start to put together 96 minute performances like that we'll be very close.

“But it doesn't always work like that in football and in the second half we had to dig in.

“They made it a battle, we made it a battle at times and that's something we've got to look at.

“But it's a game where it was a bit nervy and we've got the clean sheet."

Four of Sunderland's next five home games at the Stadium of Light are against teams below them.

If they're serious about maintaining a play-off push they need to string a number of wins together to get back in the mix.

This League One season has shown it's unpredictability a number of times this campaign already.

The Black Cats need consistency and no doubt Johnson will stress that to his players ahead of the trip to Ipswich on Tuesday night.