O’Neill admits it was a heart-in-mouth moment for him when the ball fell to Graham six yards out and deep into injury-time.
However, Bramble’s desperate block made sure the game remained goalless – and gave the striker a sporting chance at his new club.
Martin O’Neill: “It would have made it awkward!
“First of all, I was just hoping we could get a block on the shot and I was delighted the chance came and went and we did not lose the game so late on.
“However, it was a relief as far as signing Danny was concerned, too.
“Danny came on to the field on Tuesday night to an adverse reaction.
“That was due to some comments he made a long time ago, and that was only to be expected.
“My slight concern about it was Danny’s reaction to the fans’ reaction and what that might be.
“However, the fact that, even after experiencing that, he still wanted to come up here and show the fans he wanted to play for the club might tell you an awful lot about his character.
“Something like that might have put other players off, but Danny was determined to come.
“The Sunderland fans will judge him on what he does once he dons the shirt, and that is all you can ask for.
“When I was at Nottingham Forest as a player, I saw players arrive from Derby Country – and Brian Clough as manager himself, of course – and what mattered in the end was how they did for Forest.
“If you play well, and in the case of a striker score goals, the fans will take to you.
“I have been asked whether Danny will be a substitute for Steven Fletcher – I do not see it like that.
“It might start off that way, but over the course of time I do not think they will have any problem playing together.”