Sunderland 0-0 Stoke City - Match Report
There was no separating Sunderland and Stoke City in a dour goalless draw at the Stadium of Light.
Neither side was able to shine in a drab, no score bore draw.
- Sunderland 0-0 Stoke City: As it happened
City boss Tony Pulis will have been the happier of the two managers, while Steve Bruce will have been hoping for much from his outfit on home turf.
The Black Cats worked hard, but were lacking in ideas when it came to unlocking a Stoke side, which was set up to defend, and got men behind the ball every time the hosts attacked.
Too many times the home side relied on lumping the ball up to strike pairing Kenwyne Jones and Darren Bent, but the high balls were food and drink to Stoke defenders Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross.
The Wearsiders had the greater share of the possession in the first half, but the Potters did look dangerous on the break.
In fact, Pulis' side could have gone in front as early as the second minute, but ex-Black Cat Dean Whitehead wasted his one-on-one as Craig Gordon got down to make the save.
Sunderland did have chances of their own in the opening half, Steed Malbranque firing wide on 11 minutes and forcing a save out of Thomas Sorensen in the Stoke goal.
Sorensen was also on hand to save an Andy Reid free-kick on 43 minutes - the Irishman's effort had the precision, but lacked the power needed to beat the Dane.
Before then the hosts felt they should have had a penalty on more than one occasion.
Jones was manhandled more than once in the area by City's central defensive pairing of Huth and Shawcross - Shawcross in particular seemed determined to tear the shirt from the Trinidad and Tobago star's back at one point.
However, referee Howard Webb waved away the appeals from the incensed Sunderland players on two occasions.
The game looked set to get a little heated just before the break as Whitehead went into the book for kicking out at Lee Cattermole.
Cattermole returned the favour with a late tackle just before the interval, and he too saw yellow for his troubles.
After the break the game continued in much the same vein, both sides failing to convert half-chances.
Sunderland saw their third penalty appeal of the evening denied on 62 minutes as Huth handled the ball on the edge of the area.
Ten minutes later substitute Fraizer Campbell wasted a good chance to put the Black Cats in front - miskicking in the area.
With the clock running down Gordon did well to save from Stoke substitute Ricardo Fuller and, just before full-time, Campbell was pushed to the ground in the box, but again referee Webb refused to award a spot-kick.
At the death Huth headed wide of the target from Glenn Whelan's corner.
The final whistle will have come as a blessed relief to the footballing neutrals, but there was little relief for the suffering home supporters, who saw their side drop another two much-needed Premier League points.
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