Premier League
SunderlandSunderland0Crystal PalaceCrystal Palace0

Sunderland 0-0 Crystal Palace

By Joe TownsendBBC Sport at the Stadium of Light
Sunderland winger Adam Johnson

Crystal Palace remain three points clear of fellow Premier League strugglers Sunderland after a goalless draw at a windy Stadium of Light.

Black Cats forward Fabio Borini went closest to breaking the deadlock when his second-half shot struck the post.

Sunderland 0-0 Crystal Palace: Gus Poyet rues 'two points dropped'

Kagisho Dikgacoi had Palace's best chance, firing an effort wide late on.

But, in a game lacking quality, the Eagles will probably be happy with a point that leaves them a place above Sunderland who are third from bottom.

The failure to win caps a difficult month for the Black Cats, who having lost the League Cup final and exited the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage, remain without a league win since beating Newcastle United on 1 February.

In difficult conditions, Sunderland adapted better than their opponents with Adam Johnson a constant menace to makeshift Palace left-back Joel Ward, who collected an early booking.

The opening chance fell to the hosts when Johnson's right-wing cross looked to be perfect for Steven Fletcher at the back post, but Palace defender Adrian Mariappa was enough of a nuisance to prevent the striker getting his header on target.

Fletcher should have put his side ahead midway through the period when Borini fired across goal, but he could not make a clean connection.

Johnson continued to be the Eagles' main tormentor and when he squeezed free on the right, he again fed Fletcher only for the Scot to miscue his first-time shot.

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone narrowly avoided calamity when he lost his footing and hacked the ball straight to Thomas Ince. Luckily for Mannone, the Eagles midfielder did not get his shot away quickly enough.

It was beginning to look like it was one of those days for Fletcher when Borini flashed a ball across goal and he narrowly failed to get his boot to it.

Sunderland 0-0 Crystal Palace: Tony Pulis prepared for 'tough' relegation battle

Fletcher was replaced by Jozy Altidore at the interval, and the United States frontman should have made an immediate impact. But he could not control the ball well when eight yards from goal, eventually seeing his left-foot shot blocked for a corner.

Livewire Italian Borini, who along with Johnson provided what rare quality was on offer, thought he had put the hosts ahead when he was played in just to the right of goal, but his shot hammered off the upright.

Palace midfielder Dikgacoi should have given them just a second Premier League away win of the season, but missed the target when just yards from goal.

Sunderland manager Guy Poyet:

"The players tried everything and I thought we did things better today. We controlled the game.

"In other games we weren't a threat, but today we tried to get the ball in the box a lot - maybe too much at times.

"The strikers have demanded it, but that inch is not going our way at the moment. I'm very calm today. Nothing will change [in the relegation battle] until the last game.

"If we try and fight like we did today, then we have a chance."

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis:

"Gus said beforehand that this was a 'must-win' game for Sunderland, but I've been in this game long enough to know how quickly things can change around.

"Lose the next three, then win three on the bounce and you're almost there.

"For us, we saw it as 'must not lose' and I couldn't ask any more of my lads - they've got big, big hearts.

"They're very tired in that dressing room, but because they worked so hard I think Julian Speroni has only had to make two saves."

Line-ups

Sunderland

Formation 4-3-3

  • 25Mannone
  • 2Bardsley
  • 28Alonso
  • 26BridcuttBooked at 19mins
  • 16O'Shea
  • 5BrownBooked at 79mins
  • 7LarssonBooked at 57minsSubstituted forGardnerat 61'minutesBooked at 64mins
  • 4Ki Sung-yueng
  • 9FletcherSubstituted forAltidoreat 45'minutes
  • 11JohnsonSubstituted forScoccoat 83'minutes
  • 31Borini

Substitutes

  • 8Gardner
  • 14Colback
  • 17Altidore
  • 27Vergini
  • 30Scocco
  • 32Ustari
  • 33Cattermole

Crystal Palace

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Speroni
  • 3MariappaBooked at 8mins
  • 2WardBooked at 13mins
  • 8DikgacoiBooked at 45mins
  • 6Dann
  • 27DelaneyBooked at 58mins
  • 7BolasieSubstituted forPuncheonat 81'minutes
  • 15Jedinak
  • 17MurraySubstituted forJeromeat 63'minutes
  • 11InceSubstituted forGuédiouraat 74'minutes
  • 28Ledley

Substitutes

  • 5McCarthy
  • 13Puncheon
  • 14Thomas
  • 16Gayle
  • 26Hennessey
  • 30Jerome
  • 31Guédioura
Referee:
Neil Swarbrick
Attendance:
43,636

Match Stats

Home TeamSunderlandAway TeamCrystal Palace
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home19
Away12
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home6
Away2
Fouls
Home16
Away14

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sunderland 0, Crystal Palace 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sunderland 0, Crystal Palace 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Joe Ledley.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Mile Jedinak.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Marcos Alonso.

  6. Post update

    Wes Brown (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace).

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Cameron Jerome following a set piece situation.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Adlène Guédioura (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kagisho Dikgacoi.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Marcos Alonso (Sunderland).

  11. Post update

    Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.

  13. Post update

    Attempt blocked. John O'Shea (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  14. Post update

    Liam Bridcutt (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Adlène Guédioura (Crystal Palace).

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Sunderland. Ignacio Scocco replaces Adam Johnson.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Liam Bridcutt with a headed pass.

  18. Post update

    Fabio Borini (Sunderland) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Ki Sung-Yueng.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jason Puncheon replaces Yannick Bolasie.

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Adlène Guédioura (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Chelsea30206456233366
2Man City27193571274460
3Liverpool28185573353859
4Arsenal28185552282459
5Tottenham2916583737053
6Everton28149540281251
7Man Utd28146846311548
8Southampton3012994337645
9Newcastle29134123740-343
10Aston Villa2997133238-634
11Stoke30810123244-1234
12West Ham2987143238-631
13Hull2986153037-730
14Swansea2978143843-529
15Norwich3078152448-2429
16West Brom29513113343-1028
17Crystal Palace2984171938-1928
18Sunderland2767142642-1625
19Cardiff3067172352-2925
20Fulham3073203065-3524
View full Premier League table

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