- Sunderland vs Crystal Palace

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Saturday 15 March 2014 | Stadium of Light | Referee: Neil Swarbrick | Attendance 43,636

0 - 0
Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace

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Match report

For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for match stats go to the stats tab. Manager reaction and press conferences to follow.

Sunderland remain in the bottom three of the Barclays Premier League after a goalless draw with Crystal Palace at the Stadium of Light.

Gus Poyet's men controlled large parts of Saturday's game, but were unable to find the goal that would have lifted them out of the relegation places.

Sunderland pressured the away side throughout, with Adam Johnson looking particularly lively as he provided Steven Fletcher with plenty of quality deliveries into the box.

Johnson found Fletcher after just three minutes with a brilliant whipped ball, but the Scotsman headed wide.

The result means Sunderland have won only twice in eight Premier League home games, while Tony Pulis' Palace side are winless in five top-flight matches on the road.

Johnson posed a threat after three minutes, cutting in from the right and finding Fletcher, but the chance fizzled out.

Adrian Mariappa picked up a booking after seven minutes for a strong challenge on Fabio Borini, giving Sunderland a chance to test Julian Speroni with a free-kick from the left. Marcos Alonso picked up the cleared set-piece on the edge of the box, but failed to find the target.

There were a further two early cautions, first for Joel Ward after just 12 minutes with a high challenge on Sebastian Larsson and then for Liam Bridcutt when he brought down Mile Jedinak three minutes later. The Palace captain then sent the resulting free-kick well over the crossbar from distance.

The home side bombarded Pulis' men with crosses into the box and the pressure almost paid off when Fletcher tried to flick in Borini's low driven delivery, but he was unable to make clean contact.

Phil Bardsley won a free-kick on the edge of the box when Jedinak pulled him down, and the Sunderland defender looked to have kicked out, but escaped unpunished.

After all of Sunderland's dominance, goalkeeper Vito Mannone nearly made a costly error when he slipped trying to clear a simple back pass, but he was let off the hook as the danger was cleared.

Johnson then saw his 40th-minute shot from the left result in a massive scramble in the Palace six-yard box, with the referee eventually blowing for a free-kick to ease the pressure on the away side.

Jozy Altidore replaced Fletcher at half-time after the former Wolves man picked up an injury just before the break and he nearly made an instant impact when he swivelled in the box, but put his left-footed shot wide after 50 minutes.

Another ball into the box from Sunderland was met by Borini, but he could not keep his volley under the crossbar as it sailed well over.

Larsson was replaced by Craig Gardner on the hour mark as Sunderland pushed for the winner and he was booked only two minutes of arriving on the pitch.

The home side continued to push for a winning goal in the fight to avoid relegation, but were unable to make a breakthrough as the game ended scoreless.

Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet: “Firstly, I think we gave everything. When you give everything, you try everything, you are in control, when you are the team going forward and taking risks, and it doesn’t work for you it’s difficult to blame anyone.

“We were missing a bit of quality but apart from that, the players were outstanding today. The fans, the atmosphere – everything was there to win. It was that ball, that inch, you need to go your way sometimes to get three points.”

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis: “Well it’s important we never lost today. The Barclays Premier League is such a tough league.

“There are quite a few of our players who have never been here before, at the Stadium of Light. Gus Poyet had really wound everyone up, and the atmosphere was absolutely fantastic.

“They withstood that, defended heroically and, at the end, most  probably missed the best chance of the game.”

Fan Rating

- rate the player performances for this match

Line-up All Fans BFR
25. Vito Mannone 6.0 5.97
5. Wes Brown 3.5 4.46
2. Phil Bardsley 2.67 5.15
28. Marcos Alonso 2.33 5.38
16. John O'Shea 3.33 4.88
4. Ki Sung-Yueng 3.33 4.29
26. Liam Bridcutt 5.5 4.59
7. Sebastian Larsson 1.5 5.16
31. Fabio Borini 7.0 5.7
11. Adam Johnson 5.0 5.65
9. Steven Fletcher 3.0 5.4
Substitutes All Fans BFR
8. Craig Gardner 3.33 4.85
14. Jack Colback 3.33 4.82
27. Santiago Vergini 0.67 3.89
17. Jozy Altidore 6.67 5.31
32. Óscar Ustari 3.33 3.37
30. Ignacio Scocco 0.0 4.58
33. Lee Cattermole 3.33 4.98
Line-up All Fans BFR
1. Julian Speroni 0.0 5.52
2. Joel Ward 0.0 5.08
27. Damien Delaney 0.0 4.69
6. Scott Dann 1.0 5.28
3. Adrian Mariappa 0.0 4.18
28. Joe Ledley 0.0 5.76
7. Yannick Bolasie 0.0 5.15
15. Mile Jedinak 0.0 5.56
8. Kagisho Dikgacoi 0.0 4.43
17. Glenn Murray 0.0 5.7
11. Thomas Ince 0.0 5.18
Substitutes All Fans BFR
30. Cameron Jerome - 4.29
31. Adlène Guédioura - 3.94
26. Wayne Hennessey - 4.94
14. Jerome Thomas - 3.91
13. Jason Puncheon - 5.28
5. Patrick McCarthy - 7.17
16. Dwight Gayle - 5.56

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