Sunderland were held to a fifth draw in six Barclays Premier League matches as they played out a goalless affair with Swansea City on Saturday.
Gus Poyet's men are yet to register a victory in the English top flight this season, but looked the more likely to score during a first half of few chances at the Stadium of Light. Swansea struggled to find their rhythm and had to wait until the second period for their first shot on target, when Gylfi Sigurdsson was denied by Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
Connor Wickham headed over from a presentable position in the 74th minute, while Swansea had Angel Rangel sent off for a second bookable offence before time was up. Substitute Steven Fletcher nodded just wide of the left-hand post shortly after the visitors were reduced to 10 men, but the scoreline remained goalless. Sunderland have five points from their opening six fixtures, while Swansea have 10 after halting their run of back-to-back league defeats.
Wilfried Bony returned from a one-match suspension but was forced to settle for a place on the Swansea bench, with Bafetimbi Gomis preferred in attack, while Billy Jones made his first league start since joining Sunderland on a free during the close-season.
After a slow start to proceedings, it was the hosts who got the first sight of goal in the 12th minute, Adam Johnson forcing Lukasz Fabianski into a save at his near post following a flicked header from Wickham, who was back in the team having missed Tuesday's League Cup defeat by Stoke City.
Nathan Dyer has been in a rich vein of goalscoring form during the early part of the 2014/15 season, but his early efforts on Wearside posed little threat to Sunderland goalkeeper Mannone. South Korean midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, who was on loan at Sunderland last term, blasted over in the 20th minute as he looked to mark his return to the Stadium of Light with a goal, but chances proved few and far between for both sides during a quiet first half.
Santiago Vergini had Fabianski scrambling to make a save 10 minutes before the interval when he got his head to a scuffed Sebastian Larsson ball into the penalty area. Wayne Routledge had appeals for a penalty turned down five minutes into the second half after going down under the challenge of Vergini, but aside from a flashpoint between Wickham and Swansea captain Ashley Williams, the match was lacking any real spark.
Another penalty claim was turned down when Wickham went down after backing into Federico Fernandez, before the Sunderland forward failed to get on the end of a low Will Buckley ball across the six-yard box. Wickham headed narrowly over from an excellent Larsson cross 16 minutes from time, but a goal continued to evade the home side. Bony, whose last league goal came at the Stadium of Light in May, looked unlikely to end his goal drought when he fired high and wide shortly after coming on for Gomis.
Swansea's afternoon took a disappointing turn in the 81st minute when Rangel picked up a second yellow card following a collision with Buckley. It was a second dismissal in as many league matches for Swansea, after Bony saw red against Southampton last weekend, but Sunderland were unable to capitalise as Fletcher squandered their best opportunity late on.
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet: "What do we have to do to win a football game? We did everything. We were the better team 11 v 11. We created chances and we were the team looking to have that winning goal.
"When they had a man sent off it was even more like that but we can't put the ball in the net and take advantage of our game. If we were terrible and couldn't pass the ball or create chances I would be worried but the way we played today I am calm.
"I will look to prepare to make sure we win the next game."
Swansea manager Garry Monk: "It was definitely a good point the way the game panned out and going down to 10 men.
"We showed character in adversity and I thought the boys defended admirably and we deserved a point. They had a couple of headers and when we were down to 10 men threw a lot forward but apart from that we limited them to hardly anything.
"We weren't as fluid as we have been but there will be games like that and then you have to do the basics right."
|13 Dec 2014||v West Ham (H)|
|25 Oct 2014||v Arsenal (H)|
|29 Nov 2014||v Chelsea (H)|
|18 Oct 2014||v Southampton (A)|
|03 Dec 2014||v Man City (H)|
|06 Dec 2014||v Liverpool (A)|