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15 March 2014
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: N. Swarbrick
• Attendance: 43636
Thank you for joining us, I've been Greg Taylor, have a great Saturday night.
The draw means Sunderland leapfrog Cardiff into 18th place who lost away to Everton, but Palace have fallen into 17th on 28 points. Still all to play for.
FULL TIME: There's the whistle and I have to say, it's well overdue. Neither side in the second half showed any quality or real desire to win this match, and seemed happy to play out for the draw. But, Pulis will be the happier of the two managers, a point picked up away is always welcome for a relegation threatened side while Poyet will feel they've dropped two points.
90' + 4'
Can anyone produce a moment of magic, a Borini style winner? The answer is no, Bridcutt has time to deliver a good cross but he over hits it and Speroni will have a goal kick. That has summed up this match, sloppy.
90' + 1'
There's going to be five minutes of aded time. Can either side find a winner, do they want to? Borini is still doing all he can to get his side motivated but everyone looks afraid of losing.
CHANCE! What an opportunity, the ball falls to Dikgacoi inside the six yard box, he has to hit the target, but instead steers his effort wide of Mannone's post and Pulis is so angry his hat has fallen off.
Just over two minutes remaining, and both sides look like they're happy with a point. Both sitting fairly deep, just trying to see out the clock.
I don't think I've ever seen so many fouls in a match. 28 so far, breaking up the play and stopping any kind of spectacle. Alonso hits a volley wide from 20 yards and palace survive again.
CROSSBAR! Borini has just come alive, he escapes down teh right and drills a hard shot onto the bar, Palace don't properly clear and Vorini get's another chance, but bends his effort inches wide of Speroni's far post.
Puncheon has come on, can he be Palace's hero again. Just keep him away from penalties.
Guédioura's free kick is well wide and Mannone again has nothing to do. He probably needn't have turned up today.
Yellow Card Wes Brown
Silly foul by Brown on the edge of his area. Lunged in on Jedinak and Palace have a free kick in a very dangerous area. Ledley, Jedinak over it.
The Mackems are pinning Palace back and they've won a free kick. Borini again fouled, this time by Guédioura. Gardner to put it into the mixer. Good delivery, Ki heads it back across the face of goal but Speroni is there to catch it.
You just get the feel Palace are starting to believe they can nick a win here. Sunderland have't been able to find a way through and seem to have lose belief. Palace have a corner, Jerome flicks it on but Mannone claims it.
Sunderland are still very much on top but Palace seem very comfortable. Gardner finds himself in a good position, but he opts to pass to Altidore, but the American misreads the pass and Dann simply intercepts and passes it out from the back.
STAT ATTACK: The Eagles have earned 23 points against other clubs in the bottom half of the table, second only to Swansea (24). Can they make it 25 or possibly 27?
One of these teams really needs to take it by the scruff of the neck. Sunderland who looked good in the first half have been equally as poor the last 10 minutes and Palace look quite happy to just sock up the pressure. Sunderland have a corner.
The game has become very stop, start. Too many silly fouls and sloppy passing has led to a game with very little flow. Dann is currently down injured.
Yellow Card Craig Gardner
So Gardner is on for Larsson much to the Swedes disappointnet. He has been on the pitch for three minutes and has just gone into the book. Palace take the resulting free kick but Brown easily heads it away and Sunderland play it wide to Johnson.
Johnson has been the brightest player on the pitch, Sunderland need to get him into the game more. Again he wriggles past his defender and whips in a great ball into the near post but Altidore is unable to get his head on it and Speroni catches the ball.
We're getting to the point where both managers will start looking toward their bench. Will Pulis gamble on soemeone like Gayle to help his side break the deadlock?
Yellow Card Sebastian Larsson
Yellow Card Damien Delaney
To highlight the Black Cat's dominance, they've had 70 per cent of the possession and 14 shots to Palace's three. It's still all Sunderland, can one of their attackers create something?
Palace are sitting really deep at the moment, allowing Sunderland to just come at them. I wonder if Pulis will go for if it's still goalless toward the end of the match.
Sunderland have made a very positive start to this half. Johnson again whips in a good ball from the right and Altidore is beneath it but Dann is there to head it away.
CLOSE! Great ball in by Larsson toward Altidore, he gets in behind the Palace defnce, but his touch lets him down, but he swivels and gets a shot away but Speroni is equal to it.
There has been one change at the break, Altidore has replaced Fletcher, after the Scottish striker went off limping towards the end of the first half. Bardsley is currently receiving some treatment for a head injury.
CLOSE! Johnson swings in a great ball from tehe right, Borini completely escapes his marker and heads it goalwards but Speroni spreads himself brilliantly and tips it past the post.
We're back underway here at the Stadium of Light.
HALFTIME: Not too much quality on show but plenty of passion and effort. Sunderland have definitely been on top but both sides need to show more quality in the final third. Neither side has created a golden chance yet but Palace were facing increasing pressure towards the end of the half.
45' + 2'
Yellow Card Kagisho Dikgacoi
45' + 2'
Bridcutt does great work in the middle, he looks to start a Sunderland atack but he's cynically brought down from Dikgacoi from behind. Yellow card is out again.
Ki tries a delicious little flick to set Bridcutt on his way but Mariappa reads it and breaks up the attack. There have been so many tussles and both managers can be pleased with their sides commitment so far.
Sunderland win another corner, Bolasi nicks it off Alonso but its bounces out for a corner. They need to start making all these set pieces count. Ince accidentally plays the ball back into the danger area, Borini tries a bicycle kick but the young Italian's effort is wild and wide.
Bardsley wins a corner, Johnson again plays it short and gets it back, he runs toward the box and gets a shot away but it hits Bardsley just two yards out, the Englishman can't get it out his feet and falls on the ball. Palace free kick.
Long ball from Dann toward Murray, he flicks it on to Ince but Brown simply tackles him and passes it away. They look clueless the Eagles, unable to apply any pressure or fashion a meaningful chance.
CHANCE! Best bit of play all half. Beautiful long ball by Brown toward Borini, he cuts it back to Johnson who holds it it well before releasing Borini again to cross toward the six yard box. Fletcher is waiting underneath it but is inches away from getting a decisive touch.
Game has gone a little flat and very much stuck in the middle of the pitch. There has been quite a few fouls which has stopped the game flowing properly but Sunderland still looking bright.
Palace have scored just six goals on their travels all season - unsurprisingly the lowest tally in the Premier League and they haven't won away from Selhurst Park since Boxing Day. Not ideal.
CLOSE! Another free kick for Sunderland, Jedinak again the man fouling. Larsson curls it into the back post, it comes out high toward Ki who hits a first time volley from 25 yards out just wide. They're getting closer.
CHANCE! Great first time cross by Johnson into the six yard box, Fletcher misses it and Borini just can't get a touch. Better from the Black Cats.
Still no clear cut chance for either side, Sunderland definitely look the more likely to score but as usual with teams this end of the table, they struggle to produce in the final third.
Ki does well to drift past a few Palace palyers, he attempts to slip Johnson in but Dikgacoi reads the situation and passes it away.
Jedinak fouls Borini from 30 yards out but no yellow card much to the home fans annoyance. Larsson puts it toward the back post but again Palace easily get it away. The Eagles break, Ward plays it long to Ince who does well to skip past O'Shea but Bardsley gets a very important interception and Sunderland regain possession. End to end stuff now.
Neil Swarbrick has just given out his third booking in the open twenty minutes, for fairly innocuous challenges. The players are going to have to be careful now he's set a precedent. Jedinak finds space and has a pop from 25 yards out but it flies well over and Mannone will take a goal kick.
Yellow Card Liam Bridcutt
FACT: No side have gained fewer points than Sunderland (nine) against sides currently in the bottom half of the Premier League table. They have also scored a league-low eight goals against fellow bottom-half clubs.
I don't think Murray has even touched the ball yet. He looks totally isolated up front. They need to feed Ince and get him on the ball if they want to start causing the Sunderland defence some problems. Sunderland have a throw in their own half as they look to attack.
All Sunderland so far, Pulis will not be happy. Another yellow card for Palace, this time Ward after a foul on Larsson. So both Palace full backs are on a yellow after only 15 minutes. Ki receives the ball from 30 yards out, the crowd shout shoot, so he does, but high and very wide.
Yellow Card Joel Ward
It's been a feisty game so far, already one yellow card, exactly what you'd expect from a relegation scrap. Speroni comes to get the ball but makes a mess of it and Sunderland win a corner. Johnson takes it quickly and sticks it into the back post but Brown nods it over.
Larsson stands over another free kick, Ward heads it away but it falls to Alonso on the edge of the box, he hits a low half volley but it's straight to Speroni and the Palace keeper kicks it clear. But it comes straight back to him, Ki getting round the back and drilling a low shot across the face of goal. Palace definitely on the back foot.
Yellow Card Adrian Mariappa
FACT: There is no doubt that Pulis has improved his side's defence, but it is at the other end where they struggle. Palace have scored just 19 goals in their 28 games this season - the lowest amount out of any of the 92 professional teams in England's top four divisions.Can Murray be the man to increase that low tally?
Another free kick for for Sunderland after Larsson is fouled by Mariappa. Bright start by the Mackems, they are really looking to take the game to the Londoners. Again a good ball crosse din by Johnson is headed clear by Ward.
CHANCE! Great play by Johnson, he receives it on the half way line, runs past two Palace defenders and puts a great ball into the back post for Borini who heads over from six yards. Sunderland looking long so far, trying to get in behind the Palace back four.
Early free kick for Sunderland from the far side is whipped in by Larsson but Speroni reads it really well and claims it calmly.
So Sunderland kick off their first league game since February 22nd, can they return with a victory?
The players are out on the pitch, we'll be underway shortly.
Palace could climb as high as 14th with a victory this afternoon, while defeat could see them drop as low as 19th, and would certainly put them below Sunderland.
Palsce will be without top scorer Marouane Chamakh who remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, so Pulis will be hoping that Glenn Murray's recent return from injury can help propel his side up the table. He scored 30 last season in the Championship and will be hoping to add to that tally today.
Poyet can also partner Borini and Fletcher up front which should cause the Palace defence some problems. With Johnson in fine form this year, the front two should be confident of getting a few goals this afternoon.
It's no surprise to see Poyet make a host of changes to the team that were so poor away to Hull last weekend. Mannone is back in goal replacing Ustari, while Brown comes back into teh isde to join fellow ed-Utd player O'Shea in central defence.
CRYSTAL PALACE SUBS: Hennessey, McCarthy, Guedioura, Puncheon, Thomas, Gayle, Jerome
CRYSTAL PALACE STARTING XI: Speroni; Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward; Bolasie, Digkacoi, Jedinak, Ledley, Ince; Murray
SUNDERLAND SUBS: Gardner, Colback, Altidore, Vergini, Scocco, Cattermole, Ustari
SUNDERLAND STARTING XI: Mannone; Bardsley, Alonso, O'Shea, Brown; Bridcutt, Ki, Larsson; Johnson, Borini, Fletcher
Before we go any further, let's have a look at how both sides are lining up, starting with the home side.
Gus Poyet meanwhile has described this as his sides "biggest game of the season" and more crucial than their recent League Cup final. They have a few games in hand over their relegation rivals and a win today would see them climb out the bottom three.
Last weekend's disappointing home defeat by Southampton has increased the importance of this fixture for Crystal Palace, who have picked up just seven points away from home. It's a rare setback under Tony Pulis, who has steered them to 20 points from 16 games in charge. He will be desperate to win today and edge a little nearer to safety.
Hello and welcome to this afternoon's LIVE play-by-play commentary as Premier League strugglers Sunderland meet fellow relegation battlers Crystal Palace here at The Stadium of Light. My name is Greg Taylor and I'll be guiding you through all the action.
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