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Premier League

  • 14 April 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Stadium of Light, Sunderland
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 37476

Sunderland 0-0 Wolves: Stalemate sees hosts climb to ninth as relegation looms large for Wanderers

Sunderland 0-0 Wolves: Stalemate sees hosts climb to ninth as relegation looms large for Wanderers

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Martin O'Neill's team on the up in the Premier League table despite playing out a poor goalless draw at the Stadium of Light, with both teams lacking quality in attack

Sunderland moved up to ninth in the Premier League table despite turning in an uninspiring performance in a bore 0-0 draw with Wolves.

Martin O'Neill's team had the better chances, with Stephane Sessegnon looking most likely to break the deadlock, but the Wolves defence held out for their first clean sheet under Terry Connor.

They might have even snatched a second-half winner when Sylvan Ebanks-Blake found space in the box, but wasted the opportunity. Steven Fletcher was also denied by Simon Mignolet late in the game.

James McClean came closest for the Black Cats, forcing Wayne Hennessey into an excellent save with a header at the back post before Sebastian Larsson missed the target from close range.

Both O'Neill and Connor made changes to the teams that suffered heavy defeats at the hands of Everton and Arsenal respectively. Nicklas Bendtner returned to the Sunderland attack alongside Sessegnon, with Kieran Richardson coming in at left-back.

Wolves handed the midfield reins to youngsters Anthony Forde and David Davis, with Ebanks-Blake partnering Fletcher in attack and Christophe Berra replacing the suspended Sebastien Bassong.

Sunderland started the match on the front foot but Wolves seemed to have settled when the home side put together the most dangerous move of the opening 15 minutes on the counter-attack. Larsson and Sessegnon worked the ball across the pitch to left winger McClean, who could only hit the side netting with a low shot.

The Black Cats continued to probe but their attacking spark fizzled out as the half wore on. Sessegnon forced a good save from Wayne Hennessey with a 20-yard shot before Larsson's resulting corner narrowly evaded the Benin forward. The home support was growing increasingly restless by the time Phil Bardsley had fired an ambitious shot harmlessly past the post.

Sessegnon was comfortably the most dangerous player on the pitch but saw another effort blocked after weaving away from two Wolves defenders early in the second half. That Sunderland could not muster much more seemed to invigorate the visitors, though, as they gradually grew into what was probably their best period of the match.

A low, driven effort from Forde was stopped by Mignolet but the Belgian should have been in more trouble when Fletcher picked out Ebanks-Blake in the penalty area with a neat back heel. The former Manchester United striker could not control his shot and hit the side netting.

Hennessey was forced into a fine save when McClean stooped at the back post to head back across goal and Mignolet palmed away Fletcher's header with a diving save as both teams pressed for a late winner.

Larsson came agonisingly close with under two minutes to go when he got a leg to Sessegnon's low cross.

The breakthrough did not arrive, though, as both teams took a point out of a match short on ideas and quality in the final third.

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