Sunderland 0 Swansea 0

Published:
by Stuart Vose

Point apiece in Wearside stalemate.

Sunderland played out a goalless draw with Swansea in a gruelling midweek encounter at the Stadium of Light.

A superb late block from Titus Bramble on sub Danny Graham ensured Sunderland took a point and made it three games unbeaten in the Barclays Premier League.

Graham looked set to score with almost the last kick of the game when Michu's cushioned knock-down fell into his path, but Bramble slid in to get his body in the way and save his side.

The result means the teams have drawn both league meetings in a single season for the first time ever.

Martin O'Neill named an unchanged starting XI following the win at Wigan as he chased a third successive league victory, with new boy Kader Mangane figuring on the bench for the first time.

Swansea, playing possession football, had the best of the early opportunities, with Nathan Dyer curling a shot wide before the mercurial Michu saw a shot deflected over the top by the covering Craig Gardner.

The visitors continued to press and Simon Mignolet had to be alert to tip behind a low snapshot by Chico Flores after the ball dropped kindly to the defender in a packed penalty area.

Then some enterprising approach play opened up space for Dwight Tiendalli, who could only side-foot weakly at Mignolet when in a decent position to the right of goal.

Having been forced on the defensive during the opening exchanges, Sunderland responded just after the 20-minute mark. Adam Johnson was sent sprawling by Tiendalli in the corner and Seb Larsson saw his free-kick punched clear by a scrambling Gerhard Tremmel at the near post.

But back came Swansea, who continued to dominate possession without managing to turn their territorial advantage into chances, barring a snapshot from Michu which was deflected wide just before the break.

Sunderland, meanwhile, looked to regroup at the break and the Black Cats came back out for the second half looking stronger.

Led by the lively Stephane Sessegnon, there was more zip about the hosts' play as they set about clawing back the initiative.

However, chances were few and far between and the visitors slowly but surely wrestled back their foothold.

Jonathan de Guzman landed a curling free-kick on the roof of Mignolet's net on the hour mark, before sub Ki Sung-Yueng followed up with a stinging drive from distance which was well fielded by the Sunderland keeper down low.

The visitors continued to press and should have taken the lead 10 minutes from time.

David Vaughan was caught in possession, giving Michu the chance to advance and square the ball for Nathan Dyer who somehow sidefooted wide from six yards.

The winger, who was put under good pressure by Bramble as the ball came across, was left holding his head in his hands after seeing a golden chance go begging.

Tiendalli tried again late on only to curl wide, but undoubtedly the best opportunity of the match was reserved for the final seconds.

A bouncing ball fell to sub Graham on the edge of the six-yard box, and the striker looked certain to tap the ball into the gaping net before Bramble thundered in with a superb block to snuff out the danger and secure a point for the home side.

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Team Sheet

Mignolet
22
O'Shea
16
Gardner
8
Colback
14
Bramble
19
N'Diaye (McClean)
4
Sessegnon
28
Vaughan
15
Johnson (Wickham)
21
Larsson
7
Fletcher
26
Tremmel
25
Williams
6
Tiendalli Yellow
21
Davies
33
Flores Moreno
4
Hernández (Lamah)
11
Britton (Graham) Yellow
7
Dyer
12
Pérez Cuesta
9
De Guzmán
20
Shechter (Ki)
17

Substitutes

Bardsley
2
Elmohamady
27
Wickham
10
Kilgallon
12
Yellow McClean
23
Mangane
18
Westwood
20
Rangel
22
Bartley
2
Graham
10
Routledge
15
Cornell
13
Lamah
14
Ki
24