Match report: Lads held by Preston

Sunderland AFC 0-0 Preston North End

Sunderland returned to Sky Bet Championship action with a goalless draw against Preston North End at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

The Lads enjoyed the better of the play during the first period on Wearside, but it remained goalless at the interval.

Anthony Patterson was tested for the first time eight minutes after the restart and he was equal to it, producing a one-handed save to deny Ched Evans.

Patrick Roberts went close on multiple occasions throughout the 90 minutes, but the sides were forced to settle for a point apiece at the final whistle.

Sunderland stepped up the intensity early on in front of over 41,000 supporters, with Embleton a fraction away from diverting Alex Pritchard’s effort on target.

However, they were almost caught cold when Aji Alese’s stunning goalline clearance denied Ben Whiteman as the visitors asserted themselves in the stages that followed.

Clear-cut chances remained few and far between and the deadlock remained intact after 20 minutes, with the Lads going close once again when Alese flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal.

Roberts impressed throughout the opening period and he almost opened the scoring nine minutes before the break, darting inside and bending a thumping effort just wide.

A double save by Freddie Woodman followed, as Embleton was denied not once but twice before the half-time whistled sounded at the Stadium of Light.

Patterson produced goalkeeping heroics of his own following the interval, saving from Evans after Liam Lindsay’s knockdown found the striker ten yards from goal.

Sunderland responded through Roberts and the winger went close again before the hour mark, sending a low strike just wide after a brilliant nutmeg created the space.   

Abdoullah Ba and Amad entered the fray with half-an-hour on the clock, with Jewison Bennette and then Leon Dajaku joining the action shortly after.

The Costa Rica international almost had a tap in when Woodman was unable to hold an Amad strike, but the goalkeeper gathered at the second attempt and it ended all square on Wearside.

Sunderland AFC: Patterson, O’Nien, Batth, Alese, Gooch, Evans (Ba 60), Neil, Clarke (Dajaku 81), Roberts, Embleton (Amad 60), Pritchard (Bennette 70).
Subs not used:
Bass, Wright, Matete.

Preston North End: Woodman, Storey, Lindsay, Cunningham, Brady (McCann 86), Whiteman, Browne, Ledson (Woodburn 73), Fernandez, Evans (Parrott 67), Riis.
Subs not used:
Wissels: Cornell, Diaby, Potts, Johnson.

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