Match Report: Sunderland 0-0 Queens Park Rangers - Nilly Nil Nil Nil

Clive Brunskill

We recap the action from tonight's game at the Stadium Of Light between Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers. If you missed it and are looking for a pretty honest assessment of the supposed action, then look no further.

Fora game which was billed as must win for both sides, it was a relatively quiet opening 15 minutes from both teams as a cautious tempo was set.

The main incident of this whole period was the injury to Lee Cattermole sustained in what was his first challenge of the game, and saw him substituted a minute or two later. It was an incredibly risky move for Martin O'Neill to make in playing the captain from the start, but when you're down near the bottom risks don't tend to come off. Jack Colback came on in relief.

It was really an opening period of half chances. Stephane Sessegnon flashed a half-volley wide of the mark, while former Sunderland striker, Djibril Cisse, went close with a low, curling effort which was tipped away by Simon Mignolet.

Away from these though you'd have been hard pressed to find any other meaningful action as a quarter of the game passed. There were plenty of corners for both sides, but they were all rubbish.

Danny Rose was one of the few bright spots in the first half, showing some great attacking purpose and defending to his usual high standard. One one of those forays forward it was he who was fouled around 20 yards from goal allowing Craig Gardner to smash one off a defender and away.

Phil Bardsley likes to try his luck from distance every now and then, and even more so when there are better options available in the middle He did just this on the half hour and sent the ball into the middle rows of the South Stand with Fletcher, Sessegnon et al all screaming for the ball in the middle.

It took it's time coming, but we were eventually treated to a couple of moments of interest with the half time whistle approaching.

Adel Taarabt wriggled away from two defenders to race forward and slip in Jamie Mackie. The Scotsman whoever was bested by our Belgian beast in goal who'd came out well to meet him. On the rebound Taarabt couldn't get the ball past a wall of defenders who'd assembled in Mignolet's absence from the goalmouth, and neither could Djibril Cisse.

Our one and only chance of not in the first half came from Steven Fletcher. Adam Johnson slipped in Gardner, who in turn slipped in Fletcher, who's low effort was palmed away by Julio Cesar for his first meaningful action of the night.

The rain came down heavy at the Stadium Of Light in the first half, making a damp squib of a game a soaking wet one.

Rangers were forced into a change at half time with Rob Green coming on in place of Julio Cesar. We assume the big Brazilian was injured, or perhaps merely asleep such was the first half.

In general though the second half started as 'lively' as the first half. Taarabt shot straight at Mignolet under pressure from Rose, while Stephane M'Bia also went close with a low skidding effort.

At the other end the best we could muster in 15 minutes was a bit of a goalmouth scramble which bore no shot on target, halted early by a seemingly phantom kick sustained by Rob Green.

A moment of quality did emerge from the gloom on 62 minutes when from Seb Larsson's corner Steven Fletcher angled a bullet of a header low towards goal from close range. Uncharacteristically, Green was equal to it to make an immense stop and deny the Scotsman another goal.

Then we reverted to type. Not much going on barring two terrible freekicks, one from either side. Sessegnon giving away a clumsy one on the very edge of the area which went unpunished by Esteban Granero.

At the other end our own edge of the area place kick smashed straight into the wall without purpose by Gardner.

A switch in tactic and personnel came towards the end with James McClean and Louis Saha coming on for the ineffectual Craig Gardner and Adam Johnson who'd occupied the wing positions for most of the night.

The final ten minutes, much like the rest of the game, passed without incident. A half-hearted appeal for a penalty was turned down while Seb Larsson's long distance strike was easily gathered by Green.

At the other end substitute Shaun Wright-Phillps' effort was also easily gathered by Simon Mignolet as nobody even came close to breaking the deadlock.

Danny Rose tried his luck from distance but couldn't get his strike anywhere near the goal. James McClean's cross only narrowly evaded Sessegnon's head. Nothing was happening as Andre Marriner eventually put us all out of our misery.

It was certainly one of the most 'nilly' nil-nil draws we've witnessed in a while.

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