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Match Report: Sunderland 0-0 Swansea City - Far From Pretty, But A Point Nonetheless

Sunderland and Swansea played out a 0-0 draw at the Stadium Of Light tonight, and while things were far from pretty a point is a point and we can move on. The only way this was to be any different was if we'd lost, so lets be thankful for the cleansheet and another point on the board.

Stu Forster

Things got underway at the Stadium Of Light at a fairly tepid pace, with incredibly little action to talk really talk about as Swansea settled well into the game and we tried to figure them out.

An early Sunderland freekick for Sunderland was whipped into the area but cleared with ease while at the opposite end Itay Shechter's half-hearted appeal for a penalty wasn't catching the interest of Andre Marriner. In addition to this Nathan Dyer's effort from distance wouldn't have raised Simon Mignolet's heart rate.

Swansea kicked up through the gears and went on to dominate the first half, both in terms of chances and possession. We knew we'd probably lose the latter battle but we really ought to have asserted ourselves a little more than we did for large spells.

From our own corner Swansea forced a good opportunity, with some neat passing leading to Michu wriggling free in the area and Craig Gardner getting the decisive deflection to take it away from Mignolet's goal.

Following a corner of their own Chico Flores remained forward and skinned Gardner in the way you'd expect a nippy winger too rather than a lumbering central defender. Yet more intricate passing allowed the Flores to force Mignolet into the first meaningful save of the game, low and to his right.

Perhaps the most clearcut opportunity came to Dwight Tiendalli as the clock hit the 20-minute mark. Teed up just inside the area and with plenty of time to decide what he wanted to do the fullback opted to rather kindly just side foot the ball straight at Mignolet.

Sunderland managed a meek fight back for a spell. No chances at all created of note, but at least it stifled Swansea's very dominant display up to this point.

As half time came the two sides basically just exchanged poor long range efforts. Flores firing well over for Swansea and Craig Gardner doing that thing he does for freekicks, which lead to the ball ballooning well over the bar from a superb central location.

One minute of injury time added, and it was probably one too many. O'Neill straight down the tunnel with presumably a few rockets to fire up some backsides after a poor first half showing from his side.

Those rockets appeared to have the desired effect as for the opening ten minutes of the second half it was Sunderland who dominated and carved out the half chances, with Stephane Sessegnon at the heart of everything.

Having been moved inside after starting on the wing he was much more involved, and started a great move which lead to Seb Larsson's cross being whipped off his toes with the trigger poised to be pulled.

Larsson seemed to have his eye in as he sent in a pair of dangerous corners in quick succession but alas nothing to overly trouble Gerhard Tremmel in the visitors goal.

Certainly this was now a contest. Which it certainly hadn't been throughout the first half.

The visitors were restricted to long range efforts, but only Jonathan De Guzman's clever freekick was really one to worry about as he tried to catch out Mignolet by shooting when the cross was more on, the ball landing on the top of the net thankfully.

Craig Gardner tried yet another of those freekicks from pretty much the same position and distance as he did in the first half. This one was at least much lower than the first, but also nowhere near powerful enough or accurate enough as it trickled wide of Tremmel's goal.

Some more good work from Sessegnon in tandem with David Vaughan nearly caused an opening but unfortunately for us the Welshman's through-ball to Steven Fletcher clipped the heels of his countryman Ashley Williams.

Changes were made from both sides as both looked to nick a winner. Roland Lamah entered for Swansea and was nearly on the scoresheet early after Seb Larsson stupidly gave up possession near his own box, but thankfully Mignolet was alive to the danger and smothered the ball before the Belgian could get there.

Meanwhile James McClean came on for us at the expense of Alfred N'Diaye, who had a decent enough game in the middle, but clear that he was still learning the English game. McClean's first real contribution however was to be booked for diving. We'll have less of that please.

Things got even more interesting with 15-minutes to go as Danny Graham entered the fray. As would have been expected I'm sure it was to booing and some chanting about his roots. We're desperately short of strikers and he seemingly wants to come here. The same people will no doubt be bemoaning O'Neill if we don't get anyone in. Well done everyone.

Chances dried up as time began to expire. Well, from our side anyway, Swansea still managed to create a few things, with Nathan Dyer squandering the best of those after good work between he and Michu.

Tiendalli once again got himself in a good position late on but curled an effort wide of the mark, for us Connor Wickham was introduced as a last throw of the dice to little avail as it was the visitors who did all the pressing.

They nearly nicked it in the final minute of added time, and who else would the chance fall to but Graham? In a goalmouth scramble Titus Bramble spared our blushes and managed to both block and clear the danger with almost the final kick(s) of the game.

Overall it was far from a pretty game, but a point is a point and on another night we'd have lost this one by a couple of goals. I guess while we all wanted an improved performance, you can't grumble too much with a cleansheet from what was on paper at least, a difficult fixture.

There'll be further match reaction and stuff in our Match Stream, HERE.

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