Stoke City 0 Sunderland 0

Point apiece in the Potteries.

Sunderland ground out a valuable point at Stoke as they claimed their fourth away draw of the season.

The Black Cats were comfortable for long periods at the Britannia Stadium, although they did have to soak up late pressure to make sure of a point.

Sunderland didn't create too many chances, with their best opportunity falling to leading scorer Steven Fletcher in the final 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, Simon Mignolet was in fine form at the other end with arguably a man-of-the-match performance.

Traditionally strong at home, Stoke have not been beaten on their own patch since Sunderland's victory in the Potteries back in February, and the visitors had to work hard for their point.

Martin O'Neill opted to bring Lee Cattermole back into the side with the Sunderland skipper returning after a three-match ban.

Stephane Sessegnon dropped to the bench, although he did see action as a substitute early in the second half.

Neither keeper was tested during a quiet opening 20 minutes with both teams making tentative starts.

Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross was the first to threaten, shooting on the turn following a goalmouth scramble, but keeper Mignolet gathered comfortably down low.

Then Carlos Cuellar did well to head away a curling effort from Michael Kightly having sprinted back fully 80 yards after taking part in a Sunderland counter-attack.

The Spaniard was in the thick of it at the other end just after the half-hour, connecting with a deep Seb Larsson free-kick with a header which drifted just wide of the post with Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic at full stretch.

Both sides were struggling to create clear-cut openings and went in at the break hoping for better in the second period.

But opportunities were again tough to come by, with Adam Johnson shooting narrowly over the top just before the hour after drifting in off the right flank.

At the other end Geoff Cameron's low cross from the right was touched goalwards by Charlie Adam, but Mignolet was ideally placed to gather the shot at his near post.

Sunderland's best chance of the game came 13 minutes from time and was manufactured thanks to alert play by sub Sessegnon.

The Beninese forward robbed the dawdling Andy Wilkinson in his own half and laid the ball off for the lurking Fletcher, but the striker was forced to delay his shot and the replenished Stoke defence got in a vital block.

The closing stages belonged to the hosts, who poured forward but found Mignolet in inspired form.

The Belgian did brilliantly to block Robert Huth's header from six yards five minutes from the end of normal time.

Eight minutes of injury time gave the hosts new hope, but again they couldn't find a way beyond the Sunderland goalkeeper.

Huth saw another header stopped almost on the goal line before Crouch broke through in stoppage time only for Mignolet to claw the ball off his toes before Kightly drilled the rebound wide.

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Team Sheet

Begovic
1
Wilson (Wilkinson)
12
Huth
4
Cameron
2
Shawcross
17
N'Zonzi
15
Yellow Whitehead
18
Adam (Owen)
16
Kightly
21
Yellow Crouch
25
Walters (Etherington)
19
Mignolet
22
Rose (Bardsley) Yellow
3
O'Shea
16
Cuéllar
24
McClean
23
Johnson (Saha)
21
Larsson (Sessegnon)
7
Gardner Yellow
8
Cattermole
6
Colback
14
Fletcher
26

Substitutes

Owen
10
Upson
20
Jones
9
Palacios
8
Sørensen
29
Etherington
26
Wilkinson
28
Vaughan
15
Sessegnon
28
Kilgallon
12
Bardsley
2
Westwood
20
Campbell
9
Saha
25