The key moments as Sunderland are held to goalless draw by Blackpool

Sunderland had to ride out significant second-half pressure to take a point against Blackpool in their second 0-0 draw of the week at the Stadium of Light.
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Tony Mowbray’s side dominated the first half but looked to visibly tire in the second, with Michael Appleton’s side spurning a number of promising set piece situations.

The hosts felt they should have taken the lead when the referee failed to play a clear advantage to allow Embleton to score, but on the balance of play the visitors were more than worthy of their point.

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From the early stages the game settled into a very familiar pattern to Saturday’s stalemate, Blackpool sitting very deep and hoping to catch Sunderland on the break should they commit too many forward and make an error in possession. Sunderland were patient and almost took the lead when Clarke drove infield, teeing up Embleton who shifted the ball out from his feet and clopped an audacious effort off the crossbar.

Jack Clarke is brought down at the Stadium of LightJack Clarke is brought down at the Stadium of Light
Jack Clarke is brought down at the Stadium of Light

Embleton had dropped deeper to allows for Amad’s full debut, and he was his team’s most incisive player through the first half.

As had again been the case on Saturday Blackpool’s superior height at set pieces looked like their most dangerous weapon, and Connolly should have done better when a free kick dropped kindly for him. He could only drill the half volley wide and Sunderland broke quickly, a weak effort from Pritchard easily saved my Maxwell.

That was the start of a frustrating spell for the hosts, but in the build up to the interval they lifted the tempo and were unlucky not to take the lead.

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Clarke again threatened and his cross eventually saw a shot from Roberts blocked, before the lively left winger stung Maxwell’s palms with a long-range effort. Sunderland’s best chance came when Roberts broke and released Amad in the box, but after cutting onto his left foot the Manchester United loanee couldn’t get the shot away before Blackpool recovered. The half ended with Clarke driving deep into the box, and his deflected effort dropped agonisingly wide of the far post.

Blackpool started the second half much the better, playing with far more intent and ambition. Twice they went close to taking the lead from corners, with Ekpiteta slicing an effort wide before Patterson made a superb one-handed sto[p from Madine at the front post.

Sunderland were looking tired and couldn’t get any control of the game, which was becoming stretched in favour of the opposition. All the same the hosts were left infuriated by a dismal piece of refereeing. Embleton gathered a pass from Clarke free in the box but the referee had blown up too soon, giving a foul for a trip on Roberts near the edge of the area.

Though the Black Cats had good cause to be frustrated with that it was clearly Blackpool who were generally in the ascendancy as the game approached its final stages.

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Another set piece almost proved the difference with ten minutes to play, Connolly heading inches wide after the hosts failed to deal with a long throw.

It looked as if Sunderland had snatched it in stoppage time following brilliant work by Bennette, but Maxwell denied Clarke’s close-range header with a fine save to his right.

Sunderland XI: Patterson; Gooch, O’Nien, Batth, Alese; Evans (Ba, 67), Embleton (Neil, 67), Pritchard (Michut, 75); Roberts (Dajaku, 75), Amad (Bennette, 57), Clarke

Subs: Bass, Wright

Blackpool XI: Maxwell; Connolly, Ekpiteta, Thornley, Thompson; Wright, Dougall, Patino; Lavery (Corbeanu, 65), Madine (Poveda, 85) Yates

Subs: Grimshaw, Carey, Hamilton, Garbutt, Bridcutt

Bookings: Patino, 55 Thornley, 65 Dougall, 82 Michut, 85

Attendance: 35,900