Fulham frustrated Sunderland to earn a point from a scrappy, nervy encounter.

The Londoners rode their luck in a first half which saw the Black Cats hit the bar through Kieran Richardson's header and Jack Colback's fierce shot.

Dickson Etuhu did have a header cleared off the line just before the break and Fulham held their own in an even, but increasingly dismal, second period.

Neither side deserved to win but Fulham's Clint Dempsey and Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon had late chances.

Dempsey should have made more of a swift counter-attack in the final five minutes but dragged his shot across goal and goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer made an amazing reaction save with his legs to keep out Sessegnon's deflected shot.

The result leaves both teams still hovering just above the relegation zone, having only picked up two Premier League wins apiece this season.

And maybe it was inevitable that the teams could not be separated as both had identical records of four draws and five losses from their opening 11 games.

Sunderland needed some luck - Bruce

Sunderland started well enough and had more than their fair share of possession in a first half that promised much but never quite got going.

Fulham struggled to cope with the tenacity and energy of Sunderland's central pairing of Lee Cattermole and Colback, meaning Danny Murphy rarely had the chance to dictate play for the visitors.

Richardson almost opened the scoring for the Black Cats with a fine eight-yard, near-post header that hit the top of the bar from Sessegnon's clipped left-wing cross.

Colback was the pick of the home players, matching his workrate with quality, as well as the ability to arrive into the box.

He did squander one glorious opening when he dithered after racing through on the right and saw his cross easily stopped by Schwarzer.

But Colback was very unlucky to be denied the opening goal when the big Australian reacted with breathtaking speed to tip his fierce, close-range strike onto the bar and away to safety.

Sessegnon also saw a header comfortably saved as the Londoners struggled to break into Sunderland's 18-yard box.

Fulham did have the first chance of the game when Moussa Dembele showed tremendous trickery and quick footwork to wriggle free and fire a shot at Keiren Westwood.

But that was as good as it got until the dying seconds of the half when Etuhu had a towering header cleared off the line by Cattermole.

Fulham improved after the interval, showing more ambition and quality.

DID YOU KNOW?

Sunderland have failed to score in six of their last seven Premier League matches against Fulham, including any of the last five.

Chris Baird saw a precise 20-yard free-kick well saved by Westwood and Murphy should have done better from a similar distance when he elected for a precise finish only to side-foot the ball harmlessly at the keeper.

At the other end, the impressive Sessegnon fired a shot wide following a blundered attempted punch by Schwarzer and Michael Turner's header was cleared after another indecisive moment from the away keeper.

But excitement, and chances, were at a premium and a winner for either Dempsey or Sessegnon in the closing stages would have been out of keeping with such a dour second period.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce:

"Schwarzer - how often has he done that against me? I don't know, but it was a quite remarkable save. I thought it was a certainly, and you go and win it 1-0 and everything is hunky-dory again.

"It's [goalscoring] the one thing we have got to address, we know that. It's very difficult, very difficult because for me, that's where we were better than the other 12 teams who I am in the mix with.

"When we had Danny Welbeck, Asamoah Gyan, Darren Bent, Fraizer Campbell - that's arguably as good as this club has ever had.

"Unfortunately for one reason or another, we have lost them. We will do our utmost to keep searching and looking and trying to find the right one, of course we will. That's my job and that's our job, to move forward."

Fulham manager Martin Jol:

"If you play well away from home and you have five of six chances, maybe you deserve something.

Jol content with goalless draw

"They had a few good players up front, but I don't think it was good enough to say they should have won this game. Of course, they were playing at home with this crowd.

"I can't say it was pleasing because we needed the three points, but I can live with it because after the first 20 minutes and with the shot at the end, we could have lost it as well."

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (5)

Sunderland

  • 20 Westwood
  • 02 Bardsley
  • 04 Turner
  • 05 Brown
  • 11 Richardson
  • 16 O'Shea
  • 06 Cattermole Booked
  • 14 Colback (Ji Dong-Won - 73' )
  • 27 Elmohamady (Noble - 88' )
  • 28 Sessegnon
  • 52 Bendtner

Substitutes

  • 24 Carson
  • 42 Egan
  • 08 Gardner
  • 15 Vaughan
  • 18 Meyler
  • 17 Ji Dong-Won
  • 31 Noble

Fulham

  • 01 Schwarzer
  • 05 Hangeland
  • 06 Baird
  • 14 Senderos
  • 18 Hughes
  • 13 Murphy
  • 16 Duff (Ruiz - 87' )
  • 20 Etuhu Booked
  • 23 Dempsey (Briggs - 90' )
  • 25 Zamora (Johnson - 68' )
  • 30 Dembele

Substitutes

  • 38 Etheridge
  • 28 Briggs
  • 10 Kasami
  • 15 Gecov
  • 31 Alexander Kacaniklic
  • 08 Johnson
  • 11 Ruiz
Ref: Taylor
Att: 37,688

Match Stats

Shots

13 13

On target

8 9

Corners

6 7

Fouls

8 12

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:02 Full time

Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.

90:00 +2:01

Stephane Sessegnon takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.

90:00 +1:20

Unfair challenge on Andrew Johnson by Dong-Won Ji results in a free kick. Danny Murphy takes the free kick.

90:00 +0:25 Substitution

Substitution Matthew Briggs is brought on as a substitute for Clint Dempsey.

87:54

Stephane Sessegnon takes a shot. Danny Murphy gets a block in.

87:08

Direct free kick taken by Wes Brown.

87:08 Substitution

Substitution Ryan Noble is brought on as a substitute for Ahmed Elmohamady.

87:08

Phillip Bardsley fouled by Moussa Dembele, the ref awards a free kick.

86:07 Substitution

Substitution (Fulham) makes a substitution, with Bryan Ruiz coming on for Damien Duff.

85:55

Clint Dempsey produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the target.

85:18

Inswinging corner taken by Phillip Bardsley from the left by-line, Mark Schwarzer makes a save.

83:47

Nicklas Bendtner takes a shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.

82:07

Corner from the left by-line taken by Danny Murphy, Keiren Westwood makes a save.

82:02

Andrew Johnson delivers the ball, blocked by Wes Brown.

80:45

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Damien Duff, Header from deep inside the area by Philippe Senderos goes over the bar.

80:33

Moussa Dembele takes a shot. Blocked by Lee Cattermole.

79:34

John O'Shea is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Mark Schwarzer takes the indirect free kick.

77:02

Effort on goal by Stephane Sessegnon from just inside the area clears the crossbar.

76:36

Centre by Stephane Sessegnon, Dickson Etuhu manages to make a clearance.

76:02

The official flags Dong-Won Ji offside. Indirect free kick taken by Philippe Senderos.

74:24

Free kick awarded for a foul by Danny Murphy on Kieran Richardson. Direct free kick taken by John O'Shea.

74:11

Clint Dempsey takes a shot. Blocked by John O'Shea.

73:46

Ahmed Elmohamady delivers the ball.

72:01

Direct free kick taken by Keiren Westwood.

72:01 Substitution

Substitution Jack Colback goes off and Dong-Won Ji comes on.

72:01

Free kick awarded for a foul by Moussa Dembele on Ahmed Elmohamady.

71:55

Aaron Hughes produces a cross, clearance made by John O'Shea.

71:37

The ball is delivered by Ahmed Elmohamady, clearance by Brede Hangeland.

71:23

Ahmed Elmohamady sends in a cross, clearance by Danny Murphy.

70:06

Shot from inside the area by Clint Dempsey clears the bar.

69:35

Corner taken by Damien Duff from the right by-line, save by Keiren Westwood.

68:40

The offside flag is raised against Andrew Johnson. Keiren Westwood takes the free kick.

67:36 Substitution

Substitution Andrew Johnson comes on in place of Bobby Zamora.

66:58

Damien Duff takes a shot. Jack Colback gets a block in.

66:49

Centre by Chris Baird.

64:14

Danny Murphy takes a shot. Keiren Westwood makes a save.

64:00

Damien Duff crosses the ball, clearance made by John O'Shea.

62:52

Corner taken right-footed by Phillip Bardsley from the right by-line, Close range shot by Stephane Sessegnon goes wide of the left-hand post.

62:35

Wes Brown takes a shot. Chris Baird manages to make a clearance.

62:01

Outswinging corner taken by Phillip Bardsley.

61:42

Unfair challenge on Stephane Sessegnon by Brede Hangeland results in a free kick. John O'Shea restarts play with the free kick.

58:13

Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Phillip Bardsley.

57:56

Wes Brown takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer.

57:17

Corner taken right-footed by Phillip Bardsley,

55:42

Kieran Richardson is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Philippe Senderos.

50:44

Danny Murphy takes a inswinging corner.

50:25

Corner taken right-footed by Danny Murphy, Wes Brown manages to make a clearance.

48:53

Wes Brown concedes a free kick for a foul on Bobby Zamora. Direct free kick taken by Bobby Zamora. Chris Baird takes a shot. Save by Keiren Westwood.

48:10

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Moussa Dembele by Stephane Sessegnon. Danny Murphy takes the free kick.

45:38

Stephane Sessegnon takes a shot. Blocked by Aaron Hughes.

45:19

Ahmed Elmohamady delivers the ball, Aaron Hughes manages to make a clearance.

45:01

The game restarts for the second half.

45:00 +1:27 Half time

Half Time The whistle is blown to end the first half.

45:00 +0:54

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Damien Duff, Dickson Etuhu takes a shot. Clearance made by Lee Cattermole.

45:00 +0:42

Bobby Zamora takes a shot. Blocked by Phillip Bardsley.

45:00 +0:17

Corner taken left-footed by Damien Duff, Nicklas Bendtner manages to make a clearance.

44:06

A cross is delivered by John O'Shea, clearance made by Aaron Hughes.

43:19

Phillip Bardsley sends in a cross.

42:33

The ball is delivered by Ahmed Elmohamady, Aaron Hughes makes a clearance.

40:01

Michael Turner is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Brede Hangeland restarts play with the free kick.

37:00

Unfair challenge on Nicklas Bendtner by Dickson Etuhu results in a free kick. Stephane Sessegnon takes the free kick. Phillip Bardsley takes a shot. Blocked by Brede Hangeland.

36:44

Ahmed Elmohamady crosses the ball.

35:52

Direct free kick taken by Michael Turner.

35:52 Booking

Booking Dickson Etuhu is cautioned.

35:47

Free kick awarded for a foul by Dickson Etuhu on Lee Cattermole.

35:01

Danny Murphy concedes a free kick for a foul on Jack Colback. Phillip Bardsley restarts play with the free kick.

34:22

Bobby Zamora is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Direct free kick taken by Michael Turner.

33:43

Effort on goal by Moussa Dembele from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.

33:38

The ball is crossed by Damien Duff, Keiren Westwood makes a save.

32:07

The official flags Bobby Zamora offside. Indirect free kick taken by Keiren Westwood.

31:48

Foul by John O'Shea on Clint Dempsey, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Danny Murphy.

31:08

The ball is delivered by Bobby Zamora.

29:05

Bobby Zamora is ruled offside. Keiren Westwood restarts play with the free kick.

27:58

Free kick taken by Chris Baird.

27:58 Booking

Booking The referee shows Lee Cattermole a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

27:52

Foul by Lee Cattermole on Moussa Dembele, free kick awarded.

26:57

Dickson Etuhu challenges Lee Cattermole unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Keiren Westwood.

26:26

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Bobby Zamora by Wes Brown. Free kick taken by Aaron Hughes.

25:59

Ahmed Elmohamady crosses the ball.

25:43

The ball is sent over by Ahmed Elmohamady, clearance made by Brede Hangeland.

25:33

Ahmed Elmohamady crosses the ball, Dickson Etuhu makes a clearance.

24:59

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ahmed Elmohamady by Chris Baird. John O'Shea takes the free kick.

23:42

The offside flag is raised against Nicklas Bendtner. Indirect free kick taken by Brede Hangeland.

22:55

Foul by Bobby Zamora on Wes Brown, free kick awarded. Keiren Westwood takes the direct free kick.

22:38

Stephane Sessegnon takes a shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.

21:40

Ahmed Elmohamady sends in a cross, clearance by Dickson Etuhu.

17:20

Centre by Damien Duff.

15:50

Jack Colback takes a shot.

15:07

Ahmed Elmohamady crosses the ball, Aaron Hughes manages to make a clearance.

14:31

The ball is sent over by Kieran Richardson, Brede Hangeland makes a clearance.

12:25

The ball is sent over by Ahmed Elmohamady, Aaron Hughes manages to make a clearance.

11:12

Danny Murphy takes a shot. Jack Colback gets a block in.

10:06

A cross is delivered by Ahmed Elmohamady, Mark Schwarzer makes a save.

9:58

Jack Colback sends in a cross, save by Mark Schwarzer.

8:55

Kieran Richardson takes a shot.

8:43

Centre by Nicklas Bendtner, clearance made by Philippe Senderos.

8:11

Corner taken right-footed by Phillip Bardsley from the right by-line, clearance by Philippe Senderos.

8:05

Lee Cattermole crosses the ball, Brede Hangeland gets a block in.

7:16

Dickson Etuhu gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephane Sessegnon. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Phillip Bardsley from left channel, clearance by Brede Hangeland.

6:15

Moussa Dembele takes a shot. Save by Keiren Westwood.

3:51

Free kick awarded for a foul by Clint Dempsey on John O'Shea. John O'Shea takes the free kick.

3:25

Phillip Bardsley has an effort at goal from 35 yards and went wide left of the net.

2:30

Lee Cattermole challenges Moussa Dembele unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Danny Murphy.

2:00

Wes Brown gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Bobby Zamora. Direct free kick taken by Danny Murphy.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

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