Match ends, Sunderland 0, Crystal Palace 0.
Sunderland 0-0 Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace remain three points clear of fellow Premier League strugglers Sunderland after a goalless draw at a windy Stadium of Light.
Black Cats forward Fabio Borini went closest to breaking the deadlock when his second-half shot struck the post.
Kagisho Dikgacoi had Palace's best chance, firing an effort wide late on.
But, in a game lacking quality, the Eagles will probably be happy with a point that leaves them a place above Sunderland who are third from bottom.
The failure to win caps a difficult month for the Black Cats, who having lost the League Cup final and exited the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage, remain without a league win since beating Newcastle United on 1 February.
In difficult conditions, Sunderland adapted better than their opponents with Adam Johnson a constant menace to makeshift Palace left-back Joel Ward, who collected an early booking.
The opening chance fell to the hosts when Johnson's right-wing cross looked to be perfect for Steven Fletcher at the back post, but Palace defender Adrian Mariappa was enough of a nuisance to prevent the striker getting his header on target.
Fletcher should have put his side ahead midway through the period when Borini fired across goal, but he could not make a clean connection.
Johnson continued to be the Eagles' main tormentor and when he squeezed free on the right, he again fed Fletcher only for the Scot to miscue his first-time shot.
Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone narrowly avoided calamity when he lost his footing and hacked the ball straight to Thomas Ince. Luckily for Mannone, the Eagles midfielder did not get his shot away quickly enough.
It was beginning to look like it was one of those days for Fletcher when Borini flashed a ball across goal and he narrowly failed to get his boot to it.
Fletcher was replaced by Jozy Altidore at the interval, and the United States frontman should have made an immediate impact. But he could not control the ball well when eight yards from goal, eventually seeing his left-foot shot blocked for a corner.
Livewire Italian Borini, who along with Johnson provided what rare quality was on offer, thought he had put the hosts ahead when he was played in just to the right of goal, but his shot hammered off the upright.
Palace midfielder Dikgacoi should have given them just a second Premier League away win of the season, but missed the target when just yards from goal.
Sunderland manager Guy Poyet:
"The players tried everything and I thought we did things better today. We controlled the game.
"In other games we weren't a threat, but today we tried to get the ball in the box a lot - maybe too much at times.
"The strikers have demanded it, but that inch is not going our way at the moment. I'm very calm today. Nothing will change [in the relegation battle] until the last game.
"If we try and fight like we did today, then we have a chance."
Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis:
"Gus said beforehand that this was a 'must-win' game for Sunderland, but I've been in this game long enough to know how quickly things can change around.
"Lose the next three, then win three on the bounce and you're almost there.
"For us, we saw it as 'must not lose' and I couldn't ask any more of my lads - they've got big, big hearts.
"They're very tired in that dressing room, but because they worked so hard I think Julian Speroni has only had to make two saves."
- 26BridcuttBooked at 19mins
- 5BrownBooked at 79mins
- 7LarssonBooked at 57minsSubstituted forGardnerat 61'minutesBooked at 64mins
- 4Ki Sung-yueng
- 9FletcherSubstituted forAltidoreat 45'minutes
- 11JohnsonSubstituted forScoccoat 83'minutes
- 3MariappaBooked at 8mins
- 2WardBooked at 13mins
- 8DikgacoiBooked at 45mins
- 27DelaneyBooked at 58mins
- 7BolasieSubstituted forPuncheonat 81'minutes
- 17MurraySubstituted forJeromeat 63'minutes
- 11InceSubstituted forGuédiouraat 74'minutes
- Neil Swarbrick
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Sunderland 0, Crystal Palace 0.
Attempt saved. Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Joe Ledley.
Attempt missed. Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Mile Jedinak.
Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Marcos Alonso.
Wes Brown (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace).
Attempt missed. Kagisho Dikgacoi (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Cameron Jerome following a set piece situation.
Attempt blocked. Adlène Guédioura (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kagisho Dikgacoi.
Foul by Marcos Alonso (Sunderland).
Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a set piece situation.
Attempt blocked. John O'Shea (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Liam Bridcutt (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Adlène Guédioura (Crystal Palace).
Substitution, Sunderland. Ignacio Scocco replaces Adam Johnson.
Attempt missed. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Liam Bridcutt with a headed pass.
Fabio Borini (Sunderland) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Ki Sung-Yueng.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Jason Puncheon replaces Yannick Bolasie.
Attempt missed. Adlène Guédioura (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.
Wes Brown (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Wes Brown (Sunderland).
Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Adam Johnson (Sunderland).
Yannick Bolasie (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Adlène Guédioura (Crystal Palace).
Attempt saved. Cameron Jerome (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Joel Ward with a cross.
Corner, Crystal Palace. Conceded by Craig Gardner.
Attempt blocked. Joel Ward (Crystal Palace) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Cameron Jerome.
Offside, Sunderland. Vito Mannone tries a through ball, but Jozy Altidore is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Cameron Jerome (Crystal Palace) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Adlène Guédioura.
Substitution, Crystal Palace. Adlène Guédioura replaces Thomas Ince.
Offside, Sunderland. Craig Gardner tries a through ball, but Jozy Altidore is caught offside.
Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Scott Dann.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Scott Dann (Crystal Palace) because of an injury.
Craig Gardner (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Craig Gardner (Sunderland).
Joe Ledley (Crystal Palace) wins a free kick in the attacking half.