Sunday 28 February 2010, 3:00pm at Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Barclays Premier League
Sunderland
Sunderland
0
Fulham FC
Fulham
0
Fulham produced a resolute and controlled display at the Stadium of Light on Sunday to secure a well-earned point. With chances few and far between, Fulham’s defence was certainly on top as the Whites expertly controlled the pace of the game.

18' Yellow Card

Alan Hutton Card was given for a foul

22' Yellow Card

Kieran Richardson Card was given for a foul

62' Yellow Card

Michael Turner Card was given for a foul

53' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Boudewijn Zenden
Off:Lee Cattermole

82' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:George McCartney
Off:John Mensah

18' Yellow Card

Chris Baird Card was given for a foul

70' Yellow Card

Jonathan Greening Card was given for a foul

82' Yellow Card

Bobby Zamora Card was given for a foul

57' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Jonathan Greening
Off:Danny Murphy

82' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:David Elm
Off:Bobby Zamora

0
15
30
45
60
75
90
Sunderland started this game on the front foot as Fulham, playing their eighth game in February, looked to sit back and test the water in the opening exchanges. Bobby Zamora continued up front for the Whites, supported by Zoltan Gera but other than a clipped effort on goal from Gera on six minutes, the duo saw little of the ball in the opening 10 minutes.

With the home side looking to notch an early goal, Fulham were content to bide their time in possession, with the back four weighing up their passing options carefully when on the ball – an almost European approach to the game.

With Frazier Campbell and Kieran Richardson looking active on the wings, the home side was eager to take advantage of the pace offered by their two wide men. But by the 20 minute mark neither goalkeeper had been required to make a save of any note, which was more to the frustration of the home fans – who were turning quite vocal in their disapproval.

As the first-half progressed Fulham started to work the ball further up the pitch and looked to bring Zamora into the game more – but this was not done to the sacrifice of Fulham’s defensive structure.

Just as Sunderland started to threaten through Kenwyne Jones and Darren Bent, Fulham slowed the tempo of the game right down – with the ball spending a lot of time being passed around the back four and Mark Schwarzer. The wind was soon taken out of Sunderland’s sails.

The home side’s first shot in anger came on 37 minutes when the ball fell to Jones 25 yards out – the Sunderland striker lined up a fierce volley which flew handsomely over Mark Schwarzer’s bar. Darren Bent’s 20-yard free-kick on 39 minutes almost created an opening when the ball bounced off Schwarzer’s chest before being cleared to safety.

Once again a crescendo of noise echoed around the Stadium of Light as the home fans sensed a breakthrough could be coming. But surely enough, Fulham soon closed up shop and sucked the energy out of Sunderland’s play.

The Whites made a strong start to the second-half, with Bobby Zamora battling well with John Mensah up front. The home side’s first effort on goal after the break came in the 56th minute when Alan Hutton found space on the edge of the Fulham area only to shoot straight at Schwarzer.

Fulham’s first change of the game came on 57 minutes when Danny Murphy was replaced by Jonathan Greening. With conditions in the Stadium of Light hardly conducive to fine, flowing football, Fulham were certainly adapting better to their environment as they resolutely maintained their shape.

John Mensah was given a talking to by the referee on 64 minutes after the official had seen one too many of his tussles with Zamora. The free-kick for Fulham that followed was cut out and the home side broke away on the counter, but much to the frustration of the home fans, the move broke down once again.

For the first time in the game Fulham embarked on a sustained spell of pressure, keeping the ball well and stringing together a number of passes which had the home side chasing shadows.

As time started to tick away, Sunderland replaced Kenwyne Jones with Benjani in an attempt to get something from the game. The change certainly gave the home side some much-needed impetus as a ball from Zenden flashed dangerously across the face of the Fulham goal.

David Elm was introduced to the action on 83 minutes, replacing Bobby Zamora who had led the line bravely.  

Sunderland managed to work shooting opportunity on 86 minutes when the ball dropped to the feet of Frazier Campbell on the edge of the area but his shot flew well over Schwarzer’s bar. Moments later Benjani’s turn and shot rolled just in front of Darren Bent, who could do little to reach it.  That proved to be the final oportunity of the encounter before the referee blew for full-time.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Sunday 28 February 2010
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Attendance: 40,192

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Sunderland

Line-up: Gordon; Hutton, Mensah (McCartney 82'), Turner, Ferdinand; Henderson, Cattermole (Zenden 53'), Cana, Richardson; Jones, Bent

Unused substitutes: Carson, Bardsley, Kilgallon, Waghorn

Fulham

Line-up: Schwarzer; Baird, Hughes, Hangeland, Shorey; Duff, Etuhu, Murphy (Greening 57'), Davies; Gera, Zamora (Elm 82')

Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Kelly, Smalling, Bjorn Helge Riise, Okaka

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 28 61
2 Manchester United 28 60
3 Arsenal 28 58
4 Tottenham Hotspur 28 49
5 Manchester City 27 49
6 Liverpool 28 48
7 Aston Villa 26 45
8 Birmingham City 27 40
9 Fulham 28 38
10 Everton 27 38
11 Stoke City 27 34
12 Blackburn Rovers 28 34
13 West Ham United 27 27
14 Sunderland 27 27
15 Bolton Wanderers 27 26
16 Wigan Athletic 27 25
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 27 24
18 Hull City 27 24
19 Burnley 27 23
20 Portsmouth 27 19
Sunderland (4-4-2)
  • 1Craig Gordon
  • 6Alan Hutton
  • 5John Mensah
  • 4Michael Turner
  • 29Anton Ferdinand
  • 10Jordan Henderson
  • 6Lee Cattermole
  • 19Lorik Cana
  • 11Kieran Richardson
  • 17Kenwyne Jones
  • 11Darren Bent
Substitutes
  • 24Trevor Carson
  • 2Phillip Bardsley
  • 12Matthew Kilgallon
  • 23George McCartney
  • 7Boudewijn Zenden
  • 26Martyn Waghorn
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Schwarzer
  • 6Chris Baird
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 5Brede Hangeland
  • 7Nicky Shorey
  • 16Damien Duff
  • 20Dickson Etuhu
  • 13Danny Murphy
  • 29Simon Davies
  • 11Zoltán Gera
  • 25Bobby Zamora
Substitutes
  • 19Pascal Zuberbühler
  • 2Stephen Kelly
  • 26Chris Smalling
  • 17Bjorn Helge Riise
  • 27Jonathan Greening
  • 9Stefano Okaka
  • 35David Elm