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Barclays Premier League

Stadium of Light (ATT 41,988) 12th May 2013 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Dean

S'land Sunderland vs Southampton So'ton

S'land 1

P Bardsley (68)

ft

So'ton 1

J Puncheon (76)

Premier League: Sunderland and Southampton share spoils in drab 1-1 draw

Last Updated: 12/05/13 8:07pm

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It was hardly a classic at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland and Southampton shared the spoils

It was hardly a classic at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland and Southampton shared the spoils

Sunderland and Southampton edged that little bit closer to ensuring their top flight survival as they shared the points in an uninspiring 1-1 draw at the Stadium of Light.

The game was far from a classic and it was easy to see why both clubs are where they are in the table. Phil Bardsley's second half opener for Sunderland was out of keeping with what had preceded it as he registered with a screamer from range, with Southampton substitute Jason Puncheon's leveller more in keeping with the game as a whole as he stabbed home at the second attempt with 12 minutes remaining.

Best of the game

Man of the match - Simon Mignolet. It says a lot about the quality of a game when a goalkeeper who made a couple of good stops is its outstanding performer. The best came late on to deny Rickie Lambert a winner.

Goal of the game - Phil Bardsley's goal for Sunderland belonged to a better game. An angled effort of searing power and precision took a slight deflection but was nonetheless a fine effort.

Save of the game - Lambert thought he'd bagged a winner in the game's dying embers when he struck a firm volley but demonstrating real agility Mignolet saved brilliantly at his far post.

Talking point - A point apiece should be enough to ensure top flight survival for both clubs next season but which of the two teams will fare better?

Bardsley's first goal in two years arrived in the 68th minute as he arrowed in from just inside Southampton's box after being teed up by Adam Johnson. A slight deflection off Jos Hooiveld will take nothing away from what was a fine effort.

It was a lead Sunderland could hold onto for just eight minutes though as a pair of Southampton substitutes, brought on by Mauricio Pochettino as a direct response to falling behind, combined to conjure a leveller.

From James Ward-Prowse's deep left wing cross Puncheon rose highest only to be thwarted by an excellent Simon Mignolet save. The Sunderland goalkeeper was not so fortunate with the rebound though as Puncheon gleefully smashed home.

The best chance to steal a maximum haul fell to Rickie Lambert but from his sharp volley Mignolet was at his athletic best to push the ball wide of his far post.

The opening period was the sort of game that will have had players, managers and supporters alike daydreaming of sunnier climes. Both teams looked as though they needed a holiday.

Profligacy was the order of the day as Sunderland in particular showed an absolute dearth of confidence. Southampton were not much better but it was Pochinetto's side that created the first real opportunity, on 28 minutes, when Lambert's daisy-cutter brought Mignolet into action.

Awoken from the slumber Jay Rodriguez then forced Mignolet into a smart if comfortable stop with a header before the Southampton man fired in the half's best effort only to be denied by Sunderland's outstretched keeper from around 12 yards.

With Danny Graham hopelessly isolated Sunderland never really looked like testing Artur Boruc and it was only in the second period that with the introduction of Conor Wickham did they look like finding a breakthrough. Sunderland's only real chance of an insipid first half saw Boruc easily gather a limp effort from the disappointing Adam Johnson.

Wickham's aggression immediately gave the home side greater presence, although it was the Saints who continued to make the better chances with central defender Jose Fonte powering in a 51st-minute header from a Davis corner which forced Mignolet into another good save.

However, Sunderland might have taken the lead within seconds when full-back Danny Rose, playing the final game of his loan spell from Tottenham - the Black Cats' opponents next weekend - fired the ball across the face of goal only for Graham to completely miss his kick as the chance to claim a first goal in a red and white shirt passed him by.

The interventions of Bardsley and Pucheon prevented the contest from limping to a goalless draw and ultimately a game that will have been forgotten almost on Mike Dean's final whistle, may prove to provide the point that ensures both clubs are playing top flight football next season.

Pochettino was pleased not just with the performance of his team on the day but throughout his stay at Southampton.

He told Sky Sports: "Yes, we are happy. The players have put in an amazing performance in the four months that I have been here."

Black Cats boss Di Canio declared himself pleased with a point on the grounds that his team had been outplayed.

"It is a good point because obviously we didn't play a fantastic match," he told Sky Sports. "Southampton did a better job than us so it's obvious at the end of the game it's a very important point."

SunderlandTeam StatisticsSouthampton
1Goals1
01st Half Goals0
2Shots on Target8
1Shots off Target3
3Blocked Shots6
3Corners10
9Fouls10
1Offsides1
0Yellow Cards2
0Red Cards0
63.5Passing Success74.7
24Tackles14
91.7Tackles Success85.7
36Possession64
53.8Territorial Advantage46.2
274Total Passes510
27Total Crosses33
195Lost Balls212
56Recoveries70
29.81st Half Poss.70.2
40.62nd Half Poss.59.4

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Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 8 22
2 Southampton 9 19
3 Manchester City 9 17
4 West Ham United 9 16
5 Arsenal 9 14
6 Swansea City 9 14
7 Liverpool 9 14
8 Manchester United 8 12
9 Hull City 9 11
10 Tottenham Hotspur 8 11
11 Stoke City 9 11
12 West Bromwich Albion 9 10
13 Aston Villa 8 10
14 Everton 8 9
15 Crystal Palace 9 9
16 Leicester City 9 9
17 Sunderland 9 8
18 Newcastle United 8 7
19 Burnley 8 4
20 Queens Park Rangers 8 4

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