Sunderland 0 Cardiff City 0

Last updated : 15 October 2003 By Footymad Previewer

The Black Cats dominated throughout but failed to find a cutting edge to break down a sound visitors defence and seriously test goalkeeper Neil Alexander.

Cardiff lost full-back Rhys Weston in the 36th minute but were rarely in trouble as Sunderland huffed and puffed, failing miserably to take advantage of their first-half territorial advantage.

They took 20 minutes to even test Alexander, who saved instinctively from Kevin Kyle's close-range volley. Colin Healy fired over the bar then had a clever lob saved by Alexander and Kyle shot just past the post as the pressure increased.

But there was a warning of the visitor's attacking prowess when Andy Campbell broke free and only the defiance of goalkeeper Mart Poom prevented the Black Cats from going behind in a half they had dominated.

Central defender Gary Breen, a tower of strength at the back, pushed forward from set-pieces but failed to keep a close-range header down and Healy also failed to hit the target with a great chance in the last minute.

Robert Earnshaw, the First Division's leading goalscorer, was given scant opportunity to increase his tally as Cardiff relied totally on defence to survive.

But manager Lennie Lawrence expressed his delight to come away from the Stadium of Light with a clean sheet. "We've been involved in some great games but we've lost the previous three away matches and needed to stop the rot,'' he said.

Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy was not too despondent after failing to build on the victory over league leaders Sheffield United.

"We have to pick up points where we can,'' he said.

"I'm not going to criticise my players. Sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition.''