Match Report - Sunderland 0-0 Preston North End - Lowe's side goalless again
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PNE saw two efforts cleared off the line but could not find any creativity to unlick the Black Cats defence.
North End boss Ryan Lowe made four changes to the side that lost to Sheffield United before the international break.
Greg Cunningham came in for the injured Andrew Hughes whilst Robbie Brady, Ryan Ledson and Ched Evans were preferred ahead of Brad Potts, Ali McCann and Troy Parrott.
Alan Browne started the game at right wing back, with Brady taking up a more central role.
The hosts had the first chance of the game after six minutes, Luke O'Nien with a cross-field ball in behind the PNE defence with Jack Clarke's cross deflecting off Liam Lindsay with Freddie Woodman keeping it out of the net.
They did the same again just a minute later, O'Nien's ball to Clarke this time resulting in the latter finding Alex Pritchard who sent the ball wide.
North End had their first chance on nine minutes, Ben Whiteman's corner was kept alive and the taker then met a ball on the volley but his strike, having beaten the goalkeeper, was cleared off the line by Aji Alese.
Clarke continued to cause problems as his checked inside from the left wing and couldn't find the top corner after 24 mintues.
Six minutes later Alese was this time at the other end, getting forward on the overlap to put a ball across the face of goal but Patrick Roberts on the far side couldn't quite reach it.
And it was Roberts' turn next, cutting inside from the right wing to search out the top corner but he got his shot slightly wrong 10 minutes before half time.
Woodman made his first genuine save of the game a minute before the end of the first half, Elliot Embleton trying his luck from a tight angle but being denied.
It took nine minutes for the first chance of the second half to come about, Liam Lindsay nodded the ball down from a free kick to the feet of Evans who shot high at the net and saw his effort palmed over by Anthony Patterson.
Roberts replied two minutes later, beating two men cutting inside from the right wing before firing wide of the far post.
Evans headed a Brady cross wide from just outside the six yard box on 58 minutes.
Roberts tried his luck on 72 minutes from distance but failed to keep his shot down.
Jordan Storey then became the second PNE player to see an effort cleared off the line as his header was knocked away by Lynden Gooch with the goalkeeper beaten.
10 minutes before the end the hosts came forward and again tested Woodman, this time Rovers drove the ball low at the former Newcastle United who did well to hold onto it.
The game opened up a little bit as it entered the final 10 minutes, with counter attacks for both sides but niether amounted to anything.
PNE Starting XI: Woodman, Storey, Lindsay, Cunningham, Browne, Whiteman, Ledson (Woodburn, 72'), Fernandez, Brady (McCann, 86'), Riis, Evans (Parrott, 65').PNE subs not used: Cornell, Diaby, Potts, Johnson.Sunderland Starting XI: Patterson, Gooch, O’Nien, Batth, Alese, Evans (Ba, 60'), Neil, Embleton (Amad, 60'), Roberts, Pritchard (Bennette, 70'), Clarke (Dajuku, 81').Sunderland subs not used: Bass, Matete, Wright.