- POSTED: 15 Dec 2013 03:06
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Premier League strugglers West Ham United and Sunderland played out a 0-0 draw on Saturday that did little for either side's fortunes in the relegation battle.
LONDON: Premier League strugglers West Ham United and Sunderland played out a 0-0 draw on Saturday that did little for either side's fortunes in the relegation battle.
Sunderland enjoyed the best of the match at Upton Park, but the closest they came to breaking the deadlock was a first-half shot from Phil Bardsley that came back off the frame of the goal.
Sunderland remain bottom of the table, five points behind fourth-bottom West Ham, who inched a point clear of the relegation places.
West Ham were without the suspended Kevin Nolan and the injured Stewart Downing, with Ravel Morrison and Joe Cole deputising, while Lee Cattermole, Emanuele Giaccherini and Fabio Borini all came in for Sunderland.
Narrowly beaten by Chelsea and then Tottenham Hotspur in their last two outings, Sunderland appeared eager to make it third time lucky and they took the game to their hosts from the start.
Ki Sung-yueng had an early shot saved by West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, while Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore dragged an effort wide after going clean through.
West Ham had seen Modibo Maiga blaze over in the early stages and they put the ball in the net in the 21st minute, only for Guy Demel's volley to be ruled out for a foul.
Sunderland quickly reasserted control, however, and they came within inches of taking the lead in the 34th minute when full-back Bardsley rattled the crossbar with an ambitious attempt from 25 yards.
Giaccherini had an effort deflected narrowly wide, while Cattermole also tested Jaaskelainen from distance.
Morrison worked Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone early in the second half, but with the hosts struggling to break their opponents down, manager Sam Allardyce sent on Jack Collison for Matt Jarvis.
Mohamed Diame hit the side netting from an angle for West Ham, but Sunderland continued to threaten, with Giaccherini shooting wastefully wide and Jaaskelainen saving comfortably from Altidore.
Visiting manager Gus Poyet introduced Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson as Sunderland pushed for a precious three points, and Jaaskelainen had to come to West Ham's rescue again to turn away another effort from Ki.