Ten-man Swansea survive Jamal Lowe penalty miss to draw with Sunderland
Swansea survived a sending off and a penalty miss to draw with Sunderland.
The Black Cats failed to capitalise on the first-half sending off of Swansea midfielder Charlie Patino as they were held to a 0-0 draw.
Patino was red-carded in the 30th minute when his foul on the Black Cats’ Pierre Ekwah earned him a second yellow card.
But while the dismissal of the 20-year-old Arsenal loanee meant Sunderland went on to dominate possession and territory, Tony Mowbray’s side could find no breakthrough.
They will return to the north east bitterly disappointed not to have taken three points, but Michael Duff’s Swans will see it as a point gained after a gritty and organised reaction to Patino’s premature departure.
The first half was open and frenetic – and dominated by Sunderland.
Numerous chances were squandered by Mowbray’s men, but they went in at half-time breathing a collective sigh of relief.
That was a result of Jamal Lowe’s failure to convert a penalty awarded in time added on by referee Robert Madley.
The official ruled Sunderland captain Luke O’Nien had pulled Swans defender Harry Darling to the floor, and pointed to the spot.
But goalkeeper Anthony Patterson’s low save to his right earned Sunderland a reprieve they could not have envisaged they would need.
Had Swansea taken the lead, boss Duff might have opted to employ an all-out nine-men-behind-the-ball operation to protect it.
Instead, his team began the second half looking as vulnerable as they had done all afternoon.
Even before the Patino incident, Sunderland were well on top.
Dan Neil and Jack Clarke gave them attacking width down either flank and Jobe Bellingham’s calm authority in an attacking midfield role kept the home side alert at the back.
A slide-rule pass from 18-year-old Bellingham which put Ukrainian striker Nazariy Rusyn clean through should have been the breakthrough for the Black Cats.
Rusyn wasted the chance, but was joined in his profligacy by Clarke and midfielder Patrick Roberts, who both should have found the net as their team poured forward.
It was no surprise that Sunderland spent much of the second half camped in the Swansea half monopolising possession.
Yet their failure to fashion clear-cut opportunities was jolting.
Full-back Trai Hume forced Swans goalkeeper Carl Rushworth to tip over the bar brilliantly in the 72nd minute and flashed a fierce shot just past the post moments later.
Other than that, there were plenty of triangular passing movements but very little in the way of penetration.
For Swansea, the encounter turned into a grim rearguard action long before the closing stages.
Duff will be proud of his players’ discipline and application, if rueing that the Swans were never realistic winners once Patino had left the fray.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.