Belfast Telegraph

Mignolet ensures bore draw

Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet denied relegation-haunted Wolves an invaluable victory with a fine late save in a goalless Barclays Premier League encounter.

The Belgium international, who had earlier seen Sylvan Ebanks-Blake fire wastefully wide from close range, clawed away Steven Fletcher's 81st-minute header to ensure a poor game ended in stalemate.

James McClean had earlier fired into the side-netting for the Black Cats and forced a 73rd-minute save from Wayne Hennessey with a close-range header on an afternoon when neither side did enough to claim the three points.

The best chance of the first half fell to the lively McClean with 16 minutes gone when Sebastian Larsson and Stephane Sessegnon combined to play him into space on the left side of the penalty area.

However, with just keeper Hennessey to beat, the Republic of Ireland international shot tamely into the side-netting to let the visitors off the hook.

Mignolet might have been picking the ball out of his net after Ebanks-Blake found space in the box, but drilled his effort wastefully wide.

McClean looked certain to put the home side ahead with 17 minutes remaining when he stopped to meet Craig Gardner's cross at the far post, but saw Hennessey make a fine block.

However, it was Mignolet who had to be at his best to keep out Fletcher's 81st-minute header to deny the visitors the three points they desperately needed.

Larsson capped a disappointing afternoon for the home side when he somehow turned Sessegnon's driven 89th-minute cross over the bar when it looked easier to score, and Martin O'Neill's men might have paid the price seconds later.

Substitute David Edwards found time and space to send a dipping volley inches wide of Mignolet's right post, although the reprieve did not spare the home side a chorus of boos on the final whistle.

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