Swansea's Danny Graham missed a golden late chance and his side were denied an early penalty in a largely uneventful goalless draw at Sunderland in the Premier League.
Itay Shechter went down under contact from Sunderland captain John O’Shea after five minutes but referee Andre Marriner waved away the appeals.
Striker Graham, tipped to move to Sunderland before the transfer deadline this week, was introduced by Swans boss Michael Laudrup and should have grabbed the headlines with the last kick of the game – but Titus Bramble somehow blocked his weak strike from six yards.
Graham, who grew up a fan of Newcastle, has asked for a return to the North East. It was no surprise that he started on the bench ahead of a potential move to Martin O’Neill’s outfit.
However he may be swayed by the reaction of the home fans upon his introduction for Pablo Hernandez on 75 minutes: those Toon connections earned him a chorus of boos.
His Swansea side dominated the match, with 15 attempts on goal to the Black Cats' two – and the hosts did not have a solitary shot on target.
Shechter was a thorn in the side of the Sunderland back four, but they remained solid and repelled any probing passes into the box.
Away centre-half Chico Flores had the best of the first-half chances, skilfully earning space in the box before forcing a save out of Simon Mignolet down at the near post on the turn when the ball rebounded to him.
Sunderland had only a cheeky, bending Sebastian Larsson free-kick to the near post – beaten away by Gerhard Tremmel, the League Cup goalkeeper who retained his place ahead of number one Michel Vorm after the Welsh side reached a first major final last week against Chelsea – to show for their first-half toils.
Yet one of the best players on the pitch was Stephane Sessegnon, who thundered through midfield on several occasions but lacked support from his Sunderland team-mates.
On one such occasion he found Steven Fletcher, who in turn fed Adam Johnson on the left – despite looking along the line, he strayed several yards offside.
Sessegnon was the driving force behind a sustained spell of Sunderland attacks at the start of the second half, but no matter how many corners the Benin star won, Sunderland could not capitalise.
So dangerous was he that Leon Britton willingly picked up a yellow card for hauling him back as he led a counter across halfway, to howls of anger from the home faithful.
Swansea saw out the storm – with the prolific Fletcher still to have a sniff in front of goal – but for all their possession football from there, did not create a great deal.
Nine minutes from time Dyer played a clever one-two with Michu only to place his finish well wide of the near post from six yards.
Yet it was Graham who will attract attention with his woeful effort from just outside the six-yard box – having been found all alone by Michu - with seconds remaining on the clock.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Stephane Sessegnon - Sunderland: He did not play for the better side, but he was everywhere in midfield as he put in another exciting performance.
SUNDERLAND: Mignolet 6, Gardner 5, Colback 6, O'Shea 6, Bramble 7, N'Diaye 5, Vaughan 6, Larsson 5, Johnson 5, Sessegnon 7, Fletcher 5. Subs: Wickham 6, McClean 5.
SWANSEA: Tremmel 6, Tiendalli 7, Williams 6, Chico 6, Davies 5, Britton 5, De Guzman 6, Pablo 6, Dyer 6, Michu 6, Shechter 6. Subs: Ki 6, Lamah 5, Graham 5.
- Sports & Recreation
- Danny Graham
- Itay Shechter