Sunderland’s penultimate pre-season friendly ended in a disappointing goalless draw with League One Scunthorpe United.
It was a poor showing from Sunderland last night, with little quality on display from either side but it was the Iron that carved out the clearer openings.
Sunderland kick off their Championship challenge at home to Derby County a week on Friday and Simon Grayson will want to see a big improvement.
The Black Cats had triallist Robbin Ruiter to thank late on, with the stopper making a superb late point-blank save.
Before the game there was a poignant minute’s applause and balloon release from the centre of the Glanford Park pitch in memory of Bradley Lowery.
There was little for either set of supporters to cheer in the opening half hour of what was a dreadfully-poor first half lacking in quality.
Matt Gilks in the Scunthorpe goal wasn’t tested all half.
Ruiter was called upon in the 40th minute, making a flying save to his right to deny Hakeeb Adelakun from distance. Scunthorpe’s Josh Morris flashed a shot wide late on, with the hosts offering the greater threat.
Gilks finally made his first save in the opening stages of the second half, saving from George Honeyman’s close-range effort.
Ten minutes into the second half and Funso Ojo saw his 30-yard attempt crash back off the crossbar, with Ruiter well beaten.
Honeyman should have scored in the 68th minute but he failed to connect with skipper Lee Cattermole’s superb ball over the top.
With James Vaughan departing, Joel Asoro was pushed into a more central role and he almost scored in the 78th minute, when his fierce effort forced Gilks into a diving save.
Sunderland had Ruiter to thank late on, with a superb point-blank save from van Veen before Honeyman saw his effort blocked by Gilks.
– RICHARD MENNEAR