Football: Burnley stalemate edges Sunderland nearer drop

Sunderland's Jermain Defoe looks dejected during the match.
Sunderland's Jermain Defoe looks dejected during the match.PHOTO: REUTERS

SUNDERLAND, United Kingdom (AFP) - Bottom club Sunderland spurned a golden opportunity to make up ground in a 0-0 draw home to Burnley that left them seven points from Premier League safety on Saturday (March 18).

Tom Heaton denied Sunderland a dramatic late winner leaving David Moyes' men deep in relegation trouble after spurning a series of chances at the Stadium of Light.

Heaton saved a Fabio Borini strike in the 87th minute and Billy Jones and Sebastian Larsson also sent efforts wide as the Clarets recorded just a third away point of the season.

Burnley - still looking for their first away win of the season - themselves missed chances with Ashley Barnes profligate in the first half and substitute Sam Vokes missing late on.

Moyes made two changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Manchester City as they looked for their first win in four encounters with Burnley this season, having also met in the FA Cup.

But the Black Cats had to wait an hour before they got a first shot on target, only for Heaton to hold Jack Rodwell's header.

Burnley appealed for a penalty when Barnes tumbled in the box in the 63rd minute and then the hosts wasted an opportunity when Jones met Larsson's cross with a diving header that was off target.

The hosts finished stronger, boosted by the introductions of Didier Ndong and Wahbi Khazri, and there was almost a late winner when the ball dropped to Borini but he drilled his low shot straight at Heaton.

Moyes's side are now without a win from their past six home matches and Crystal Palace's victory over Watford moves Sunderland further adrift of safety.

The Black Cats are seven points from Swansea in 17th and that could increase after the Welsh side's game at Bournemouth later on Saturday.

Burnley stay 12th, eight points above the first relegation spot.