Northampton Town and Sunderland played out a bore draw, with both sides struggling to create any real clear cut chances on a cold afternoon at the PTS Academy Stadium.
Northampton named an unchanged side from their midweek win over Gillingham last time out, whilst Sunderland were able to welcome back a host of players for this game after many returned from completing their isolation periods following a COVID-19 outbreak at the North East club.
An early shot from Nicky Adams drifted wide of the left-hand post in what was a positive start by the Cobblers.
There was then a chance for Sunderland soon after as Charlie Wyke headed just wide from a Grant Leadbitter free-kick.
It was a frantic opening to the game as both sides sought to hit the front early on, with both teams choosing to play a much more direct style of passing.
A long-range strike from Max Power then came in from the away side, which was well held by Jonathan Mitchell at the second attempt as the Black Cats slowly grew more into the game.
The last fifteen minutes of the half largely passed without incident, with the two sides seemingly having to rely on set pieces to create openings.
As the game moved into the second-half following a drab first period, there was an early chance for Northampton as Ryan Watson drove forwards and shot wide.
Jack Diamond was far and away Sunderland’s most threatening outlet throughout this contest before being withdrawn by Lee Johnson, underlining his blossoming reputation at League One level, whilst Shaun McWilliams once again showcased his talents in another strong showing for the hosts.
The Black Cats had a half-chance to win it late on in the half as Wyke scooped way over the bar after the ball fell kindly at his feet in the six-yard box following a miscued clearance by the Cobblers’ backline.
Ultimately the two sides were unable to find a breakthrough here, with a draw coming as a result that fails to really help either club as we move into the second half of the season, with Sunderland eyeing promotion and Northampton seeking to secure third tier football for a second consecutive season following their play-off final win last term.
FULL TIME: Northampton Town 0-0 Sunderland