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banner Saturday, 6 January, 2001, 18:05 GMT
Ten-man Palace hold Sunderland
Stanislav Varga
Sunderland's Varga was the game's second sending-off
Sunderland 0-0 Crystal Palace

Ten-man Crystal Palace withstood a Sunderland onslaught to survive in the FA Cup.

The First Division side battled against the odds to secure a 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light.

Palace had to play the last 33 minutes without midfielder Hayden Mullins, who was sent off after a tussle with Gavin McCann.

But Sunderland, who also had defender Stanislav Varga dismissed for a professional foul on Dougie Freedman two minutes from time, will be kicking themselves.

They squandered a series of chances, although visiting keeper Alex Kolinko was in superb form.

The Latvian pulled off a series of excellent saves, including one magnificent stop from Don Hutchison, to earn his side a replay.

Alex Kolinko
Kolinko made some fine saves

Sunderland boss Peter Reid brought Darren Williams in for Michael Gray, while Varga took over from Jody Craddock and Stefan Schwarz replaced the unavailable Julio Arca.

That meant Danny Dichio continued to deputise for the injured Niall Quinn, who was on the bench.

Alan Smith's options were limited too with Chinese international Fan Zhiyi, Neil Ruddock, Tommy Black and Jamie Smith all suspended.

Bad miss

He named Mikael Forsell, the man who scored his side's first goal in the 2-1 Worthington Cup quarter-final win over the Black Cats, among the substitutes.

But there was a place in the starting line-up for the match-winner in the previous encounter, Clinton Morrison.

Dichio was guilty of a bad miss on 13 minutes after Don Hutchison drove the ball across the face of goal and the striker could not get a touch with the goal at his mercy.

Hayden Mullins
Mullins got his marching orders

Freedman, who had earlier been booked for diving as he went down under Emerson Thome's challenge inside the penalty area, made life uncomfortable for the home defence.

However, it was left to midfielder Steve Thompson to go closest with a 41st-minute volley which dropped just over the bar.

After the break, the Latvian Kolinko saved from Alex Rae and Hutchison before also denying McCann and Schwarz.

Sunderland's cause was aided on 57 minutes after McCann and Mullins wrestled as they chased a loose ball.

Mullins was sent off for aiming a blow at his opponent, who was yellow-carded for his pains.

Penalty appeal

The departure increased the flow of one-way traffic, although Thomas Sorensen had to turn away another speculative shot by Thomson and Freedman side-footed wide.

The visitors had a lucky escape when the ball shot out of a goalmouth scramble and dropped just wide of the post. Dichio headed wide four minutes later.

Reid sent on a patched-up Quinn in place of the former Sampdoria striker 13 minutes from time.

But it was Palace substitute Forsell who almost got in on 84 minutes when he took a fumble by Sorensen and went down, only for the referee to wave away his penalty appeal.

At the death, Varga was sent off for a trip on Freedman as he chased down a long ball.

Sunderland: Sorensen, Makin, Williams, Varga, Thome, Schwarz, Hutchison, Rae, McCann, Phillips, Dichio.
Subs: Macho, Kilbane, Craddock, Quinn, Thirlwell.

Crystal Palace: Kolinko, Austin, Harrison, Frampton, Rodger, Carlisle, Rubins, Thomson, Mullins, Freedman, Morrison.
Subs: Gray, Forssell, Gregg, Hankin, Kabba.

Referee: M Riley (Leeds).

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