Premier League: Stoke City 0 Sunderland 0
Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet saved the day for Sunderland with a succession of last-ditch saves at the Britannia.
But on a day when there were no goals, Stoke defender Marc Wilson suffered a suspected broken leg early in the second half to add to the disappointing performances from both teams.
With 14 goals between them in 15 league matches this season and just one win each, this was never likely to be a high-scoring bonanza.
In a forgetful opening period, it was the home side that shaded it without looking likely to break the deadlock.
The game briefly sprung into life midway through the first half when Danny Rose was booked for a reckless challenge on Michael Kightly.
Mignolet kept out Adam's fierce free-kick, but he failed to get much distance on his punch and Ryan Shawcross should have done better than fire wide from 15 yards.
Then Kightly unleashed a curling effort from 25 yards that Carlos Cuellar had to head wide from under his own crossbar. From the resultant corner, Mignolet again had to be lively as Ryan Shawcross looked set to pounce.
It took the visitors until beyond the half-hour mark to record an effort worthy of note. A Seb Larsson free-kick was met by the towering presence of Cuellar, but the Spaniard’s glancing header went narrowly wide.
The second half continued to be a scrappy, cagey affair with neither side able to assert any authority.
A succession of bookings and substitutions didn't help the flow, though one highlight was a verbal joust between O'Neill and Shawcross on the touchline that led the Stoke skipper to receive a ticking off from referee Mark Halsey.
Sessegnon replaced the ineffective Larsson and it nearly paid immediate dividends when he picked out Fletcher in space, but the Scot hesitated and that allowed Huth to block his effort.
Sunderland claimed that the German used an arm and replays appear to back their pleas.
The game appeared to be drifting to a tame draw, but Huth nearly gave Stoke an unlikely winner when his darting header forced Mignolet into a point-blank save.