Hibernian F.C. Match Reports
Pre-season Challenge Match
Hibernian 0 Sunderland 0
Saturday 6th August 2011

Hibernian and Sunderland fought out a goal-less draw this afternoon at a rain-soaked Easter Road Stadium as honours finished even in the annual battle with the auld enemy.

In a game with few clear goal scoring opportunities the visitors created the best of the chances with the deliveries from Sebastian Larsson causing the Hibernian defence a number of problems.

The Scots however had a few chances of their own and should have scored after an hour when Ross Caldwell was put through on goal only to fail to grasp the opportunity presented to him following a defensive mix-up.

Paul Hanlon went close in the final seconds of the game but headed just over from close range to ensure equality.

Colin Calderwood named five changes to his side following last weekend's hoodoo ending victory in the Highlands against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Mark Brown, Michael Hart, Daniel Galbraith, Lewis Horner and Edwin de Graaf all featured from the start against a strong Sunderland side.

The visitors made most of the early running yet it took until the 11th minute of the match for the first opportunity at goal.

Powerful forward Stéphane Sességnon did well on the left to get beyond David Stephens before picking out Larsson at the back post.

The midfielder looked to loop a header back across goal and in at the far post however his effort lacked the necessary direction and ended wide of the target.

Larsson would prove influential during the first period and his deliveries into the penalty box from the wide areas carved out a couple of good chances for Steve Bruce's men.

First, he picked out the unmarked Asamoah Gyan from a corner kick however the forward's downward header bounced high over the crossbar.

Shortly afterwards another deep cross eluded Victor Palsson and sat up perfectly for Jack Colback to strike first time on the volley, but with the goal at his mercy he fired wide.

Hibernian's first effort on goal came on the half-hour mark as Captain Ian Murray connected with Callum Booth's low corner kick only for Wes Brown to make a timely interception.

Former Rangers defender Phil Bardsley had a turn and shot from the edge of the penalty area that was off target as the first half came to an end without either goalkeeper having to make a save of note.

That stat changed six minutes after the restart when Sességnon let fly with a vicious low drive that was comfortably held by Mark Brown.

Hibernian introduced Caldwell for Garry O'Connor on 59 minutes and within seconds of his introduction the youngster had a glorious opportunity to break the deadlock.

A fortuitous ricochet from a Sunderland clearance put the striker through on goal but he snatched at the ball sending his shot well wide of the target from 16-yards.

The Englishmen however continued to look the more likely to score and they came close on 70 minutes when Anton Ferdinand flashed a header across goal from another Larsson delivery.

In the closing moments the home side had the chance to snatch a win when substitute Ivan Sproule picked out Hanlon with a cross but the defender headed just over and the game finished in a stalemate.

Whilst not quite taming the famous Black Cats, the inexperienced Hibernian side put in a creditable performance with a number of fringe players staking their claim for a starting berth next weekend against Kilmarnock.

Hibernian: Brown, Hart (Palsson 4'), Booth (Sproule 72'), Stephens, Hanlon, Murray (Smith 59'), De Graaf (Stevenson 88'), Horner (Taggart 79'), Galbraith (Thornhill 79'), O'Connor (Caldwell 59'), Wotherspoon (Crawford 26').Subs not used: Stack.

Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley (Laing 84'), Richardson (Elmohamady 55'), Ferdinand, Brown, Cattermole (Turner 63'), Larsson, Gardner (Don-won 63'), Gyan (Vaughan 63'), Sességnon (Wickham 72'), Colback.Subs not used: Bramble, Westwood.

Referee: Mike Tumilty.