Tottenham Hotspur [ Images ] suffered a potential blip in their pursuit of third spot in the Premier League after a dire 0-0 draw at Sunderland on Saturday.
Both sides struggled to create any clearcut opportunities but Tottenham felt aggrieved that Phil Bardsley and Michael Turner got away with handballs in the box, the first from a goalbound Emmanuel Adebayor header.
Rafael van der Vaart had two half chances for the visitors, who have lost some of their verve since manager Harry Redknapp [ Images ] was made the bookmakers' favourite for the vacant England [ Images ] job.
In-form Newcastle United, who won 2-0 at Swansea City on Friday to go fifth, are three points behind Spurs while Chelsea [ Images ] are also pushing for third and host Wigan Athletic later.
Eighth-placed Sunderland, flying since manager Martin O'Neill took over in December, had their own penalty shout when the ball clipped Scott Parker on the arm but the referee was again unmoved.