Gareth Barry celebrates after scoring his side's winner from the spot
They did it without John Carew. Again.
There was more than one reason why Martin Oâ€™Neill was on the pitch on Saturday after Aston Villaâ€™s fifth consecutive away League win.
â€˜In terms of our fightbacks this season, itâ€™s a brilliant win,â€™ said Oâ€™Neill.
â€˜It was a long way back when they got their goal, but we have a resolve.â€™
There was some luck, too, and a realisation on Oâ€™Neillâ€™s part that his squad is stretched.
Ashley Young was sent off in the win over Sunderland
Ashley Young, sent off for an ugly two-footed lunge at Dean Whitehead, misses the FA Cup this Saturday and the Premier League games against Portsmouth and Wigan to follow.
â€˜I donâ€™t think we can keep going in the fashion we have,â€™ added Oâ€™Neill.
â€˜Weâ€™ve been going since July 19 and I think itâ€™s been really hard work.
â€˜Ashley Young gets an enforced rest. Far from me to say a sending-off resolves a problem â€” it doesnâ€™t.
'We will miss him badly for the three games. And weâ€™ve got a couple of suspensions coming up, everything catches up with you.â€™
Propelled forward by James Milner and Young, Villa recovered from a Danny Collins opener although they did not have an effort on target until Milner half-headed, half-punched in Youngâ€™s cross on the hour.
Young was then dismissed but the 10 men gave as good as Sunderlandâ€™s 11.
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Then came the luck as referee Mike Dean gave an 80th-minute penalty for a 50-50 challenge by Paul McShane on Gabriel Agbonlahor and Gareth Barry rifled in the penalty.
â€˜The aimâ€™s got to be to get into the Champions League,â€™ said Milner.
â€˜Anything more and itâ€™d be amazing.â€™