• Date: Wed 24 March 2010
  • Venue: Villa Park
  • Ref: Dean, M
  • Attendance: 37,473
Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Carew (30)

1 - 1
Sunderland

Sunderland

Campbell (22)

Aston Villa vs Sunderland

Team Lineups

Aston Villa

Brad Friedel
Richard Dunne
Carlos Cuellar
Stephen Warnock
James Collins
Stewart Downing
Ashley Young, A
James Milner (Steve Sidwell, 77)
Stiliyan Petrov
John Carew
Emile Heskey (Nathan Delfouneso, 14)

Sunderland

Craig Gordon
Michael Turner
Anton Ferdinand
Alan Hutton
John Mensah (Paulo Da Silva, 72)
Steed Malbranque (Lorik Cana, 82)
Kieran Richardson
Jordan Henderson
Lee Cattermole
Fraizer Campbell
Darren Bent

Match Report
John Carew maintained his rich vein of goalscoring form with another face-saving strike to earn Aston Villa another home draw following a 1-1 stalemate with Sunderland. The Norway international scored his 14th goal of the season as Villa again frustrated their fans. Villa might be unbeaten at home this year but this was the seventh draw in 10 matches and their hopes of a top four spot are diminishing fast. Sunderland, meanwhile, stretched their unbeaten run to five games as they continue to push themselves out of the relegation area. As usual, Villa made their customary fast start with Ashley Young their main tormentor. Goalkeeper Craig Gordon, who thwarted Birmingham City on Saturday, maintained his impressive form for the Black Cats. Twice in quick succession the Sunderland goalkeeper denied Villa goals with two saves with his legs. On the first occasion he kept out a rasping drive from Young and then saved a James Collins header again with his legs. Sunderland managed to get the ball into the net but Darren Bent's effort was ruled offside. But in the 13th minute, Villa suffered a major setback when Emile Heskey limped out of the game to be replaced by Nathan Delfouneso. Sunderland's goal continued to enjoy a charmed life with Collins going close with another header from a Young cross. But in the 22nd minute the Villa fans were stunned when the two former Manchester United players, Kieran Richardson and Fraizer Campbell, conspired to open the scoring for the visitors. Richardson pierced Villa's defence with a throughball and Campbell raced past Collins to score with a low shot to the left of goalkeeper Brad Friedel. This setback only spurred Villa to greater efforts and in the 30th minute they were rewarded when the best move of the goal resulted in a Carew grabbing the equaliser. James Milner sent Young clear on the right and he produced another fast cross which Carew converted with his long outstretched leg. In an even second half, Sunderland, who have not won away from home since the opening day of the season, should have notched a second goal. John Mensah was so surprised to find himself completely unmarked in the six-yard box that he headed Richardson's cross wide of the goal. The closest villa came to a claiming the winner occurred when Carew headed over from a Stewart Downing cross.
Live Text Commentary
Full time
 

The final whistle goes. Villa drop more points in the battle for fourth - they had the chances to win tonight but were not clinical enough against a well-organised Sunderland defence.

90

Villa are hardly laying siege to Sunderland's goal - the visitors are playing out the draw with some ease.

90

Three minutes of stoppage time will be played.

88

Sunderland clear the corner and punt the ball clear - they are happy to keep men behind the ball.

88

Young wins a corner down the Villa right.

86

Villa are running out of ideas and are starting to rely on long balls to Carew.

84

Sunderland seem happy to protect their point, but they have some decent possession and are encouraged to keep going forward by Steve Bruce.

82
Substitution
 

Lorik Cana replaces Steed Malbranque.

79

Stewart Downing whips in a corner but Gordon does well to come through bodies to claim.

78
Substitution
 

James Milner has picked up a knock and makes way for Steve Sidwell.

76

Big chance for Villa - Young crosses for Carew who looks certain to score with Gordon misjuding the cross, but the chance goes begging. He should have hit the target.

74

Cattermole has been effective defensively but an optimistic volley sails well over Friedel's crossbar.

72
Substitution
 

John Mensah is injured and makes way Paulo Da Silva.

68

Sunderland are coping well with the Villa threat - Young was dangerous in the first half but has stuggled to get into the second half.

66

The home crowd is getting restless as Villa struggle to impose themselves.

63

A better spell for Sunderland - Campbell wriggles free of Dunne but shoots wide from 20 yards.

61

Kieran Richardson tests Brad Friedel from distance, but the effort lacked power.

58

The in-form Carew nearly scores again, forcing a fingertip save from Gordon after being played in by Milner.

55

Villa are gradually gaining control of possession without getting a clear sight of Gordon's goal.

52

Milner is clattered by Cattermole and needs treatment on the sidelines.

51

The second half has started scrappily, with Villa struggling to regain their passing fluency from the first half.

48

Milner tries his luck from distance, but it is an easy save for Gordon.

46

Sunderland win the first corner of the second half, but Kieran Richardson's delivery is cleared.

Second half
 

The second period is underway at Villa Park.

Half time
 

The players head for the dressing rooms. Villa responded well to going behind, but they need to take the chances their dominance has yielded.

45

Richard Dunne lets Campbell have a sight of goal, but the effort is dragged wide.

44

Nathan Delfouneso has struggled to make an impact - he nearly gets onto a Stiliyan Petrov pass in the box, but Michael Turner intervenes.

42

Sunderland have found their feet - Villa are finding it hard to create the chances they were early on.

39

Fraizer Campbell unleashes a goal-bound shot that is well blocked by James Collins. Villa clear the corner.

36

Carew is proving a real handful for the visiting defence - he gets to a Carlos Cuellar cross first but can't get enough power on the header to beat Gordon.

33

Villa deserve their goal - they have passed the ball well so far and look particularly dangerous in wide areas.

30
Goal
 

Excellent work by Ashley Young gets Villa level, the England winger crossing well for Carew, who cannot miss from close range.

28

Villa are yet to get going since conceding - Sunderland are playing more confidence.

25

Sunderland, lifted by the goal, force a couple of corners, with Alan Hutton having a good effort blocked. Villa clear.

22
Goal
 

Fraizer Campbell opens the scoring against the run of play, latching onto Kieran Richardson's throughball and finishing well.

22

Milner scuffs a volley wide from 20 yards. Villa are making all the chances.

20

James Collins misses an excellent chance for Villa, making no contact from six yards from an inviting Ashley Young cross.

19

Darren Bent makes a trademark dangerous run behind Villa's back four but is just offside.

17

Lee Cattermole hacks down James Milner and is lucky to escape a yellow card.

15

The early loss of Heskey has upset Villa's fluency - Sunderland are enjoying a good spell of possession.

13
Substitution
 

Nathan Delfouneso replaces the injured Emile Heskey.

11

Emile Heskey is struggling with some sort of muscle injury - he might have to come off.

10

Ashley Young makes good ground down the Villa right, but his cross is too near Gordon.

8

Gordon is suddenly very busy, pulling off a good reaction save to deny James Collins from a Stewart Downing free-kick.

5

John Carew has the first proper effort of the match, but Craig Gordon does well to save the Norwegian's header.

3

An assured start by Villa, who are playing with plenty of urgency.

1

There is steady drizzle at Villa Park, with the pitch slick and well-suited to fluent passing.

Kickoff
 

Referee Mike Dean gets play underway at Villa Park.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Villa are seeking to protect the only unbeaten Premier League record in 2010, although they have drawn six of their nine matches this year - they can ill-afford to drop more points tonight in the race for fourth place.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Villa have won their last three league matches against Sunderland; the Balck Cats have only won one of their last 11 matches at Villa Park.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Martin O'Neill names the same team that drew 2-2 with Wolves on Saturday, whilst Steve Bruce recalls Lee Cattermole and Jordan Henderson to the team that beat Birmingham. Benjani Mwaruwari and David Meyler are the players to miss out.