Dunne (own goal) 25
ASTON VILLA 0
A stubborn performance from a Sunderland side that was without a win since August overcame Aston Villa by the narrowest of margins in a game in which the Villain’s can count themselves somewhat unlucky to of lost.
Both sides were some way short of their best form coming into Saturday’s game. However Richard Dunne’s first half own goal proved decisive as despite the best efforts of a hard working Villa team they were unable to find the net.
Both teams had adopted systems which loaded the midfield, with a lone striker upfront. For much of the game Sunderland struggled to bring their forward, Darren Bent, into the game, while Emile Heskey, playing as the target man for Villa at times was ineffective at bringing his more creative team mates into the game.
Villa, not for the first time this season, started the brighter of the teams and were able to create some early chances, Stuart Downing hitting the post having been played in by Ashley Young. However the game changed when Stead Malbranque got the better of Stiliyan Petrov on the right and swept in a good cross that Dunne accidentally volleyed past Brad Friedel at the near post.
As the match progressed the Villains were effective in creating chances but struggled to capitalise and exert the will on to the game. Heskey probably had Villa’s best oppertunity, but Young, Marc Albrighton, and Dunne had chances to score. This is not to say Villa had it all their own way during the game Danny Welbeck and Ahmed Elmohamady came close to scoring during the first half, and Bent and Asamoah Gyan had chances late on.
Had Aston Villa’s finishing been better the result would have been different. G