English Premiership

Black Cats hold Villa to draw

2013-11-30 20:09
Gus Poyet (AFP)

London - Aston Villa shared the points with struggling Sunderland in a terse 0-0 Premier League draw at Villa Park on Saturday.

Not even the presence of Villa fan Prince William, wearing a club scarf and coat as he watched from owner Randy Lerner's executive box, could inspire the hosts to match the 6-1 showing in the corresponding fixture last season.

Sunderland's Emanuele Giaccherini missed a glaring chance and Fabio Borini hit the bar, but the point was sufficient to take Gus Poyet's side off the bottom at Crystal Palace's expense.

The Black Cats had come closest to all three points as they chased their first away win of the season, but had to settle for their first away point since late August.

Villa manager Paul Lambert had handed starts to Gabriel Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann and Fabian Delph after the trio came off the bench to inspire a late comeback in Monday's 2-2 draw at West Brom.

Poyet made three changes from last week's 2-0 defeat to Stoke at the Britannia Stadium with Borini, Andrea Dossena and ex-Villa midfielder Craig Gardner recalled.

Centre-back Wes Brown was included in their lineup after last week's controversial red card at Stoke was rescinded upon appeal.

Villa pushed ahead in the opening ten minutes with Agbonlahor having two early efforts saved, but Sunderland soon got into their rhythm.

Gardner converted Borini's pass after 41 minutes but was ruled offside as the flag was up moments earlier.

Giaccherini missed a chance to break the deadlock for Sunderland just before the break but his close range effort flew over the net to the delight of the home fans.

Villa came out fighting after the break with an Agbonlahor shot from the box and a Christian Benteke header both failing to find the target.

But the hosts were lucky not to be trailing after 66 minutes when a great left-wing cross grom Giaccherini set up Borini only for the Italian's header to hit the crossbar.

Both Poyet and Lambert made changes as they went in search of a late winner, but neither side could break through, with Villa now in 10th place.

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