Benin international scored in the dying minutes after goals from Richard Dunne and Stilian Petrov looked to have given visitors the win, with Connor Wickham also netting
Stephane Sessegnon struck late on to secure a 2-2 draw and give Sunderland a share of the points against Aston Villa, as goals from Stilian Petrov and Richard Dunne looked to have given the visitors all three points at the Stadium of Light.
Connor Wickham also netted his first goal for the Black Cats but it was a miserable return to his former club for Darren Bent, as he missed a sitter and endured a torrid afternoon from the Wearside supporters.
Sunderland started the brighter of the two sides, seeing a lot of possession in the opening 10 minutes, with Sebastian Larsson’s free-kick from distance, which was saved comfortably by Shay Given, being the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock.
Wickham, who had an impressive start last week against Bolton Wanderers, should have done better when he was put through by David Vaughan, but the teenager blasted his effort well over the bar.
Aston Villa had a quiet start to the game but had an excellent chance to take the lead after a great move involving Emile Heskey and Gabriel Agbonlahor. The latter hit a wonderful cross to the back-post where Bent's effort was blocked back onto him by Kieran Richardson and out for a goal-kick.
The visitors then took the lead after counter attacking from a Black Cats' corner. Agbonlahor broke up-field and hit a cross-field pass to the right where Alan Hutton played the ball to Petrov who was free on the edge of the area and hit a blistering left-footed shot into the top corner.
Steve Bruce’s side nearly hit straight back through Michael Turner but his headed effort from a corner flew just inches over the bar with Given beaten.
Sunderland again came close to an equaliser, this time Warnock came to Villa’s rescue as he blocked Wickham’s header off the line and cleared the danger away from the box.
The Black Cats finally got their deserved equaliser and it was Wickham who got the goal with a smart left-footed finish past Given following great play from Sessegnon to slip him in behind the Villa defence.
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Villa started the second half well and put early pressure on the Sunderland defence but couldn’t carve out any clear cut opportunities as their delivery from set-pieces was particularly poor.
Their onslaught however did take its toll on the Black Cats, with keeper Simon Mignolet taken off with a suspected broken nose and replaced by Keiren Westwood.
Steve Bruce’s side grew into the half as it wore on and should have gone ahead through Turner, who blazed a free-header over the bar from six yards out from another dangerous Larsson corner.
Nicklas Bendtner then wasted another glorious opportunity minutes later when he headed a dangerous Larsson cross over the bar when all he needed to do was direct the ball goalwards.
Villa were always dangerous on the counter and former Sunderland man Bent nearly played the role of the pantomime villain after being put through on goal by Agbonlahor, but his shot was well saved by Westwood.
The visitors were coming more into the game and seemed the most likely to get a winner, but their delivery and finishing let them down, however, in the 85th minute Petrov’s cross found Dunne who headed into the net to send the Villa fans into raptures.
Steve Bruce’s side rallied and threw everything at the Midlands club and got a late equaliser through Sessegnon, who headed in from close range from Larsson’s free-kick to give the Black Cats a deserved share of the points.
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