Sunderland earned only their second away point of the season, holding Aston Villa to a goalless draw at Villa Park.

Villa went close when striker Christian Benteke steered a shot high when well placed, before Sunderland were denied a penalty for a Ciaran Clark handball.

Poyet salutes "great step forward"

The visitors had a glorious chance to take the lead but Emanuele Giaccherini sent a shot from four yards over.

Sunderland again gave Villa a scare when Fabio Borini headed Giaccherini's cross against the bar.

The Black Cats had lost their last five top-flight games on their travels but were well-organised and determined as they provided manager Gus Poyet with his first away point since he became their manager on 8 October.

The Wearside club moved off the bottom at Crystal Palace's expense but are five points from safety.

Villa were being watched by their most famous fan in Prince William, but the Midlands side could not find a way past a Sunderland defence expertly marshalled by John O'Shea and Wes Brown.

Analysis

"For the first time since August, Sunderland return with something from their travels. They could have won it, as they had the best chance, but neither team did enough to win."

The hosts have a better record away than at home in the Premier League but began with an intent which suggested otherwise.

Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor headed just wide from Fabian Delph's cross as Villa continued in the same attacking vein which helped them come back from 2-0 down to draw with West Brom on Monday.

There was a high tempo and open feel to the match early on, although both sets of players lacked composure, epitomised when Benteke missed a good chance.

The Belgian had the goal in his sights when Ashley Westwood laid off a Karim El Ahmadi pull-back, but Benteke steered his side-footed effort just over. He has now gone seven games with a goal for his club.

Villa never deserved win - Lambert

Sunderland became more of a threat as the game progressed and had a strong shout for a penalty when Sebastian Larsson's free-kick was headed across the area by O'Shea and the ball appeared to strike the arm of Villa defender Clark.

The Black Cats were aggrieved at referee Neil Swarbrick's decision but the visitors only had themselves to blame when they failed to take the lead minutes later.

A Ki Sung-Yueng cross was knocked back across goal to Giaccherini, who side-footed over from point-blank range.

The Italian midfielder almost made amends for his miss when he crossed for Borini, whose glanced header came back off the Villa bar.

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert:

"It was not a classic but if you can't win a game then don't lose it.

"It is another clean sheet and we had some lads back from injury who got some match time under their belts.

"We never deserved to win the game."

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet:

"It is a good point for different reasons. We performed for 90 minutes, we made it difficult for Villa and created chances.

"We had a miss from two yards and hit the crossbar. Sometimes you have to understand when you are at the bottom that things don't go for you.

"I think we deserved the win. The players were believing. We didn't get the three points but it is a step in the right direction.

"The idea is to maintain this level and I am sure we are going to be all right."

For a gallery of photos from Saturday's Premier League games, visit the BBC Sport Facebook page. 

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Aston Villa

  • 01 Guzan
  • 07 Bacuna
  • 14 Luna
  • 15 Westwood
  • 04 Vlaar Booked
  • 06 Clark
  • 08 El Ahmadi (Tonev - 71' )
  • 16 Delph
  • 20 Benteke (Kozák - 86' )
  • 11 Agbonlahor Booked
  • 10 Weimann (Albrighton - 71' )

Substitutes

  • 02 Baker
  • 12 Albrighton
  • 13 Steer
  • 18 Sylla
  • 24 Tonev
  • 27 Kozák
  • 34 Lowton

Sunderland

  • 25 Mannone
  • 02 Bardsley Booked
  • 03 Dossena (Celustka - 84' )
  • 04 Ki Sung-yueng
  • 16 O'Shea
  • 05 Brown
  • 23 Giaccherini
  • 07 Larsson
  • 09 Fletcher
  • 08 Gardner (Colback - 76' )
  • 31 Borini (Johnson - 76' )

Substitutes

  • 11 Johnson
  • 12 Celustka
  • 13 Pickford
  • 14 Colback
  • 17 Altidore
  • 29 Roberge
  • 33 Cattermole
Ref: Neil Swarbrick
Att: 33,036

Match Stats

Shots

13 7

On target

4 1

Corners

7 6

Fouls

14 12

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Aston Villa 0, Sunderland 0.

90:00 +4:22 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Sunderland 0.

90:00 +3:57 Booking

Booking Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90:00 +3:49

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +3:49

Foul by Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland).

90:00 +2:38 Booking

Booking Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90:00 +2:15

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

90:00 +2:15

Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:25

Offside, Sunderland. Vito Mannone tries a through ball, but Steven Fletcher is caught offside.

89:43

Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

89:43

Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).

88:41

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

87:56

Delay in match John O'Shea (Sunderland) because of an injury.

85:40

Offside, Aston Villa. Brad Guzan tries a through ball, but Gabriel Agbonlahor is caught offside.

85:06 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Libor Kozák replaces Christian Benteke.

84:42

Attempt missed. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) left footed shot from long range on the left is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.

83:50

Offside, Sunderland. Sebastian Larsson tries a through ball, but Steven Fletcher is caught offside.

83:27 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Ondrej Celustka replaces Andrea Dossena.

83:01

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

83:01

Foul by Steven Fletcher (Sunderland).

82:39

Attempt saved. Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Antonio Luna.

77:02

Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

77:02

Foul by Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland).

75:47 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Jack Colback replaces Craig Gardner.

75:26 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Adam Johnson replaces Fabio Borini.

74:12

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

74:12

Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

73:02

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Phillip Bardsley.

70:24

Foul by Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa).

70:24

Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

70:15 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Aleksandar Tonev replaces Karim El Ahmadi.

70:01 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Marc Albrighton replaces Andreas Weimann.

67:12

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Ciaran Clark.

65:59

Attempt saved. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Emanuele Giaccherini with a cross.

65:07

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

65:07

John O'Shea (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:46

Antonio Luna (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:46

Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

63:38

Foul by Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa).

63:38

Andrea Dossena (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:35

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Phillip Bardsley.

62:04

Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:04

Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

61:21

Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

61:21

Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).

58:55

Attempt missed. Craig Gardner (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

57:39

Foul by Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa).

57:39

Craig Gardner (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

57:03

Attempt missed. Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Andreas Weimann.

53:01

Attempt saved. Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

51:58

Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

51:58

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

49:24

Foul by Steven Fletcher (Sunderland).

49:24

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

48:52

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ashley Westwood with a cross following a corner.

48:32

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Vito Mannone.

48:31

Attempt saved. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

47:56

John O'Shea (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

47:56

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

47:25

Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

47:25

Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Aston Villa 0, Sunderland 0.

45:00 +1:17 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Sunderland 0.

44:23

Foul by Craig Gardner (Sunderland).

44:23

Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

43:20

Attempt missed. Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) right footed shot from very close range is just a bit too high. Assisted by Phillip Bardsley with a headed pass following a corner.

42:55

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Fabian Delph.

42:54

Attempt blocked. Craig Gardner (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

42:01

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Ciaran Clark.

41:20

Hand ball by Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa).

40:52

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Brad Guzan.

40:19

Offside, Sunderland. Fabio Borini tries a through ball, but Craig Gardner is caught offside.

40:05

Attempt blocked. Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ashley Westwood with a cross.

39:36

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Wes Brown.

37:58

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Ciaran Clark.

37:25

Foul by Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa).

37:25

Steven Fletcher (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

37:18

Attempt blocked. Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

36:17

Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).

36:17

Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:44

Attempt missed. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Gabriel Agbonlahor.

33:40

Offside, Aston Villa. Leandro Bacuna tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.

32:10

Attempt missed. Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

31:11 Booking

Booking Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

30:48

Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

30:48

Foul by Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa).

28:50

Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.

26:42

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Phillip Bardsley.

24:52

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Fabian Delph.

23:44

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Leandro Bacuna.

21:44

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

21:44

Foul by Antonio Luna (Aston Villa).

19:15

Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

19:15

Foul by Fabian Delph (Aston Villa).

18:32

Offside, Sunderland. Ki Sung-Yueng tries a through ball, but Steven Fletcher is caught offside.

15:37

Attempt missed. Craig Gardner (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Andrea Dossena.

13:38

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Phillip Bardsley.

10:05

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Wes Brown.

7:39

Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

7:39

Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

6:05

Wes Brown (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

6:05

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

5:17

Attempt missed. Andrea Dossena (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Steven Fletcher.

4:21

Attempt saved. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Andreas Weimann.

2:45

Attempt missed. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Fabian Delph with a cross.

1:41

Offside, Sunderland. John O'Shea tries a through ball, but Steven Fletcher is caught offside.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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