Aston Villa claimed their first victory in six games as Gabriel Agbonlahor scored the only goal at Sunderland.

Agbonlahor remained calm to round goalkeeper Vito Mannone after an error from home captain Lee Cattermole.

Mannone then made a great save to deny Leandro Bacuna, before Christian Benteke had an effort headed off the goalline by Phil Bardsley.

Sunderland lacking quality - Poyet

Sunderland had lots of possession but Emanuele Giaccherini, Steven Fletcher and Ji Dong-Won all shot off target.

Black Cats substitute Fabio Borini also had a goal disallowed for offside, but it was a hugely frustrating afternoon for home boss Gus Poyet.

His side are bottom of the table, four points from safety and showed why they have the joint worst goalscoring record in the Premier League with Cardiff City after only 15 goals from 20 matches.

The hosts passed the ball well, but in ineffective areas and lacked a cutting edge up front on a comfortable day for visiting goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Villa were happy to play on the counter-attack and looked more likely to add to Agbonlahor's gifted opener than concede an equaliser.

Analysis

"Aston Villa won with a one-goal victory, but what a desperate goal it was.

"Lee Cattermole was caught in possession and Gabriel Agbonlahor took full advantage after 15 minutes.

"After that there were chances for both sides but the best of them came from Aston Villa. Sunderland will regret a missed opportunity and this is a very damaging defeat for them."

Sunderland had been unbeaten in their last five matches and had chances to take the lead but Giaccherini, Fletcher and Ji, making only his second Premier League start of the season, all fired tamely off target inside the opening 10 minutes.

That wastefulness proved costly as the visitors went ahead after 15 minutes with Agbonlahor's third goal of the season.

There appeared to be little danger when Valentin Roberge played a square pass across goal 30 yards out, but Cattermole failed to control it and that enabled Agbonlahor to run in and take the ball around Mannone.

Villa striker Benteke, making his first appearance in four matches after a knee injury, nearly helped double his side's lead as his flick found Agbonlahor, whose 22-yard effort was well blocked by Mannone.

The Italian goalkeeper again did well at the start of the second half, when Bacuna's 25-yard strike took a huge deflection off Roberge and Mannone dived to push the ball to safety.

Villa deserved to win - Lambert

Sunderland thought they had equalised moments later when Borini put the ball into the net from Steven Fletcher's knock down, but was judged to be offside.

However, that was one of only a few chances for the hosts in the second half as the visitors continued to create the better opportunities.

Benteke came close to scoring his first goal since 14 September, but was denied by Bardsley's goalline clearance.

Villa substitute Marc Albrighton also wasted a late chance to seal the game by shooting well over when he only had Mannone to beat.

But it did not matter as Sunderland could not force their way back into the match and Paul Lambert's side claimed a deserved three points to move up to 11th in the table.

Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said:

"It is difficult to take. Football is unpredictable but when you start well and have chances you have to take them.

"Unfortunately the mistake was against us and after that there were too many nerves and too much tension.

"I don't know why they were nervous and we were not organised enough. People were making individual decisions, but not thinking as a team and that disappoints me. I'm getting a little bit fed up.

"The weakest people look for excuses and it is all down to us to correct it. We miss quality to play at this level and do what we need to do when we are in control of the game.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert said:

"We now have everybody fit and we are a really good side when that happens. We needed our big players back from injury and if you take out Christian Benteke and Ron Vlaar then they are a big part of our side.

"It could have been more than a 1-0 win, we had good chances so it could've been three or four.

"This is a hard place to come but I'm delighted with the result.

"We will try to bring in people if it's possible. If we can get one or two experienced players in to give us a hand then we will try to do that. It could give us a lift in the dressing room if we can do it."

For a gallery of images from Wednesday's Premier League games please go to the BBC Sport Facebook page. 

Lineup, Bookings (7) & Substitutions (4)

Sunderland

  • 25 Mannone
  • 12 Celustka
  • 02 Bardsley
  • 33 Cattermole (Borini - 45' )
  • 21 Diakité
  • 29 Roberge (Johnson - 77' )
  • 04 Ki Booked
  • 14 Colback Booked
  • 09 Fletcher
  • 27 Ji (Altidore - 67' Booked )
  • 23 Giaccherini Booked

Substitutes

  • 03 Dossena
  • 07 Larsson
  • 08 Gardner
  • 11 Johnson
  • 13 Pickford
  • 17 Altidore
  • 31 Borini

Aston Villa

  • 01 Guzan
  • 34 Lowton
  • 14 Luna
  • 15 Westwood
  • 04 Vlaar (Albrighton - 70' )
  • 02 Baker
  • 07 Bacuna Booked
  • 16 Delph Booked
  • 11 Agbonlahor Booked
  • 20 Benteke
  • 10 Weimann

Substitutes

  • 08 El Ahmadi
  • 12 Albrighton
  • 13 Steer
  • 21 Bowery
  • 24 Tonev
  • 27 Kozák
  • 32 Donacien
Ref: Michael Jones
Att: 39,757

Match Stats

Shots

17 13

On target

1 5

Corners

10 2

Fouls

8 11

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Sunderland 0, Aston Villa 1.

90:00 +6:35 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Sunderland 0, Aston Villa 1.

90:00 +6:17

Attempt missed. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Marc Albrighton.

90:00 +4:09

Hand ball by Steven Fletcher (Sunderland).

90:00 +3:08

Offside, Sunderland. Adam Johnson tries a through ball, but Phillip Bardsley is caught offside.

90:00 +2:45

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Antonio Luna.

90:00 +0:25 Booking

Booking Jozy Altidore (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +0:12 Booking

Booking Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +0:10 Booking

Booking Jack Colback (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.

89:05

Foul by Jack Colback (Sunderland).

89:05

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

88:18

Attempt missed. Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Jozy Altidore.

86:36

Attempt missed. Jack Colback (Sunderland) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is too high. Assisted by Jozy Altidore.

85:14

Attempt missed. Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Andreas Weimann.

82:10

Offside, Sunderland. Fabio Borini tries a through ball, but Emanuele Giaccherini is caught offside.

81:36

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Vito Mannone.

81:34

Attempt saved. Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.

79:26

Attempt blocked. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Phillip Bardsley.

78:26

Attempt missed. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Marc Albrighton.

77:34

Foul by Ondrej Celustka (Sunderland).

77:34

Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

76:29 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Adam Johnson replaces Valentin Roberge.

76:09

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Leandro Bacuna.

73:04

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Leandro Bacuna.

71:33

Attempt blocked. Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marc Albrighton.

71:31

Attempt blocked. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gabriel Agbonlahor.

70:49

Attempt missed. Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Jozy Altidore.

70:22

Modibo Diakité (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

70:22

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

70:11

Attempt blocked. Steven Fletcher (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jozy Altidore.

69:54 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Marc Albrighton replaces Ron Vlaar because of an injury.

68:09

Attempt missed. Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jack Colback.

66:58

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

66:49 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Jozy Altidore replaces Ji Dong-Won.

66:03

Delay in match Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

64:29

Jack Colback (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

64:29

Foul by Fabian Delph (Aston Villa).

63:50 Booking

Booking Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.

61:35

Attempt missed. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

61:05

Foul by Modibo Diakité (Sunderland).

61:05

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

60:37

Attempt missed. Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ji Dong-Won following a corner.

60:17

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Nathan Baker.

60:16

Attempt blocked. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Phillip Bardsley with a cross.

57:44

Foul by Modibo Diakité (Sunderland).

57:44

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57:38

Attempt blocked. Ji Dong-Won (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ki Sung-Yueng.

56:06 Booking

Booking Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

55:44

Ji Dong-Won (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

55:44

Foul by Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa).

54:53

Foul by Jack Colback (Sunderland).

54:53

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

54:09

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

54:09

Foul by Antonio Luna (Aston Villa).

53:09

Attempt blocked. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.

52:40

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

51:55

Delay in match Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

51:14

Offside, Sunderland. Fabio Borini tries a through ball, but Emanuele Giaccherini is caught offside.

49:01

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Matthew Lowton.

47:41

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Vito Mannone.

47:40

Attempt saved. Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Christian Benteke.

47:21

Foul by Modibo Diakité (Sunderland).

47:21

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:13

Hand ball by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

45:00

Second Half begins Sunderland 0, Aston Villa 1.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Fabio Borini replaces Lee Cattermole.

45:00 +1:03 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Sunderland 0, Aston Villa 1.

42:24

Offside, Sunderland. Emanuele Giaccherini tries a through ball, but Modibo Diakité is caught offside.

41:52

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Christian Benteke.

41:50

Attempt blocked. Ji Dong-Won (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

41:31

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Antonio Luna.

40:08 Booking

Booking Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

39:56

Phillip Bardsley (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

39:56

Foul by Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa).

38:53

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

38:00

Valentin Roberge (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

38:00

Foul by Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa).

36:48

Attempt blocked. Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ji Dong-Won.

28:59

Attempt blocked. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

28:40

Ji Dong-Won (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

28:40

Foul by Antonio Luna (Aston Villa).

26:48

Attempt saved. Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Phillip Bardsley.

24:06

Modibo Diakité (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

24:06

Foul by Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa).

24:03

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

22:44 Booking

Booking Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card.

22:41

Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) has gone down, but that's a dive.

20:33

Attempt blocked. Ji Dong-Won (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ki Sung-Yueng.

18:46

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Leandro Bacuna.

18:21

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Ashley Westwood.

17:26

Attempt missed. Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Andreas Weimann following a fast break.

16:43

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Ron Vlaar.

16:41

Attempt blocked. Jack Colback (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ji Dong-Won.

14:54 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Sunderland 0, Aston Villa 1. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

13:10

Jack Colback (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

13:10

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

8:44

Attempt missed. Ji Dong-Won (Sunderland) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Emanuele Giaccherini with a cross.

6:42

Attempt missed. Steven Fletcher (Sunderland) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Emanuele Giaccherini.

5:26

Attempt missed. Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ki Sung-Yueng.

2:41

Jack Colback (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

2:41

Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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