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Summary

  1. Villa XI: Guzan, Hutton, Richards, Clark, Amavi, Westwood, Sanchez, Bacuna, Gueye, Sinclair, Gestede
  2. Sunderland XI: Pantilimon, Jones, van Aanholt, O'Shea, Kaboul, Cattermole, M'Vila, Rodwell, Lens, Defoe, Graham

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Jurejko

All times stated are UK

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FULL-TIME

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

And that's game over. The spoils are shared after an entertaining draw at Villa Park. That means it is time for me to wave goodbye, so head over here for all the reaction. See ya!

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Oh hello - a Sunderland corner. They can't, can they? Nope, Villa clear their lines easily...

INJURY TIME

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Four minutes of added time for Villa to find a winner...

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Home corner as everyone bar Sunderland sub Seb Larsson piles into the away penalty area. The delivery goes over Rudy Gestede's imposing figure, instead finding the head of Micah Richards who heads over the bar.

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Sunderland venture into Villa territory for the first time in a while. Steven Fletcher tussles with Jordan Amavi as the Black Cats try to alleviate the pressure, but the away striker concedes a free-kick. Villa spring forward again...

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Sunderland look pretty happy to sit deep and shut out Villa rather than look for the win - as illustrated below by the average position graphic. Quite wise.

Villa
Opta

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Still all Villa. Big striker Rudy Gestede again causing problems for the away defence. This time the summer signing from Blackburn drags a 15-yard shot wide of the left-hand post.

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Rudy Gestede jumps for a right-wing cross but tumbles under the attentions of away defender Younes Kaboul. The Villa forward is waved up by the referee.

CLOSE!

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

All Villa now. The claret and blue shirts surge towards the goal in front of the Holte End, desperately seeking a third goal which could see off Sunderland. Rudy Gestede tees up Ashley Westwood whose rising shot is superbly saved by Costel Pantilimon. Some nervous faces in the away end now... 

PENALTY?

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Nope. Villa substitute Carlos Gil exchanges passes with Scott Sinclair and jinks into the Sunderland box. The Spaniard rounds a defender and tumbles to the ground. "Penalty!" demands the Holte End. Referee Robert Madley says no and books Gil for diving.

SUBSTITUTION

Final change for Sunderland. Seb Larsson - a former Birmingham City midfielder - replaces Jeremain Lens. That, to me, suggests that Sunderland are content with a point.

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Now the lanky Rudy Gestede reverts to stereotype and uses his head to trouble the Sunderland defence. But the header loops over the crossbar.

Final 15

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Almost a sight of the Sunderland goal for the home side. Summer signing Rudy Gestede shows he can use his feet as well as his head, prodding a through ball towards Carlos Sanchez. But the giant Benin international's touch is a little too strong and it wanders out for a goal-kick.

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Still an excellent tempo to this match as Sunderland cling on to possession close to the halfway line. Could go either way this one - I'm not even going to try and call it...

Jordan Amavi
Getty Images

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Ooooh, Jermain Defoe almost sniffs out a goalscoring chance. The ex-England striker scampers after a long pass from Sunderland team-mate Yann M'Vila, only to see his first touch run into the hands of Villa keeper Brad Guzan. Great vision for the pass, but a difficult one to control.

SUBSTITUTION

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Villa boss Tim Sherwood decides it is time for a switch. On trots mercurial Spanish midfielder Carles Gil, who high-fives Leandro Bacuna as he heads in the opposite direction.

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Villa left-back Jordan Amavi is not shy of sticking on the afterburners and ploughing forward - as his touch-map shows. However, he has not brought his shooting boots, blasting wildly over the Sunderland crossbar from outside the box.

Villa
Opta

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

That set-piece comes to nothing, however. Micah Richards peels off his marker but cannot stick his forehead on the ball.

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Exciting stuff now! Very open game with both sides going on the front foot. Villa left-back Jordan Amavi dances into the Sunderland box - beating the opposite full-back with a succession of Cristiano Ronaldo-esque step-overs. The Dutchman forces a corner...

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Micah Richards is a man whose job it is to turn the ball away from the goal. But not the opponent's net! Somehow the Villa skipper manages to divert a left-wing cross into the grateful hands of Sunderland keeper - and his former Manchester City team-mate - Costel Pantilimon from virtually the goalline. He can't believe it. And neither can Sunderland. Villa should have been in front.

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

And the travelling Mackems almost have a third goal to cheer! Right-back Billy Jones pops up in the Villa box but doesn't have the finishing prowess of one of his more attack-minded team-mates. His outswinging shot drifts well wide - befitting of a defender who has never scored for the club....

Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

The volume has been turned down inside Villa Park. Except for the delirious pocket of away fans...

John Hartson

Former Wales striker on Final Score

"It's a good finish from Lens, but from a defensive point of view it's far too easy. Clark lets him cut inside. Sunderland have started the second half really well."  

GOAL - Aston Villa 2-2 Sunderland

Jeremain Lens

Sunderland are level! Half-time substitute Ola Toivonen starts the move from the middle of the park, before Dutch winger Jeremain Lens suddenly finds himself with the freedom of the Villa penalty area. He keeps calm and coolly converts into the bottom corner, possibly with the aid of a deflection off Micah Richards.

Jeremain Lens
PA

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

Sunderland look much livelier after the break - but they did start the first half very well remember. Jermain Defoe blasts over from distance. Getting closer....

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

Now it is the turn of Steven Fletcher to become involved for the first time. The tall Scotland striker finds space in the Villa area, meeting a right-wing cross to force Villa keeper Brad Guzan into an instinctive tip over the bar.

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

Any instant impact from the incoming Sunderland pair? Ola Toivonen is quickly orchestrating the team from the middle of the park, demanding the ball and pointing. Lots of pointing.

KICK-OFF

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

Referee Robert Madley toots his whistle after the 15-minute break - and that means it is game on.

SUBSTITUTION

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

Looks like Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat has seen enough. New signing Ola Toivonen - a Sweden international midfielder who signed from Rennes yesterday - is stripped off and ready to make his debut.

But wait! Not only does Advocaat make one change - he makes two. Scotland striker Steven Fletcher also gets the nod, while Danny Graham and Lee Cattermole are the two men to be hooked.

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

How about this for a swift break? Villa turned defence into attack within seconds for the goal which gives them a half-time advantage. The clinical move was finished by Scott Sinclair - and here's how it happened...

Goal
Opta

Lies, damned lies and statistics

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

Villa
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HALF-TIME

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

Guy Mowbray

BBC Match of the Day commentator

"A very watchable first half which started badly for Villa and wonderfully for Sunderland. But Villa have hit back through the penalty - what was Lee Cattermole thinking? - and the second goal just before half-time."

HALF-TIME

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

Indeed Sunderland do escape further Villa punishment, largely thanks to Younes Kaboul cutting out another dangerous ball from the left flank. Time for Dick Advocaat to ponder his options over a cuppa.

INJURY TIME

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

One minute of added time, so says the fourth official and his big electronic board. Sunderland hoping not to concede again...

Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

Great psychological boost for the home side to nick the lead before half-time - and you have to say they just about deserve it.

John Hartson

Former Wales striker on Football Focus

"Scott Sinclair never really got going at Manchester City, but he's coming up trumps for Tim Sherwood."  

GOAL - Aston Villa 2-1 Sunderland

Scott Sinclair

Villa take the lead! And Scott Sinclair won't score many simpler goals in his career. A neat touch and turn from Idrissa Gueye sends Jordan Amavi tearing down the left flank and his perfect cross leaves Sinclair to bundle in from close range.

Scott Sinclair
Getty Images

Aston Villa 1-1 Sunderland

Jeremain Lens was the Sunderland man who forced Micah Richards into action - he has been their biggest threat...

Villa
Opta

Ouch!

Aston Villa 1-1 Sunderland

Talk about putting your body on the line. Villa skipper Micah Richards dives in front of a right-wing cross as Sunderland threaten in numbers on the break. But the ex-Manchester City man slides into the post, his back taking the brunt of the impact. Takes more than that to keep big Micah down for long...

Aston Villa 1-1 Sunderland

Another chance for Leandro Bacuna to get a set-piece right. Again on the left flank, this time close to the corner flag, the Dutchman opts for a training-ground move pulling back the ball which ends up at the feet of Carlos Sanchez. But he lashes it well over the bar.