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Saturday, 28 September, 2002, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Sunderland edge to victory
David Bellion (left) takes on Steve Staunton
Bellion (left) weaves his way past Villa's Staunton
Sunderland 1-0 Aston Villa

David Bellion struck his first goal for Sunderland to ease the pressure on under-fire boss Peter Reid.

The Frenchman, making his first Premiership start, fired home after 70 minutes to give the Black Cats only their second win of the season.


The best way I can put it is there were a few knives being sharpened and they've just gone a bit blunt
Peter Reid

It was Sunderland's first goal in more than six hours of football - but it gave Reid just the lift he was looking for following a dismal start to the new campaign.

And it delighted the long-suffering home fans, who have had precious little to cheer so far in 2002.

The first half was a poor advert for Premiership football, with just one moment of quality lighting up an otherwise dreary 45 minutes.

  Key moments
32 mins: Stephen Wright limps off injured
70 mins: David Bellion breaks the deadlock

That came courtesy of Bellion, who had been asked to partner Tore Andre Flo in an attempt to end Sunderland's goal drought.

The French striker's mazy run opened up the Villa defence three minutes before the break and allowed Claudio Reyna to drill a 25-yard shot straight at Peter Enckelman.

Joining Bellion in the Sunderland team was Jody Craddock, returning to the heart of defence following the death of his four-month old son in August.

Peter Reid (left) and Niall Quinn
Reid (left) feels the pressure at the Stadium of Light

Kevin Kilbane and Julio Arca were also called up by Reid.

Kilbane was asked to play at left-back in place of the injured Michael Gray while Arca's presence gave Sunderland a welcome attacking edge down the left flank.

For Villa, Dion Dublin came in for his first start of the season following his winner against Everton last weekend.

The second half was a lot brighter and thankfully a lot more exciting for the fans.


I'm very disappointed because we had our chances to cement our place in the top half of the division
Graham Taylor

But the home supporters had to wait until the 70th minute to celebrate only their third Premiership goal of the season.

Arca set Bellion free with a long ball from inside his own half and the pacy frontman beat Enckelman to his left with a right-foot shot.


Sunderland: Sorensen, Wright (Williams 32), Craddock, Babb, Kilbane, Piper, Reyna, McCann, Arca, Flo (Quinn 69), Bellion (Stewart 78).
Subs Not Used: Thirlwell, Myhre.

Booked: Reyna, McCann, Stewart.

Aston Villa: Enckelman, Mellberg, Staunton, Johnsen, Delaney (De la Cruz 77), Barry, Hendrie, Kinsella (Leonhardsen 86), Samuel, Dublin (Crouch 86), Vassell.
Subs Not Used: Postma, Allback.

Booked: Staunton, Dublin, Hendrie.

Attendance: 40,492.

Referee: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Pat Murphy
"The Sunderland players can now look Peter Reid in the eyes"
Sunderland player-coach Niall Quinn
"That result gets us back on the right track"
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