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Page last updated at 22:04 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Sunderland   0 - 2   Aston Villa

Aston Villa pair James Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor
Milner and Agbonlahor celebrate the former's magnificent strike at Sunderland

By Sam Lyon

Aston Villa underlined their top four aspirations with a clinical victory over Sunderland that lifts them above Arsenal and into third in the league.

Emile Heskey opened the scoring with a low drive and James Milner sealed an impressive win with a superb 25-yarder.

Stewart Downing and Ashley Young also hit the woodwork, but Sunderland were not overawed in a competitive game.

Andy Reid twice went close for them but Lorik Cana's late red card for a second booking summed up a frustrating night.

The defeat continues a frustrating run of form for an inconsistent Sunderland outfit, whose wins over Liverpool and Arsenal represent their only victories from their last nine league games.

But for Villa, victory pushes them to within five points of the Premier League summit and provides further weight to the argument that they, more than any side, have the potential to break the monopoly of the big four.

O'Neil delighted with winning run

Martin O'Neill's side came into the match on the back of Saturday's potentially campaign-defining victory over Manchester United, but any fears that the trip to the Stadium of Light would be a case of "after the Lord Mayor's Show" proved wide of the mark.

Sunderland actually started the better of the sides, with the hosts stroking the ball about nicely early on, and Jordan Henderson beat the post by a matter of inches with a pile-driver from 20 yards out on 10 minutes.

But Villa soon found their stride and not long after Downing had rattled the bar with a curling free-kick from the edge of the area, they were ahead.

Sunderland's George McCartney caused problems for his side by giving the ball away midway in his own half, but there was plenty still to do.

Stilian Petrov drove forward, fed the ball to Milner, and his sublime clipped pass found Heskey in the box, the striker turning and slamming low into the net.

On the back of one win in seven matches, Sunderland might have been expected to falter in response, but with a home record better than anyone's outside of the top four, they are a side made of sterner stuff than that.

Reid, in particular, proved a handful for the Villa defence and twice the Irishman could have levelled things up for the Black Cats.

606: DEBATE
fearlessSAFC4EUROPE

First he forced a smart save from keeper Brad Friedel with a stinging volley from Henderson's cross, and he should then have done better when Darren Bent's flick-on found him in space in the box, only for the midfielder to slice wide.

Had either chance found the net, the match outlook would have looked very different.

As it was, Villa always looked a threat in attack and they were denied by the woodwork for a second time just before the hour mark when Heskey set up Young to slam a drive against the outside of the post.

It proved only a brief reprieve for the hosts, though, and Milner, thriving following his recent switch to central midfield, wrapped the game up with a stunning strike.

The 23-year-old, who on current form looks a certainty to be in Fabio Capello's England World Cup squad next summer, collected the ball on the left, held off the challenge of Kieran Richardson and then launched an unstoppable drive into the top corner from fully 25 yards.

Bruce rues missed chances

To their credit, Sunderland continued to probe, and it took a goal-saving tackle from Richard Dunne to deny Kenwyne Jones six yards out just minutes after Milner's strike.

But as the game drew to a close, Villa's assuredness grew ever stronger, only aided by Cana's dismissal for a second booking - the first for a lunge on Agbonlahor, the second a similarly reckless foul on Milner.

The only measure of comfort Sunderland fans could draw on the final whistle was the return to action of key midfielder Lee Cattermole after a knee injury as a second-half substitute.

Villa, though, will look to build on this win when they host Stoke on Saturday as their fantastic start to the season goes from strength to strength.

Live text and stats

 

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Sunderland 0-2 Aston Villa FT
(HT 0-1)
    • Heskey 24
    • Milner 61

    Sunderland

    Substitutes

    Aston Villa

    Substitutes

    Ref: FriendAtt: 34,821
    SUNDERLAND
    ASTON VILLA

    Possession

    • Sunderland 50%
    • Aston Villa 50%

    Attempts on target

    • Sunderland 5
    • Aston Villa 4

    Attempts off target

    • Sunderland 10
    • Aston Villa 7

    Corners

    • Sunderland 7
    • Aston Villa 1

    Fouls

    • Sunderland 16
    • Aston Villa 14
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+4:26 The match has reached full-time.
    • 90:00+1:47 Substitution (Aston Villa) makes a substitution, with Steve Sidwell coming on for Gabriel Agbonlahor.
    • 90:00+1:47 Unfair challenge on Paulo Da Silva by Emile Heskey results in a free kick. Marton Fulop takes the free kick.
    • 90:00+0:05 A cross is delivered by Andy Reid, Header by Phillip Bardsley from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.
    • 89:41 Short corner worked by Darren Bent.
    • 89:29 Andy Reid takes a shot. Carlos Cuellar gets a block in.
    • 88:40 Booking Luke Young booked.
    • 88:29 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andy Reid by Luke Young. George McCartney takes the free kick.
    • 87:39 Andy Reid delivers the ball, Darren Bent takes a shot. Save made by Brad Friedel.
    • 86:27 Phillip Bardsley delivers the ball.
    • 85:33 The ball is sent over by Phillip Bardsley, clearance by Carlos Cuellar.
    • 85:28 Centre by Andy Reid.
    • 83:51 Emile Heskey concedes a free kick for a foul on Phillip Bardsley. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Andy Reid, Luke Young manages to make a clearance.
    • 81:12 Substitution Phillip Bardsley comes on in place of Kenwyne Jones.
    • 81:12 Substitution John Mensah comes on in place of Michael Turner.
    • 81:12 Andy Reid challenges Stewart Downing unfairly and gives away a free kick. Stiliyan Petrov takes the direct free kick.
    • 79:54 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing from the right by-line, Marton Fulop makes a save.
    • 78:02 Strike on goal comes in from Stewart Downing from the free kick, clearance by Kenwyne Jones.
    • 78:02 Sent off Lorik Cana shown a red card for second bookable offence.
    • 77:49 James Milner fouled by Lorik Cana, the ref awards a free kick.
    • 76:58 Andy Reid takes a shot from inside the box clearing the bar.
    • 75:57 Corner taken by Andy Reid, Carlos Cuellar makes a clearance.
    • 75:21 Luke Young crosses the ball, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Emile Heskey misses to the right of the target.
    • 73:07 Emile Heskey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Nyron Nosworthy. Direct free kick taken by Nyron Nosworthy.
    • 72:35 Lorik Cana takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the bar.
    • 72:02 Free kick awarded for a foul by Stiliyan Petrov on Kenwyne Jones. Nyron Nosworthy takes the free kick.
    • 70:47 Substitution Lee Cattermole replaces Jordan Henderson.
    • 69:35 Andy Reid takes the inswinging corner, save by Brad Friedel.
    • 69:27 Andy Reid delivers the ball, clearance made by Stephen Warnock.
    • 68:26 Ashley Young crosses the ball, clearance by Nyron Nosworthy.
    • 67:41 Booking James Milner receives a yellow card.
    • 67:29 Foul by James Milner on George McCartney, free kick awarded. Andy Reid restarts play with the free kick.
    • 65:01 The ball is crossed by George McCartney, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
    • 63:45 A cross is delivered by Andy Reid, Close range header by Kenwyne Jones goes over the bar.
    • 62:02 Unfair challenge on Kieran Richardson by Emile Heskey results in a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Andy Reid from left channel, clearance made by James Milner.
    • 61:42 Free kick awarded for a foul by James Milner on Kieran Richardson. Free kick taken by Paulo Da Silva.
    • 60:20 GOAL - James MilnerSunderland 0 - 2 Aston Villa James Milner finds the back of the net with a goal from outside the area to the top right corner of the goal. Sunderland 0-2 Aston Villa.
    • 59:24 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Young by Kieran Richardson. Direct free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
    • 58:02 Andy Reid takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Stiliyan Petrov manages to make a clearance.
    • 57:07 Free kick awarded for a foul by Richard Dunne on Darren Bent. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Andy Reid from left wing, clearance by Stiliyan Petrov.
    • 56:37 Shot by Ashley Young from inside the penalty area bounces off the post.
    • 55:20 Luke Young is penalised for a handball. Andy Reid crosses the ball, Paulo Da Silva takes a shot. Richard Dunne gets a block in.
    • 53:32 Stephen Warnock sends in a cross, Effort on goal by Emile Heskey from just inside the area clears the bar.
    • 52:56 Centre by Ashley Young, clearance by George McCartney.
    • 51:08 Andy Reid concedes a free kick for a foul on Ashley Young. Free kick crossed left-footed by Stewart Downing, Lorik Cana makes a clearance.
    • 50:37 Centre by George McCartney, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
    • 48:16 Andy Reid produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 47:35 The ball is sent over by Stewart Downing, Nyron Nosworthy makes a clearance.
    • 47:06 Unfair challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor by Paulo Da Silva results in a free kick. Free kick taken by James Milner.
    • 45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+2:18 The match has reached half-time.
    • 44:54 Foul by Darren Bent on Stiliyan Petrov, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed by Ashley Young, save by Marton Fulop.
    • 43:56 Unfair challenge on Emile Heskey by Lorik Cana results in a free kick. Free kick taken by James Milner.
    • 43:30 Shot from just outside the box by Jordan Henderson goes over the crossbar.
    • 43:03 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on George McCartney by Stewart Downing. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Andy Reid, clearance made by Luke Young.
    • 41:13 Kieran Richardson has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 41:03 Andy Reid sends in a cross, clearance by Richard Dunne.
    • 39:25 A cross is delivered by Andy Reid.
    • 39:01 Stiliyan Petrov takes a shot. Save by Marton Fulop.
    • 36:38 Unfair challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor by Michael Turner results in a free kick. Richard Dunne takes the free kick.
    • 36:05 Centre by Jordan Henderson, Effort on goal by Andy Reid from 12 yards. Save by Brad Friedel.
    • 34:54 The ball is crossed by George McCartney, Effort from deep inside the area by Kenwyne Jones misses to the left of the target.
    • Correction - 33:28 Stiliyan Petrov concedes a free kick for a foul on Kenwyne Jones. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Andy Reid from left channel.
    • 33:28 Foul by Stiliyan Petrov on Kenwyne Jones, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Andy Reid.
    • 32:27 Kieran Richardson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov. Free kick taken by Richard Dunne.
    • 31:51 Shot by Darren Bent. Kenwyne Jones gets a block in.
    • 31:22 Effort on goal by Kieran Richardson from 18 yards. Stephen Warnock makes a clearance.
    • 31:05 Centre by Jordan Henderson.
    • 30:13 Free kick awarded for a foul by Richard Dunne on Kenwyne Jones. Andy Reid takes the free kick.
    • 29:13 Free kick awarded for a foul by Emile Heskey on Lorik Cana. Free kick taken by Lorik Cana.
    • 28:41 Ashley Young takes a shot from long range which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
    • 28:04 A cross is delivered by Ashley Young.
    • 23:37 Assist on the goal came from James Milner.
    • 23:37 GOAL - Emile HeskeySunderland 0 - 1 Aston Villa Goal scored by Emile Heskey from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Sunderland 0-1 Aston Villa.
    • 21:55 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Andy Reid, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
    • 19:28 The ball is swung over by Kieran Richardson, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
    • 18:31 Jordan Henderson fouled by Ashley Young, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Marton Fulop.
    • 16:01 Foul by Kieran Richardson on Stiliyan Petrov, free kick awarded. Stiliyan Petrov restarts play with the free kick.
    • 15:29 Stephen Warnock has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
    • 13:58 Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Stewart Downing,
    • 13:58 Booking George McCartney booked.
    • 13:46 Foul by George McCartney on Emile Heskey, free kick awarded.
    • 13:31 The ball is swung over by Darren Bent, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
    • 12:09 Booking Booking for Lorik Cana for unsporting behaviour.
    • 11:57 Lorik Cana concedes a free kick for a foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor. Direct free kick taken by Richard Dunne.
    • 11:15 Lorik Cana gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor. James Milner restarts play with the free kick.
    • 11:03 Kieran Richardson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov. Free kick taken by Stiliyan Petrov.
    • 7:49 Shot from outside the penalty box by Jordan Henderson goes wide right of the goal.
    • 6:07 Kieran Richardson concedes a free kick for a foul on James Milner. Direct free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
    • 5:29 Corner taken by Andy Reid, Carlos Cuellar makes a clearance.
    • 4:10 Stephen Warnock produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • 4:01 Stewart Downing delivers the ball, Nyron Nosworthy gets a block in.
    • 3:40 Jordan Henderson concedes a free kick for a foul on Stephen Warnock. Free kick taken by Richard Dunne.
    • 1:38 Andy Reid takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post.
    • 0:00 The match has kicked off.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League results

    15 Dec 2009 23:59 UK


    Premier League table

    Tuesday, 15 December 2009 22:02 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    Full Premier League table
    1 Chelsea 16 27 37
    2 Man Utd 17 23 37
    3 Aston Villa 17 14 32
    4 Arsenal 15 21 31
    5 Tottenham 16 13 27
    6 Birmingham 17 1 27
    7 Man City 15 8 26
    8 Liverpool 16 10 24
    9 Fulham 16 3 23
    10 Sunderland 17 -2 21
    11 Stoke 16 -4 21
    12 Blackburn 17 -13 19
    13 Burnley 16 -14 18
    14 Wigan 16 -17 18
    15 Everton 16 -8 17
    16 Hull 17 -17 17
    17 Bolton 16 -10 16
    18 Wolves 17 -16 16
    19 West Ham 17 -9 14
    20 Portsmouth 16 -10 11

    see also
    In-form Villa 'must stay focused'
    15 Dec 09 |  Premier League
    Tuesday football as it happened
    15 Dec 09 |  Football
    Tuesday's football photos
    15 Dec 09 |  Football



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