Sessegnon snatches late point
Striker comes to Black Cats' rescue with late effort
Last Updated: 29/10/11 6:23pm
Stephane Sessegnon: Congratulated by Michael Turner after rescuing a point for Sunderland
A late Stephane Sessegnon effort ensured Sunderland rescued a point in a dramatic 2-2 draw against Aston Villa.
It was not to be a dream return for Darren Bent to the Stadium of Light as the Beninese striker was allowed plenty of time to head home Seb Larsson's devilish delivery a minute from time after Villa defender Richard Dunne thought he had sealed the club's first away win of the season with a header of his own.
The visitors broke the deadlock thanks to Stiliyan Petrov's wonder strike. The Villa skipper picked up Alan Hutton's pass before firing his left-foot curler into the top corner.
But the Black Cats fought their way back into the game and after Connor Wickham's header was cleared off the line by Stephen Warnock, the 18-year-old soon made up for his miss when he clinically dispatched Sessegnon's through ball past Shay Given seven minutes before the break.
Bent, who was booed throughout on his first return to Wearside since his January move south, blew his big chance in the 70th minute when he shot straight at substitute keeper Keiren Westwood.
It had been clear from the pre-match warm-up that Bent was set for a torrid afternoon on Wearside after his controversial move to Villa in January.
And the striker was a virtual passenger in much of the early action with the main threat coming from Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson, who fired a pair of dangerous free-kicks.
Bent got the chance he had been waiting for in the 16th minute when Emile Heskey's cross found the striker at the far post but he prodded wide under pressure from Kieran Richardson.
And Villa snatched the lead in stunning fashion in the 20th minute when Petrov was fed by Alan Hutton and lashed a stunning shot for only his sixth goal in 167 Villa appearances.
Sunderland came close to grabbing an equaliser within two minutes, when Bendtner found the head of Turner in front of goal but the defender headed inches over.
And they fashioned another chance in the 27th minute when Wickham headed goalwards in a crowded box but Stephen Warnock headed clear with keeper Shay Given stranded.
The home side snatched their equaliser in the 38th minute when Sessegnon turned Hutton and fed Wickham, who drove home a fine left-foot shot from 10 yards.
However, the goal proved slightly controversial as Charles N'Zogbia claimed he was felled in the build-up with David Vaughan's arms seemingly all over him.
The Black Cats defence was still giving cause for concern and they had a mighty let-off in the 42nd minute when Petrov's free-kick trickled unchallenged across the face of goal.
Westwood got his first taste of Premier League action five minutes into the second half when Mignolet appeared to suffer a broken nose in the course of flapping away a Petrov corner.
The home side enjoyed their best spell of the game with James Collins twice forced to clear from dangerous positions, and Bendtner heading just over on the hour.
The home side had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Chris Foy in the 63rd minute when Bendtner met Larsson's cross from the right with a header which struck Hutton at close-range.
Larsson came close in the 70th minute after Chris Herd fouled Bendtner on the edge of the box and the midfielder's curling free-kick was well saved by Given.
And moments later Bent almost caught Sunderland out at the other end when he charged onto Herd's long ball before being pulled back for fouling Wes Brown as he wriggled clear.
As the game exploded into life, Westwood had his moment of glory when he got down to deny Bent from close-range after the striker had been put through by Gabriel Agbonlahor.
But Villa snatched back the lead in the 84th minute when Petrov lofted a free-kick from the left side of the box and Dunne climbed to head home.
Just when it seemed Villa had done enough to snatch the points, the home side roared back and Sessegnon headed home an 89th-minute equaliser from Larsson's free-kick.
|Sunderland||Team Statistics||Aston Villa|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||3|
|5||Shots off Target||6|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||29||31|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||29||28|