SUNDERLAND 1 ASTON VILLA 0
By Adam Marshall. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
YOUNG Frenchman David Bellion eased the pressure on manager Peter Reid with Sunderland's winner against Aston Villa.
The Black Cats were in dire need of three points after a poor performance against Newcastle last week, and Reid received a positive response to his open criticism of his players at St James' Park.
Reid made a number of changes to his side, including the axeing of skipper Michael Gray, and one of the players promoted to the team, Bellion, struck decisively on 69 minutes.
After being a threat all afternoon, the lively forward sped onto Julio Arca's pass to crack his shot past Peter Enckelman.
Villa had their chances, particularly in the first half, and Dion Dublin was inches away with one brave header.
Lee Hendrie also performed well, and posed problems for the home defence, but Sunderland held out to cheer their supporters.
Reid felt Kevin Kilbane, performing in a left back role, was man of the match as the Irishman won over some of his detractors with an energetic display.
Click here to hear Peter Reid's post match thoughts.