Last Updated: 29/10/11 5:33pm
FULL TIME: A frantic conclusion at the Stadium of Light after Richard Dunne had restored Villa's lead with five minutes remaining but Stephane Sessegnon was allowed plenty of time to head home from close-range to rescue a point. It wasn't to be a dream return for striker Darren Bent. Stiliyan Petrov opened the scoring before Connor Wickham's leveller just before the break. Superb entertainment!
They've done it again! Sunderland find the equaliser as Seb Larsson's cross is headed home by Sessegnon from six yards. The marking was simply awful by Villa.
Villa were awarded a free-kick after that clash and Petrov's superb delivery is glanced into the back of the net by the big defender. Such a simple finish!
A final throw of the dice by Bruce you could say but Villa are showing excellent fitness in these closing stages of the game.
Stiliyan Petrov's right-foot curler is a poor one and fails to find a fellow Villa player in the box.
Wickham uses his power and pace to make a fine block just as Hutton was ready to deliver from the right.
Warnock finds the run of Bent and the full-back gets another chance to pick out the striker, but he overcooks his cross.
Some neat football by Sunderland in the middle of the park until Jack Colback gives away possession.
Villa first-team coach Kevin MacDonald was sent-off by referee Chris Foy moments before Ben't chance by the way for complaining to vigorously to the fourth official.
Great save! Chance for Bent but substitute kepper Keiren Westwood makes a superb stop to deny him a certain goal.
Dave says: "Why does McLesh play Heskey in midfield when he has Steven Ireland, Fabian Delph and Barry Bannan, the best Xmas present any Villa fan could get would be for McLesh and Lerner to go."
Sunderland win a free-kick in a dangerous area, just outside the box to the angle and Seb Larsson is behind this.
Suraj is also anti-McLeish: "Totally agree with Matt's comments regarding Heskey in midfield. I'd rather have Pires again!McLeish seems to be unsackable, hated by the fans from day one, no change in opinion even when he loses. Wake up Randy."
Meanwhile, Lauren says: "Hopefully Connor Wickham can score a few more goals and show all the fans what talent he has to persue in the future at Sunderland."
Keren, a Black Cats fans says: "Hi Raz. Did Darren Bent really expect a warm welcome at Sunderland when he was thought so much of and supported wholeheartedly by the fans only he to just walk away. Loyalty works both ways and has to be earned!"
Larsson is given time to launch an inswinging ball into the box but Nicklas Bendtner can only flick his header over the crossbar.
Seb Larsson gives away a corner but Petrov's delivery is poor and Sunderland break through Wickham. Herd eventually makes a fine challenge on Vaughan.
Now the hosts win a corner at the other end and Michael Turner is given all sorts of time in the six yard box but he heads over the crossbar.
Charles N'Zogbia is a box of tricks at the moment as he goes to ground in the box but the referee awards Seb Larsson the decision and the Frenchman is disgusted with Chris Foy.
Matt has some strong words for Alex McLeish: "Well, McLeish is as predictable as ever with his dire tactics and selection. We are never gonna win any game or retain any chance of holding a lead in any game if McCleish insists in starting Heskey in midfield. I have no idea what, if anything, he is thinking. I dont think McLeish knows what he is doing, Really, I don't and I fear the worst."
Westwood came to the Stadium of Light with a fine reputation as Sessegnon looks to utilise his pace down the left.
SUBSTITUTION: Simon Mignolet looks as though he has broken his nose and is replaced by former Coventry City stopper Keiren Westwood.
Villa win a free-kick on halfway and James Collins swings it over for Herd and the visitors rather surprisingly win a corner.
Villa fan Callum says: "Hopefully Bent can score against his former club, and put these jeers to rest. He's a strong character, and has settled in well at the Villa."
So, Villa get the second half underway then. It's been very open until now, so let's hope it continues that way.
Don't forget, if you'd like to air your views, email Raz...that's me! at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll publish as many as I can.
HALF TIME: In an open first half, Villa broke the deadlock thanks to Stiliyan Petrov's wonderful left-foot curler from the edge of the area. 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 Stephane Sessegnon's through ball seven minutes before the break.
Alan Hutton's cross is headed out by Brown and Villa win a throw but Petrov fails to control the throw.
N'Zogbia makes life difficult for Larsson and now Agbonlahor jumps all over the Swede. There will be a minimum of two added minutes at the end of this half.
At the other end, Villa win a corner and Stiliyan Petrov's delivery is a beauty but James Collins fails to make a firm connection allowing Sunderland off the hook.
Wickham is everywhere at the moment as Villa defenders fall over themselves to tackle the youngster but he keeps his feet ok and sets up David Vaughan on the edge of the box, but he fails to keep his shot down.
Villa are feeling slightly aggrieved after N'Zogbia claimed he was felled in the build-up to that Sunderland goal with Vaughan's arms all over him.
The Black Cats find the equaliser thanks to the 18-year-old striker, who has impressed today and deserves his goal. Stephane Sessegnon's pass is perfect, allowing Wickham to lash his left-foot shot into the far corner.
Connor Wickham has been the shining light for the Black Cats this half as they look for him over the top but Villa pick up the loose pass and break. Charles N'Zogbia cuts inside and outside before seeing his deflected effort unfortunately end up the wrong side of goal for those visiting Villa fans.
Charles N'Zogbia picks out Emile Heskey in acres of space, but he fires his effort well over the crossbar. He could, maybe should have done better for Villa in that situation.
Warnock has been an ever present for Alex McLeish's boys after finding himself out in the cold under former boss Gerard Houllier.
Off the line! From the corner, Connor Wickham's header is cleared off the line by Stephen Warnock and Sunderland come so close to restoring parity.
Now it's Jack Colback's turn to have a pop at goal but Stiliyan Petrov throws himself at the ball and concedes a corner.
Villa assistant Peter Grant is having a word with Gabby Agbonlahor because it looks as though Chris Herd has got a slight knock.
Villa seem to be controlling the game now after that goal and the Black Cats must try and settle down after being hit on the counter-attack with that opening goal.
What a cracker! He did it against Everton a few weeks ago and he's at it again at the Stadium of Light to give Villa the lead. Alan Hutton tees up Petrov just outside the area and the Bulgarian fires his left-foot curler into the top corner.
Wickham does well down the left before pulling the ball back, but nobody anticipates his ball allowing Collins to smash clear.
Heskey and Jack Colback clash in the middle of the park but referee Chris Foy waves play on. That was like a heavyweight challenging a middleweight in midfield.
Great play from Gabby Agbonlahor down the left before teasing a low cross into the box which Darrent Bent is prevented from reaching by Wes Brown.
Villa win a throw now as Alan Hutton looks to find a player threw the sunshine. The visitors eventually get the ball across, but the hosts clear again.
Villa are almost playing a 4-2-4 formation with Emile Heskey and Charles N'Zogbia not really tracking back. This game could have a few goals if Villa continue to attack in this way.
Now Larsson bundles Emile Heskey over and Villa take it short for Charles N'Zogbia who swings over a find ball but nobody was attacking the ball in the six yard box and Sunderland are allowed to clear their lines.
Sebastian Larsson's inswinging delivery is a beauty, but John O'Shea fails to make a connection at the back post.
Its been a steady start to the game as Richard Dunne slams into the back of the talented Connor Wickham.
Stephane Sessegnon puts some pressure on James Collins, who has to clear his lines and Sunderland win a throw.
Now Agbonlahor is felled and Villa win a free-kick but Charles N'Zogbia's ball in to the box fails to clear the two man wall. Very poor from the winger.
Villa fan Steve has some strong words: "Boring, predictable. McCleish from Birmingham was not the problem. It's the type of manager we appointed who has no track record of attracting the sort of players needed to make us an attractive and outsde bet for the Championship. It shows our limited ambitions. Randy Lerner has appointed a safe manager whilst he assett strips and tries to sell. The sooner he goes the better."
The former Birmingham City star fires his effort on target, but Shay Given is well placed to catch the ball.
Stephane Sessegnon is tripped by Stiliyan Petrov and Sunderland have a free-kick a good 35-yards out from the angle.
Darren Bent is a good 10 meters away from Simon Mignolet's clearance, yet he is roundly booed by the home supporters.
The hosts win an early throw in the bright sunshine at the Stadium of Light. The pitch is also in excellent condition.
So, Sunderland, in their famous home shirts, get the game underway at the Stadium of Light. Villa are wearing their traditional claret and blue kit.
The teams are out and we're ready for kick-off. Don't forget, if you'd like to air your views during the match, email Raz...that's me! at email@example.com and I'll publish as many as I can.
Villa have Norwich at home, Tottenham and Swansea away before hosting Manchester United at home at the start of December.
Villa fan Dave says: "I think it's going to be another draw, I'm going for 1-1 Bent for Villa and no doubt ex Bluenose Larsson for the Mackems. We need to win with some tough fixtures against the big guns coming up otherwise we could find ourselves in trouble. Up the villa!"
Those fixtures being Fulham and Wigan at home, Wolves away before welcoming Blackburn to the Stadium of Light before the busy Christmas period.
Sunderland fan Jeff is keeping the faith: "Tight game today but I am predicting a 2-1 win for The Black Cats with goals from Bendtner and Wickham. The fans need to stay patient with the guys and I am convinced that we will win by the odd goal in three. After a tough game next against Man Utd, the lads have four winnable games that could rocket us up the table."
Sunderland are unchanged from the side who got their season back on track with victory at Bolton last week, with Connor Wickham keeping his place after impressing at the Reebok Stadium.
So, Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish makes a single change to the side beaten by West Brom last week, with Emile Heskey replacing Barry Bannan who has been suspended by the club during an internal investigation after the Scot was arrested on suspicion of drink driving last weekend.
SUNDERLAND: Mignolet, O'Shea, Brown, Turner, Richardson, Larsson, Colback, Vaughan, Sessegnon, Bendtner, Wickham. SUBS: Westwood, Bardsley, Cattermole, Gardner, Ji, Meyler, Elmohamady.
ASTON VILLA: Given, Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, N'Zogbia, Herd, Petrov, Agbonlahor, Heskey, Bent. SUBS: Guzan, Ireland, Albrighton, Delfouneso, Delph, Clark, Cuellar.
Jnotes is expecting a comfortable away win this afternoon, saying: "McLeish will want to be careful about the team he picks after those back to back losses. Villa to win 3-0. Bent to score twice and Agbonlahor."
Darren Bent has been predictably booed during the pre-match warm-up on his return to the North East since his acrimonious departure in January by the way!
So, are you Sunderland fans still unhappy with the job Steve Bruce has been doing at the Stadium of Light, or can you see light at the end of the tunnel? And what about you Villa fans, still unhappy with Alex McLeish at the helm after two defeats in succession? Let me know your views.
Speaking of odds, let have a look at the betting ahead of the game. Sunderland are 11/10 to claim victory with SKY BET, who make Aston Villa 5/2 and the draw 23/10. Villa's Darren Bent is favourite to score the first goal at 5/1 while Gabby Agbonlahor is 12/1 to bag a brace. Meanwhile, the Black Cats' Nicklas Bendtner is a 6/1 shot for the hosts while Sebastian Larsson is 12/1. I'm going for a pre-match prediction of 2-2, which is 14/1. Head now to www.skybet.com to place your bets.
Sunderland are bidding to win consecutive games for the first time in 26 outings while Villa have registered just one victory in their last seven Premier League games and have yet to win away from home this campaign. So, what are the odds on a draw today? Let me know your views fans.
If you'd like to air your views before or during the match, email Raz...that's me! at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll publish as many as I can.