Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

Sessegnon grabs point for Mackems

Stephane Sessegnon

Stephane Sessegnon snatched a point for Sunderland in a storming finish to their 2-2 draw with Aston Villa which completely eclipsed the much-publicised return of Darren Bent.

Benin international Sessegnon stooped to nod home a Sebastian Larsson free-kick with a minute remaining after Richard Dunne had appeared to win it for Villa.

Dunne had risen highest to head the visitors back in front five minutes earlier after Connor Wickham had cancelled out Stiliyan Petrov's stunning 20th-minute opener.

Bent, who was booed throughout on his first return to Wearside since his January move south, had missed a fine chance in the 70th minute when he shot straight at substitute goalkeeper Kieran Westwood.

Bent headed wide in the 16th minute from Emile Heskey's cross but Villa took the lead four minutes later when Petrov was fed by Alan Hutton and lashed home a stunning shot for only his sixth goal in 167 Villa appearances.

Michael Turner headed inches over before Sunderland equalised in the 38th minute when Sessegnon turned Hutton and fed Wickham, who drove home a fine left-foot shot from 10 yards.

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 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.

As the game exploded into life, Westwood got down to deny Bent from close-range but Villa reclaimed 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.

However, the home side roared back and Sessegnon headed home an 89th-minute equaliser from Larsson's free-kick.