Phil Bardsley

Flashback: Bardsley hits winner

by Stuart Vose

Defender wins it at Villa Park in 2011.

Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 1

5th January 2011

Former Villa man Phil Bardsley scored the only goal as Sunderland ran out 1-0 winners in the Midlands.

Both sides had a man sent off in a tempestuous clash but it was Steve Bruce’s Black Cats who prevailed in the end.

The opening stages were cagey but the game opened up with chances at both ends before Sunderland were forced into a change as David Meyler buckled and was stretchered off.

Emile Heskey hit the bar and then headed off-target before half time, but Sunderland hit back when Steed Malbranque just cleared the crossbar with a powerful drive after the restart.

Sunderland gradually took a grip on proceedings, with James Collins hurriedly clearing a Darren Bent effort off the line before Malbranque threatened again with a half-volley after Jordan Henderson’s cross was partially cleared.

Craig Gordon had been the quieter of the two keepers but the Scot pulled off a good save to deny Ashley Young before a moment of madness from Heskey swung the game decisively in Sunderland’s favour.

The striker clearly pushed Henderson in the face right under the nose of referee Peter Walton, who promptly produced a red card.

Sub Asamoah Gyan came close to opening the scoring, but the crowd sensed a goal was coming and it duly arrived 10 minutes to go.

Defender Bardsley received the ball after Bolo Zenden’s free-kick was deflected out to him, and wasted no time in arrowing a drive past Brad Friedel from 20 yards.

Bardsley’s first league goal for the club was enough for Sunderland, who eased home despite Zenden receiving his marching orders for a second bookable offence late on.

And there was almost time for a second goal when Gyan broke through, but the Ghanaian shot wide when one-on-one.

Sunderland: Gordon, Bardsley, Richardson, Bramble, Ferdinand, Malbranque (Gyan, 55), Henderson, Meyler (Zenden, 39), Elmohamady, Bent, Welbeck (Riveros, 84).

Subs not used: Da Silva, Adams, Angeleri, Mignolet.