Bardsley sends Villa into the dropzone

Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 1

Aston Villa dropped into the bottom three of the Barclays Premier League for the first time in seven years as their former loan signing Phil Bardsley earned Sunderland victory at Villa Park.

Gerard Houllier's side slipped into the relegation zone on goal difference as a result of Wolves' shock victory over champions Chelsea at Molineux.

Villa had striker Emile Heskey sent off for violent conduct before Bardsley's decider and then Black Cats substitute Boudewijn Zenden was given his marching orders for two bookable offences.

A small section of Villa fans chanted "you are going to get sacked in the morning" towards Houllier after Bardsley had broken the deadlock.

But the calls for Houllier to go were more intensified at the final whistle.

The last time Villa were in such a lowly position was in November 2003 during David O'Leary's reign as manager.

But Sunderland's second away win of the campaign keeps them on course for a European spot.

The first chance fell to Sunderland midfielder Steed Malbranque after Carlos Cuellar failed to make contact with a deep cross from Bardsley.

But Malbranque failed to test Brad Friedel with his header which drifted a couple of yards wide.

Kieran Richardson became the first player to be yellow carded after five minutes when he brought down Villa striker Emile Heskey in full flight.

Villa started to exert some pressure and Sunderland keeper Craig Gordon did well to finger-tip away a Stewart Downing free-kick under pressure.

A fine pass from Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov allowed Nigel Reo-Coker a run at goal but he was halted by Malbranque's challenge.

Reo-Coker then played in Ashley Young but his first touch was not the best and Craig Gordon was able to collect.

Bardsley produced a fine tackle inside his own box to deny Heskey after he had made a powerful run.

Ciaran Clark became the first Villa player to be yellow carded after 29 minutes for a reckless challenge on Jordan Henderson.

Clark's mistimed pass then almost proved costly as it was seized upon by David Meyler but Darren Bent was unable to make the most of his pass.

Sunderland were forced into a change after 38 minutes when Meyler pulled up suddenly, slumped to the ground and had to be stretchered off and he was replaced by Zenden.

Heskey, who played under Bruce at Birmingham and Wigan, was guilty of a glaring miss five minutes before half-time.

Downing did well to get to the by-line and shake of Zenden's challenge before sending a low ball across the box.

Heskey seemed certain to score but, from three yards out, he shot against the crossbar.

Sunderland skipper Titus Bramble was booked for holding back Heskey and the Villa striker then headed wide from Young's cross when well placed.

James Collins was booked in injury-time for a challenge on Danny Welbeck.

There was a quiet start to the second period but Malbranque could have broken the deadlock after 50 minutes.

Collins' clearing header lacked conviction and was nodded back down by Bent to Malbranque who volleyed over from eight yards out.

Collins came to the rescue in atoning for his own error three minutes later. He was shaken off the ball by Bent who went around Friedel but Collins recovered to block his shot on the line.

Sunderland were now in the ascendancy and Cuellar diverted a goalbound shot from Malbranque around the post.

But Sunderland were the more threatening and Friedel got his body behind Welbeck's stinging low drive.

Zenden was yellow carded for bringing down the powerful Heskey but Villa were reduced to 10 men after 68 minutes when Heskey was sent off.

Henderson appeared upset Heskey did not put the ball out of play so Asamoah Gyan could have treatment.

He responded by shoving Henderson in the face and was given his marching orders by referee Peter Walton.

With 10 minutes left Bardsley broke the deadlock with a low 25-yard drive after Zenden's free-kick had been blocked.

Welbeck was stretchered off after 83 minutes and replaced by Cristian Riveros.

Zenden was also sent off for a second bookable offence when he fouled Stiliyan Petrov two minutes later.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition