Sessegnon snatches a point for Sunderland

Sunderland 2 Aston Villa 2

Stephane Sessegnon snatched a point for Sunderland in a storming finish at the Stadium of Light which completely eclipsed the much-publicised return of Darren Bent.

Benin international Sessegnon stooped to nod home a Sebastian Larsson free-kick with one minute left 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 Stilyan 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 keeper Kieran Westwood.

It had been clear from the pre-match warm-up that Bent was set for a torrid afternoon on Wearside after his controversial move to Villa in January.

And the striker was a virtual passenger in much of the early action with the main threat coming from Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson, who fired a pair of dangerous free-kicks.

Bent got the chance he had been waiting for in the 16th minute when Emile Heskey's cross found the striker at the far post but he prodded wide under pressure from Keiran Richardson.

And Villa snatched the lead in stunning fashion in the 20th minute when Petrov was fed by Alan Hutton and lashed a stunning shot for only his sixth goal in 167 Villa appearances.

Sunderland came close to grabbing an equaliser within two minutes, when Bendtner found the head of Turner in front of goal but the defender headed inches over.

And they fashioned another chance in the 27th minute when Wickham headed goalwards in a crowded box but Stephen Warnock headed clear with keeper Shay Given stranded.

The home side snatched their equaliser in the 38th minute when Sessegnon turned Hutton and fed Wickham, who drove home a fine left-foot shot from 10 yards.

The Black Cats defence was still giving cause for concern and they had a mighty let-off in the 42nd minute when Petrov's free-kick trickled unchallenged across the face of goal.

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 enjoyed their best spell of the game with James Collins twice forced to clear from dangerous positions, and Bendtner heading just over on the hour.

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.

Larsson came close in the 70th minute after Chris Herd fouled Bendtner on the edge of the box and the midfielder's curling free-kick was well saved by Given.

And moments later Bent almost caught Sunderland out at the other end when he charged onto Herd's long ball before being pulled back for fouling Wes Brown as he wriggled clear.

As the game exploded into life, Westwood had his moment of glory when he got down to deny Bent from close-range after the striker had been put through by Gabriel Agbonlahor.

But Villa snatched back 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.

Just when it seemed Villa had done enough to snatch the points, the home side roared back and Sessegnon headed home an 89th-minute equaliser from Larsson's free-kick.

PA

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas