The initial phase of the game saw Sunderland playing a lot of long-ball football, a potential sign of things to come from the away outfit.
Albert Adomah gave Aston Villa the lead in the ninth minute after Snodgrass found himself with the ball in the right hand-side of the Sunderland box, playing a floated ball to the far post where it found Adomah unmarked at the far post. The winger finished simply and added to his already wealthy tally for this season.
Much of the football following the goal was Sunderland’s with them using their wing talent to attack the likes of Alan Hutton and Neil Taylor.
Villa looked to be winning unconvincingly for much of the first half an hour, with the side struggling to string together successful, or rather usefull passes – much to the crowd’s discontent.
Robert Snodgrass came close to making it two in the thirty-second minute after his fleet footwork saw him one on one with the keeper – who despite his evident lack of confidence – managed to save it.
Hutton produced a bit of magic with a wonderful 360 spin to round a defender, with Football Editor at the Birmingham Mail joking on twitter: “Alan Hutton has just produced a remarkable 360 spin. Somewhere in Rio right now, the real Cafu is wearing a yellow jumper emblazoned with the words ‘The Brazilian Hutton'”
Villa went in at half time 1-0 up, but seemed to lack a bit of creativity in the final forward and struggled to actually break the Sunderland defence down.
Josh Onomah opened the scoring in the second half with a long range shot which looked to take a deflection off a Sunderland defender and loop over the keeper in the Sunderland net. Villa looked to be more in control in the second half, and Onomah’s third goal of the season put them two ahead.
After this point, there was not much to talk about – both sides had attacks against the opposition, but none of them came to anything. Around the 66th minute, Mile Jedinak replaced Glenn Whelan who had been having a decent game.
Grabban managed to grab an equaliser for Sunderland from around six yards out around ten minutes later, causing a nervy finish to the game. Moments later, local-boy Jack Grealish came on for forward Keinan Davis.
With five minutes to go, Ahmed Elmohamady came into play, replacing goalscorer Adomah as Bruce attempted to sure up the three points.
Villa managed to hold on for the three points, seeing themselves into fourth, for the time being, and six points from top.