A late goal from Phil Bardsley earned Ahmed Elmohamady’s Sunderland a 1-0 victory over 10-man Aston Villa in the Premier League on Wednesday.
Villa was unable to survive the Sunderland onslaught after having striker Emile Heskey dismissed for shoving Jordan Henderson in the face nine minutes past the hour mark.
Heskey also disappointed in the first half after wasting a golden opportunity to put his side in front, firing against the bar with the goal gaping.
Bardsley scored the precious winner in the 80th minute to give Sunderland their second consecutive league victory.
A free kick deflected into his path and he made no mistakes with a blistering long-range shot which went past Villa keeper Brad Friedel.
Sunderland also finished with ten men after Dutch midfielder Boudewijn Zenden was sent off five minutes from time for a second bookable offense.
In a break from his position in recent games, Elmohamady played on the right of Sunderland’s four-man midfield while Bardsley occupied the right-back position instead of the Egyptian international.
The Egyptian star was in doubt for the game after suffering from dizziness during the 3-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers last weekend, but he shrugged off the problem to play against Villa.
He was lively throughout the game, performing his trademark darting runs down the right and whipping in some fine crosses.
Elmohamady almost created his second Premier League goal in stoppage time when he released striker Asamoah Gyan with a deft long ball, but the Ghana frontman fired wide of the post with the goal at his mercy.
Sunderland are sixth in the table with 30 points, five behind the stuttering Chelsea, who appear unlikely to retain their league crown.