Jermain Defoe grabbed a double as Sunderland ended a run of five consecutive defeats to beat Aston Villa 3-1 at the Stadium of Light – a result which piles more pressure on Remi Garde’s side.
A rather fortuitous first-half strike by Patrick van Aanholt from all of 25 yards put the hosts ahead but Villa fought back in the second period and a stunning goal by Carles Gil on 63 minutes looked like it would salvage a point for the visitors.
However, Defoe had other thoughts as he took advantage of some poor defending from Joleon Lescott to restore the lead for Sam Allardyce’s side on 73 minutes.
Aston Villa threw men forward as they pushed for a leveller in the closing stages but it was Sunderland – and Defoe – celebrating as they extended their lead in stoppage time.
The victory moves Sunderland to 15 points, four behind 17th placed Swansea. Meanwhile, the doomed Villains remain on eight points and are now a hefty 11 points from safety.