Date: 15th December 2007 at 6:05pm
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Martin O’Neill was left scratching his head after the 1-1 draw away at Sunderland as Villa enjoyed the lions share of possession but not the clinical finishing touch so desperately needed.

The Villa boss told the official site:

‘We dominated the game almost from start to finish. We’ve played almost like the home side and I couldn’t be more pleased with everything about the side. We gave away a very bad goal from our viewpoint and that put us on the back foot. But from then on in, we got possession, kept the ball, manoeuvred it brilliantly. We won it back when we lost it. In terms of a performance, we’ve won at Birmingham, Middlesbrough and Blackburn and I’m not so sure we had the total dominance in those games as we had today.’

And on the super sub Shaun Maloney who spared Villa’s blushes scoring the equaliser from a peach of a free kick O’Neill added, ‘Shaun’s free-kick was magnificent, absolutely magnificent. Funnily enough in training the other day he produced a piece of magic from a free-kick. But you have to do it on the big stage and I think he’s produced a wonderful strike today.’

‘Magnificent’? What happened to ‘terrific’ or is that last months word of choice!

Roy Keane reacted angrily after he saw a late goal disallowed by the ref.

The Black Cats told the safc.com

“It was a good header and a goal, I don’t know why the referee has disallowed it. I don’t know what it’s for, I’m sure he’ll come up with something. It’s frustrating, I don’t think I will cool down until Tuesday or Wednesday. The players and supporters deserve better. I always try to be fair to referees but I don’t know why he has given the foul.”

Adding, “I spoke to Mark Hughes five or six weeks ago about referees and I said that I’d been OK with them. He said, ‘That’ll change’. He was spot on.”