Aston Villa 2-2 Black Cats
The point apiece would have made manager Dick Advocaat a lot happier than his counterpart Tim Sherwood who saw his side have the lion's share of possession and the best chances to win the game outright.
But the Black Cats were showing enough improvement to show that all the fears of certain relegation could have been a little premature, they are far from the finished product at the moment, but they are getting better.
Sunderland's biggest problem was evident at the end of this game, they just can't defend and that means the attack has to work overtime to make up for the rearguards failings. Unless something is done about their back line soon, you won't seriously expect to see a great deal of entries in the clean sheet column.
The Black Cats took the lead in this game through a great free kick from Yann M'Vila, he curled the ball around Villa's wall and gave goalkeeper Brad Guzan no chance of reaching it.
But there was barely a chance to celebrate because Villa equalised just three minutes later when Lee Cattermole was adjudged to have infringed Sinclair and the ref pointed to the spot. Sinclair took the kick himself and sent Pantilimon the wrong way.
The crowd were now behind the home side and they could have increased their lead but this time Sinclair could not keep his effort from the edge of the box on target and Sunderland breathed a sigh of relief.
Sanchez also put an effort over the crossbar when Bacuna's cross somehow found it's way to the Columbian.
But Villa took the lead a few minutes before the half-time break when that man Sinclair met a cross from Gueye and the Sunderland defence watched as he scored his second from inside the six yard box.
In the second half, Advocaat had swapped the services of Graham and Cattermole with Fletcher and new signing Toivonen, and Sunderland looked to be more of a force to reckon with.
Guzan had to be on form to turn over a header from Fletcher, then the other sub Toivonen, found Lens who fired in a shot out of the reach of Guzan.
Sinclair missed another chance when an awkward ball bounced of him and went to Pantilimon.
Then Kaboul had a heart stopping moment when he looked to have helped Gil to the ground in the penalty area but the referee saw it as a dive and booked the Villa man.