By Dan Harrison
Villa were held to a draw by Sunderland after Durrell Berry's bullet first-half effort was cancelled out by Jordan Cook.
In their first outing at Villa Park this season, the claret and blues dominated the early stages of this Barclays Premier Reserve League contest and took the lead through substitute Berry's first goal at this level.
But a second-half revival from the Black Cats meant Kevin MacDonald's team were unable to make it three consecutive wins.
In-form striker James Collins Jr was a livewire for Villa and was at the heart of his team's best attacks - including Berry's 22nd minute strike.
Firstly the forward tested Craig Gordon with a 30-yard effort, before forcing the Scotland international keeper to tip a low left-foot drive around the post.
It was the persistence of Collins Jr that led to Berry's thumping strike.
He made an intelligent run down the left flank and cut back into the path of Berry.
The full-back, who replaced the injured Nathan Baker 17 minutes earlier, hammered home a shot across goal which Gordon could do nothing about.
The impressive Berry also fashioned a good opening for Arsenio Halfhuid, who could not keep his header down.
Villa looked to capitalise on their first-half dominance and Isaiah Osbourne was unlucky to see his 25-yard drive cannon off the post.
But while the hosts bossed proceedings before the break, Sunderland were the brighter outfit in the second-half.
Cook sprung the offside trap and fired wide from an angle, before playing in Northern Ireland striker David Healy, who couldn't beat Elliot Parish with an audacious chip.
Sunderland midfielder Cook was the most threatening player for the visitors, although he had to rely on a slice of luck to bag the equaliser.
He moved into the box from the left wing and struck a close-range effort which deflected in at the near post off Daniel Devine.
Halfhuid leapt high to head a Samir Carruthers cross just over as Villa searched for a late winner but MacDonald's men had to settle for a draw.
VILLA: Parish; Lichaj, Baker, Devine, Lowry; Carruthers, Osbourne, Salifou, Hogg; Collins Jr, Halfhuid. Subs: Jenkins, Siegrist, Johnson (for Osbourne, 61), Deeney (for Halfhuid, 75), Berry (for Baker, 5).
SUNDERLAND: Gordon, Angeleri, Adams, Weir, Kay, Madden, Cook, Colback, Healy, Noble, Luscombe. Subs: N Wilson (for Healy, 69), B Wilson, Lynch, Bagnall. Laing.