Aston Villa edged closer to Barclays Premier League safety as they denied former manager Martin O'Neill a winning return in the home clash with Sunderland.
O'Neill was greeted with boos from Villa fans, despite three top-six finishes with the midlands club, after walking out on the club on the eve of last season.
Alex McLeish's side deserved their 15th draw of the campaign and former Villa midfielder Craig Gardner was sent off in stoppage time for his second bookable offence.
Villa, who included six academy products in their line-up, enjoyed the better of the possession for lengthy spells despite having to reorganise after injuries to James Collins and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
But they lacked a cutting edge in front of goal despite the efforts of 20-year-old Andreas Weimann to unsettle the Black Cats back four.
It was Sunderland who created the better opportunities particularly in the second half when Villa appeared to tire and Stephane Sessegnon was a threat.
But poor finishing and some whole-hearted defending by the Villa back four kept them at bay.
Villa began promisingly and came close to taking the lead inside the first 60 seconds.
Agbonlahor charged down a clearance from Simon Mignolet from Phil Bardsley's back pass.
Weimann was first to react to the rebound and Mignolet turned aside his chip shot.
Agbonlahor, without a goal in 18 Premier League games, looked lively and his goal-bound shot struck Matthew Kilgallon and flew over his own crossbar.