Brown happy to be back
Published 02/12/2013 | 08:36
Wes Brown was happy to be able to play his part in Sunderland's goalless draw at Aston Villa having seen his controversial red card at Stoke rescinded upon appeal.
Brown was harshly given his marching orders in last weekend's 2-0 defeat at the Britannia Stadium when his sliding tackle on Charlie Adam was deemed worthy of a straight red by referee Kevin Friend.
Sunderland appealed against the decision, as well as the three-match ban that would have gone with it, and the Football Association duly confirmed that the sending-off had been overturned.
That cleared the way for centre-back Brown to line up on Saturday at Villa Park, where he helped Sunderland keep a clean sheet and climb off the foot of the Barclays Premier League table with only their second away point of the season.
Speaking about an eventful past 10 days, Brown said: "They looked at it and it has been rescinded so I'm all happy now and we can move on.
"Obviously, I didn't think it was a sending-off. I've watched it a few times now and I still think I won the ball and my two feet were on the floor.
"But it was a decision and the referee has either not seen it or seen it late and we have to get on with it now."
Brown and central defensive partner John O'Shea kept Villa striker Christian Benteke quiet all afternoon as his goal drought stretched into a seventh successive game.
Since returning from a month on the sidelines with a hip injury, the Belgium international has looked a shadow of the player who scored five goals in his first five games of this season to add to the 23 he bagged last term.
An uninspiring performance against the Black Cats ended when Benteke was substituted before full-time, to a murmur of ironic cheers from the home faithful.
But Villa boss Paul Lambert has backed his prized asset to come good.
"Everyone goes through spells when they find it hard," the Scot said.
"That's tough, then you make a decision do you bring him off, or you don't start him. But you're doing it for the benefit of him as well.
"He'll come through it, honestly. You can never guarantee anybody anything. But, as a footballer, he'll definitely come through it."
And fellow Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor has also backed Benteke to turn around his form sooner rather than later.
"I've been through it before when I've played as a striker," he said.
"You go through these spells when you feel like everyone's on your back, the goals don't come. But Christian's a quality player, he's got a big, strong personality and the goals will come.
"It's down to us as a team to keep creating the chances for him."