Chris Coleman’s Sunderland rescue mission began with defeat as the Black Cats went down 2-1 at Aston Villa.

Albert Adomah and Joshua Onomah struck for Villa to condemn Coleman to defeat after he quit the Wales job to try to save Sunderland.

Lewis Grabban’s 10th goal of the season was only a consolation for the Black Cats and defeat kept them rooted to the bottom of the Sky Bet Championship, four points from the safety line.

They have won just once this season and have lost half of their games with successive relegations a real possibility.

In contrast, in-form Villa moved up to fourth and are now just five points adrift of the top two after back-to-back wins.

Appointing Coleman as boss was seen as a coup for the Black Cats and they offered signs of life, even if they failed to recover from Adomah’s controversial opener just 10 minutes in.

Sunderland thought they should have had a free-kick when Aiden McGeady went down but the hosts broke and Adomah – who scored twice in Saturday’s 2-1 victory at QPR – converted Robert Snodgrass’ far-post cross.

Coleman was left raging to the fourth official but slowly the Black Cats regained their composure and McGeady fired wide but the visitors lacked the speed and ideas to really hurt Villa.

Grabban worked hard and offered a ray of hope for Coleman but was often too isolated to make a difference.

And, without that killer instinct, Sunderland should have fallen further behind on 32 minutes but goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter denied Snodgrass when he bundled his way through.

But Villa did double their lead four minutes after the break when Onomah scored his third goal of the season, his 25-yard effort deflecting off Tyias Browning and looping in.

It looked like Villa would cruise to the finish in a game of few chances but Sunderland pulled a goal back with 18 minutes left when Grabban hooked in before the hosts hung on.