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5 November 2011
• Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee: K. Friend
• Attendance: 35290
D. Bent 30', 62'
G. Agbonlahor 48'
A. Pilkington 25'
S. Morison 77'
A breathless encounter at Villa Park but it's a crucial win for Villa who stayed strong at the end to deny Norwich another late draw. They might not be able to defend, City, but they certainly play their part in some entertaining matches
90' + 2'
FULL TIME! Villa have held on in dramatic fashion
Yellow CardGrant Holt
Cross after cross is being pumped in but the Villa defence is holding strong, a great ending to a great match here
There's a grandstand finish here with both sides looking to score again. Surely Norwich can't secure another equaliser?
Seconds after coming on, Stephen Ireland is turned inside-out by Holt who's great back-post cross is easily headed in by Morison
Yellow CardAnthony Pilkington
Jermaine Jenas comes on to make his first appearance for his new club in replace of Heskey who receives a great ovation as always. Norwich came from 3-1 down last week to salvage a draw but I cannot see it happening again
More horror defending from the visitors with Martin losing out in his area to begin with before Bent was allowed to steer home Agbonlahor's zipped cross completely unmarked from six yards out
Another chance for Villa but Barnett somewhat redeems himself, blocking Heskey's near-post flick
An absolute nightmare for Leon Barnett here who leaves a back-pass short allowing Agbonlahor to nip in ahead of Ruddy, who tried to kick the ball away, and stick it into the net
And we're off again at Villa Park
Half-time at Villa Park and it's one apiece here. The visitors took the lead from an Anthony Pilkington free-kick but Darren Bent scored his fourth of the season to draw his side level after great work from Gabby Agbonlahor down the left. A fast game has seen plenty of goal-mouth action. Both sides were involved in late drama last time out and there could easily be more of the same with both sides desperate to win
45' + 2'
Yellow CardLeon Barnett
45' + 2'
It's not been a dirty game today, certainly compared to last time here against West Brom, but there are two quick yellow cards for Crofts and Leon Barnett for stopping Villa attacks
Yellow CardAndrew Crofts
Andrew Crofts comes on to replace Bradley Johnson who is hobbling off
Yellow CardWesley Hoolahan
Yellow CardCharles N'Zogbia
Villa had responded well to going behind, with Agbonlahor skinning Martin on the wing and delivering a centre which Bent couldn't get on the end of. Minutes later and the same thing happened, but this time Bent got there alongside Tierney and managed to stick the ball into the net. Moments later another whipped ball, this time from N'Zogbia, just evades Bent again
A wonderful strike from the midfielder after Grant Holt had been brought down by Alan Hutton 20 yards out on the left. The strike went to the post where Given was standing but he could not get a hand to it as it flew past him into the top corner of the net. No more than Norwich deserve for their opening half an hour
He was booed last week by the Sunderland fans, but Darren Bent has missed a great chance to give his side the lead. Emile Heskey's flick-on was helped on again by Gabriel Agbonlahor over Russell Martin but by the time the ball had sat down for him to hit, John Ruddy was on top of him and managed to smother the shot
Norwich are still doing the pressing, although they are being assisted by Villa's indiscipline. Morison has seen another shot saved form a set-piece by Bradley Johnson.
Paul Lambert has his arms on his head after Shay Given is called into action twice to deny Pilkington and Elliot Bennett. This comes after Charles N'Zogbia and Chris Herd had both threatened for the hosts
A fast start by Norwich here, with Grant Holt causing a nuisance in the Villa area. Anthony Pilkington got down the left and fed Steve Morison in the box, but Richard Dunne got around well to block his goal-bound shot.
And we're under way at Villa Park!
Villa Park has filled up rapidly in past few minutes boosted by the great support coming from the Norwich fans who have all but filled their quota of tickets
Ed Balls and Delia Smith are both expected to be here today and to be honest they would both stick out in what is a very sparse crowd at Villa Park. Alex McLeish wrote in the match programme that he saw signs of progression at Sunderland last week, but it looks like he's still to totally convince the fans.
Villa are unchanged from their draw at Sunderland, whilst Paul Lambert has responded to his side’s inability to keep a clean sheet by adding another striker to the line-up. Grant Holt is brought in to play up-front in what is an attacking set-up for the Canaries. The biggest talking point for the home side is the inclusion of Jermaine Jenas on the bench and should the game be over towards the end, there is a good chance he will get a chance to make his debut. There is no place for Barry Bannan in the 18 after his recent troubles with the police.
NORWICH CITY (4-4-2): Ruddy; Naughton, Martin, Barnett, Tierney; Bennett, Johnson, Hoolahan, Pilkington; Morison, Holt Subs: Rudd, Crofts, Jackson, Surman, Fox, Wilbraham, De Laet
ASTON VILLA (4-2-3-1): Given; Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Warnock; Petrov, Herd; N'Zogbia, Heskey, Agbonlahor; Bent Subs: Jenas, Guzan, Ireland, Albrighton, Delph, Clark, Cuellar
Good afternoon from Villa Park! Norwich make the trip to the Midlands buoyed by their late escape against Blackburn Rovers last week and a point ahead of today’s opponents. The Canaries are flying and are currently in a great run of form having only lost once in their last six matches – a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford where they will feel they could have grabbed at least a point. So far, they are yet to keep a clean sheet this season, but their greatest strength is in attack where they have found the back of the net in all but two matches. Paul Lambert played under Alex McLeish at Motherwell, but the Villa manager said there is no room for sentimentality with his side needing a result after going three matches without a win. Their next few matches are all extremely tough games (as most are) so a win today will set them up for what is a formidable trip to Tottenham Hotspur after the international break.
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