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9 April 2012
• Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 30100
A. Weimann 32'
R. Huth 71'
Shots on Target
90' + 5'
FULL TIME! It finishes 1-1 here at Villa Park as Robert Huth's second half header cancels out a brilliant Weimann opener in 32nd minute. It is probably a fair result from what was ultimately a rather forgettable game.
90' + 3'
Weimann is rightly named as the sponsors' man of the match after his superb strike in the first half. It was a lovely moment in what has otherwise been a rather dire affair here.
90' + 1'
Five minutes of added time have been issued here and Stoke thought they had just found the winner. Shawcross bundles the ball into the back of the net from a corner, but his effort is ruled out, seemingly for a Huth foul on Collins. The Welshman has been at the centre of every penalty area contest today.
Play is temporarily brought to a halt as Huth and Herd clash heads. It is the second head injury sustained by the Villa youngster in this half and he is subsequently withdrawn on a stretcher. He has been very brave in a series of aerial challenges in this half and is given a rousing reception by the home fans as he leaves the pitch. The second Villa player to go off injured today, after Warnock went off earlier. Emile Heskey comes on in his place.
McLeish's men desperately seeking a winner here to ease their relegation worries but Stoke are standing firm here. Delap is replaced by Ricardo Fuller in an interestingly offensive change from Tony Pulis.
Villa have reacted well since the equaliser and Chris Herd, who had been off the pitch for a prolonged period, fires a speculative effort that flies over the crossbar. The attendance here at Villa Park is 30,100.
That Stoke equaliser means Villa have now conceded more goals from set plays than any other Premier League team this season. The home side react by bringing on Charles N'Zogbia for Bannan as they seek an attacking impetus to find a winner now. Collins goes down under pressure from Shawcross and feels he may have been impeded there.
Yellow Card James Collins
Assist Jermaine Pennant
Goal Robert Huth
GOAL! Robert Huth grabs an equaliser for the visitors with a stooping header from a Pennant free kick. It was a soft decision from Mike Dean after a Gardner challenge and when the winger swings it over, the German defender climbs over Collins to head home.
The Villa fans in the Holte End booing every Jermaine Pennant touch for his former Birmingham City affiliation and they are trying to rouse their players for the final 20 minutes or so here. Alex McLeish, meanwhile, yells out "get hold of it" from the technical area. His side cannot get hold of it at the moment.
Chris Herd takes a nasty looking knock to the head and is taken off for treatment before Begovic has to be alive to clear after Agbonlahor looked to have the better of Shawcross in a foot-race to the edge of the penalty area. Confusion between Lichaj and Gardner then leads to a needless corner, but Villa manage to clear their lines.
Alan Hutton makes a forward surge as he looks to drive his side on and get a second goal which would wrap this up for the Villans but his cross to Agbonlahor is cut out. Stoke respond by making a double substitution, with Crouch and Pennant coming on for Jones and Etherington respectively.
Warnock turns his ankle after landing awkwardly in an aerial challenge and despite getting to his feet, he limps off and is duly replaced by Gary Gardner.
Stoke keeping the pressure on as they force a corner through Shotton. The delivery is met by Huth again, who is inches wide with a header. Villa could have added to their lead just seconds later though as Bannan's exceptional first-time pass finds the onrushing Agbonlahor, but he misdirects his low shot just wide of the post.
Villa immediately win a free-kick 20 yards out after Agbonlahor is upended by Shawcross. Bannan's delivery is easily collected by Begovic but the fans in the Holte End thought Shawcross' grapple with Collins warranted a penalty, but referee Mike Dean didn't and waved play on.
The second half begins as Aston Villa kick us off again.
HALF TIME! Villa lead 1-0 thanks to a lovely Andreas Weimann strike, which is well worth a watch for those who haven't seen it yet. It has been a fairly even game, in truth, and despite being a poor game, Stoke have had the majority of the chances, with Delap and Walters both going close.
Stoke test Villa again from another set-piece as Robert Huth heads wide when well placed. Wilson Palacios then escapes punishment despite leaving Weimann lying in a heap on the turf with a clattering aerial challenge.
Stoke respond by putting Villa back under pressure. Delap's dangerous cross can only be glanced away by Collins before the resultant corner from Etherington is only half-cleared to Walters on the edge of the area, but his driven strike is superbly blocked by Warnock. Replays show that that was definitely goalbound but for the left-back-cum-left-winger's intervention.
Yellow Card Eric Lichaj
The slightly unorthodox left-winger that is Stephen Warnock finds Bannan at the back post and when the Scottish midfielder puts the ball back into the corridor of uncertainty in the Stoke area, Walters almost contrives to smash a clearance into the back of his own net. Instead, it goes for another Villa corner.
Assist Stephen Ireland
Goal Andreas Weimann
GOAL! Andreas Weimann finds the net after a neat one-two with Ireland before curling a delightful effort beyond Asmir Begovic.
Villa starting to get on top in this game as Etherington is forced into giving away a corner from a dangerous Ireland pass before Collins again tests Begovic with a header, this time from a Barry Bannan centre. Weimann then goes in late on Whitehead but is let off after a quick word from referee Mike Dean.
Aston Villa controlling possession but not really doing much with it. They do force a corner but Begovic claims it easily. Stoke carve out an opening of their own as Collins' pass could only find Dean Whitehead. After working the ball out to the left, a cross is whipped in to Delap but his header is straight at Shay Given.
Villa fans applaud in unison in the 19th minute for their captain Stilyan Petrov, who wears the number 19 jersey and was diagnosed with acute leukaemia recently. Villa almost have another reason to celebrate as Weimann finds the back of the net, but the goal is chalked off after Ireland used his hand to control during the build-up.
Like London buses, you wait for a chance and then two come in the space of a minute. First, after Huth concedes a corner, the set-piece is delivered to James Collins but his header is tame and is collected easily by Asmir Begovic. Stoke also go close as Jonathan Walters finds Kenwyne Jones with an exquisite flick, but the Trinidadian striker can only fire into the side-netting.
Not the greatest game at present, certainly not one for the footballing purists, this. Villa looking to establish a stranglehold but Stoke are proving solid and resilient in midfield so far.
Stoke begin to work their way into the match and force a booking as Ryan Shotton is hauled down by Stephen Warnock after a foraging run down the right-wing. Rory Delap tests the Villa defence with first a throw-in and then a cross, but the home side survive.
Yellow Card Stephen Warnock
Aston Villa have started brightly here with Ireland at the centre of all their moves. His ball over the top of the Potters' rearguard though, trickles out for a goal-kick. Stoke now starting the slightly inevitable chants of "you're going down."
Stoke almost shoot themselves in the foot straight from kick-off as they gift possession to Stephen Ireland, but as he tries to find young Andreas Weimann, the visitors manage to clear their lines. Ironic chants from the Stoke fans, who sing: "Your ground's too big for you."
Stoke City get us underway here at Villa Park!
Stoke have also struggled of late, picking up just three wins from their last 12 in the league. Their 41-point tally though would appear to secure their Premier League safety.
Alex McLeish's men have won just two of their last 12 games in the league and have also conceded eight goals in their last three league matches.
The Potters, meanwhile, make three changes to the team that saw off Wolves 2-1. Wilson Palacios and Rory Delap come in for Jermaine Pennant and Glenn Whelan whilst Peter Crouch, who scored the winner in that weekend win drops to the bench, with Kenwyne Jones preferred.
Villa make just one change from the side that secured that point at Anfield. Andreas Weimann comes in for Emile Heskey, who drops to the bench. This means successive starts for youngsters Nathan Baker, Eric Lichaj and Chris Herd, whilst Stephen Warnock remains in an unfamiliar left-wing role.
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of Aston Villa v Stoke City here at Villa Park. The home side will be buoyed by the point they picked up at Liverpool on Saturday, but the away side will also be confident having picked up their first win in five games against Wolves at the weekend.
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