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Premier League

  • 28 April 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 25984

West Brom 0-0 Aston Villa: Pressure mounts on McLeish as visitors slip closer to Premier League trap door

West Brom 0-0 Aston Villa: Pressure mounts on McLeish as visitors slip closer to Premier League trap door

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The Villans' winless streak extends to eight games following a goalless draw with their local rivals at the Hawthorns which saw both sides nearly steal victory at the death

Aston Villa remain in the thick of the Premier League relegation battle after drawing with West Brom in yet another below-par performance.

The first half saw some end-to-end action but both sides were limited in the terms of chances they made, simply lacking the cutting edge in the final third. Peter Odemwingie failed to beat Ben Foster with the hosts' best chance, whilst Gabriel Agbonlahor squandered his side's best opportunity.

The second-period was even less lively, with the hosts edging the best of the chances once more. Villa's Alan Hutton was lucky to not give away a penalty when he handled on the line and the visitors nearly stole a victory late on.

Roy Hodgson started with the same side that beat his former club Liverpool last time out, but recalled Marc-Antoine Fortune to the bench after the forward missed that victory with a hamstring problem.

The visitors had Agbonlahor and Richard Dunne back in the starting line-up, with Alex McLeish also giving places among the substitutes to the returning Stephen Ireland, James Collins and Emile Heskey.

The opening 10 minutes saw Aston Villa come out of the blocks the livelier of the two sides, however they failed to create any clear openings.

It was indeed West Brom who had the best chance to take the lead on the counter. Shane Long broke away before crossing into the box but when Carlos Cuellar sliced his clearance, Odemwingie failed to generate enough power to beat Shay Given from six yards.

Then, the hosts came forward again, the ball falling to Long on the edge of the box who smashed an effort goalwards only for Dunne to slide in and block the shot. Chris Brunt was next to try his luck but his shot was deflected behind for a corner, which Dunne also repelled.

Villa responded to the pressure well and continued to have possession in good areaa as Charles N'Zogbia looked to come inside from the right and hit it with his left, after being granted plenty of room by the home side's defence, but failed to hit the target.

The Baggies came forward once more as Dunne made a clumsy tackle on Billy Jones and was fortunate not to get booked before heading Brunt's in-swinger behind. The West Brom man's subsequent corner was met by Olsson, who was given far too much space, but his volley was cleared away by Dunne yet again.

Moments after, Villa then went close. Dunne the man in the centre of the action once more as be found himself on the right wing, crossing for Chris Herd but his shot was straight at Ben Foster who collected it well.

The game remained end-to-end as Hodgson's men came forward before, out of nowhere, Agbonlahor found himself racing through one-on-one with Foster. The striker looked favourite to score but delayed his shot and allowed the keeper to dive at his feet and knock the ball away from goal.

Up until half-time the hosts remained in control and had the best of the play. Heskey and Dunne, again, rose highest from a free-kick and corner in quick succession, then a poor touch from Jerome Thomas denied him a good chance moments before Brunt was lucky not to be penalised for handball inside his own box, although he knew little about it.

Just after the break West Brom had a big shout for handball as the ball appeared to strike Hutton's arm on the line from Liam Ridgewell's header, however the referee waved the appeals away.

Villa then broke after some sloppy play from Long, Agbonlahor looked as if he was going to take on Olsson but then decided to pick out N'Zogbia at the back post. The Frenchman shaped up to volley and forced Foster into a decent reflex save.

The game then got a little bit feisty with players receiving bookings for wild tackles as the little flow that had been there was replaced by a gritty battle in the middle.

West Brom attacked on the left as Graham Dorrans floated in a deep cross which Long headed back across goal, however the Villa defence cleared.

Villa were then holding on for a little spell as first Lichaj made a brilliant sliding tack to deny Thomas before Odemwingie's shot on the turn beat Given but was headed off the line by Warnock.

The next chance fell again to the Baggies, with most of the fans thinking the ball was in only for Olsson's headed effort to hit the top of the net.

Despite the unaesthetic nature of the match toward the end, the visitors almost snatched a win at the death. Olsson and Foster failed to communicate and the ball fell to Agbonlahor who found Heskey in the box. The big man found Ciaran Clark who, with the keeper out of goal, saw his effort denied by one of three different bodies sliding in to make a block.

Then, after Foster just about claimed the ball from another goal-mouth scramble, the hosts nearly secured victory at the other end. However, Odemwingie saw his shot saved expertly by Given as the match came to a close.

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