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Premier League

  • September 30, 2012
  • • 23:00
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: A. Taylor
  • • Attendance: 34489
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Aston Villa 1-1 West Brom: Bent grabs late equaliser to earn point in Midlands derby

Aston Villa 1-1 West Brom: Bent grabs late equaliser to earn point in Midlands derby

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Shane Long had scored the opener for the visitors shortly after half-time but Paul Lambert's men came back to share the spoils and move into 15th place in the Premier League

Darren Bent came off the bench to clinch a hard-earned point for Aston Villa against high-flying West Brom in a pulsating West Midlands derby at Villa Park.

Shane Long took advantage of some slack marking to give the Baggies the lead in the second half before Bent pounced, soon after being introduced as a substitute.

Villa made four changes from the side that lost heavily at Southampton in their last league outing with Gabriel Agbonlahor being rewarded with a starting berth after his two-goal heroics in the stunning League Cup win at Manchester City in midweek.

The visitors gave a debut to Macedonian defender Goran Popov as Steve Clarke made two alterations from their league win over Reading.

The recalled Agbonlahor looked eager from the start to continue the form he showed at the Etihad Stadium and he almost cut open the Baggies' rearguard with a darting run and whipped cross that was just beyond the prowling Christian Benteke.

At the other end, Long should have done better with a free header from six yards after Morrison towered above a static Villa defence to pick out the Irishman with a headed pass.

Moments later, the Baggies had strong claims for a penalty when Marc Albrighton's outstretched arm made contact with a Ron Vlaar cross but referee Anthony Taylor dismissed the appeals.

Fabian Delph was fortunate to escape with just a booking after a dangerous lunging challenge on Chris Brunt but Villa gradually took a foothold in midfield and Australian winger Brett Holman was finding plenty of space in front of the Baggies' box.

Foster had to tip Holman's 30-yard thunderbolt just over the bar and, shortly afterward, the Aussie screwed another effort wide of the target after good work from Agbonlahor.

Baggies skipper Chris Brunt went down clutching his left hamstring and, while he hobbled off, Ciaran Clark rose to head an Agbonlahor cross just wide.

Brunt was replaced by Graham Dorrans but, while West Brom were still reorganising, Holman out-muscled Gareth McAuley and saw his deflected effort tipped wide of the target by Foster.

Steve Clarke's troops were desperate for the half-time whistle and their cause was not helped when Billy Jones went down clutching his right knee and was replaced by Gabriel Tamas a minute before the break.

Villa hailed to heed the warning and, on 51 minutes, they were punished when Morrison beat the offside trap to send in a cross that Vlaar could only divert into the path of Long

The Baggies were on the ropes but they came out after half-time intent on giving as good as they got.

They gave a warning of what was to come when Shane Long's header was ruled offside. Villa failed to heed the warning and on 51 minutes they were punished when Morrison beat the offside trap to send in a cross that Vlaar could only divert into the path of Long, who scored from close range.

Villa recovered from this setback and piled forward. Benteke was wasteful with a couple of opportunities and Lowton saw a 30-yard curler go just over the bar.

Paul Lambert made three substitutions in two minutes and two of them were involved in the leveller on the 80-minute mark. Barry Bannan's cross was headed on by Vlaar and then Clark's volley was blocked - only for Bent to bundle the ball home.

In a grandstand finish, Bent then almost claimed the points for Villa but he scooped a 20-yard effort just wide. The Baggies emerged from being under the cosh almost to grab the spoils but Romelu Lukaku's angled drive was blocked by Guzan.

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