The Villans' win-less streak was extended to eight games after a goal-less draw with their local rivals at the Hawthorns, despite both sides nearly nicking victory at the deathBIRMINGHAM, UK-- Aston Villa remains in the thick of the Premier League relegation battle after drawing to 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, just lacking the cutting edge in the final third. Peter Odemwingie failing to beat Ben Foster with the hosts' best chance, while Garbriel 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. The visitors nearly stole a victory late on but 0-0 it remained.
Roy Hodgson started with the same side that beat his former club Liverpool in their last game, but recalled Marc-Antoine Fortune to the bench after the forward missed that victory with a hamstring problem.
The visitors had Gabriel Agbonlahor and Richard Dunne back in the starting lineup, with Alex McLeish also giving places among the substitutes to the returning Stephen Ireland, James Collins and Emile Heskey.
The opening ten 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, Carlos Cuellar sliced his clearance which then fell to Peter Odemwingie just inside the six yard box however the forward couldn't generate enough power to beat Shay Given.
Then, the hosts came forward again, the ball fell to Lone on the edge of the box who smashed an effort goalward 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, with Dunne also heading away the corner.
Villa responded to the pressure well and continued to have possession in good areas, 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-sdie's defense, but failed to hit the target.
The Baggies came forward once more as Dunne made a clumsy tackle on Billy Jones and was fortunate to not get booked. Then, Brunt's in-swinger headed behind well by the man who gave the foul away. The West Brom man took the corner as well, which met at the back post by Olsson who was given far too much space.
The defender volleyed into area but ended up being hacked away, again by Dunne. With 20 minutes gone West Brom started to get a bit more of a foothold in the game.
Moments after, Vila then went close. Dunne the man in the center of the action once more as be found himself on the right wing, he crossed 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, Gabriel Agbonlahor found himself racing through one-on-one with Foster. The striker looked favorite 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 just 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 penalized 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 said no and play went on with the hosts' corner being headed 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. The little flow that had been there was all taken away with miss-timed tackles.
West Brom attack on the left as Graham Dorrins floated in a deep cross which Long headed back across goal, however the Villa defense cleared.
Villa was then holding on for a little spell at 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 it. However Olsson's headed only rippled the top of the netting.
With the game reduced to mostly midfield battles in the latter half of the second period, with just under ten minutes remaining Villa nearly stole a goal. Olsson and Foster failed to communicate and the ball fell to Agbonlahor who found Heskey in the box. The big man found Ciaran Clar 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 at 0-0 it ended.