thumbnail Hello,

Premier League

  • September 17, 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • Villa Park, Birmingham
  • Referee: N. Swarbrick
  • • Attendance: 34248

Aston Villa 1-1 Newcastle: Second half Leon Best strike denies Alex McLeish three points

Aston Villa 1-1 Newcastle: Second half Leon Best strike denies Alex McLeish three points

Getty Images

Shay Given on top form to deny former club all three points late on, as visitors dominate game and preserve their unbeaten record despite going a goal down

Leon Best rescued a point for Newcastle with his second half equaliser in their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, though the Magpies had been on top for long periods of the match following Gabby Agbonlahor's opener.

The home side took the lead as Agbonlahor turned Fabricio Coloccini to score in the opening 10 minutes, but they were pegged back by an away side on good form, with Best scoring at the second attempt as the visitors found Shay Given on top form in the Villa goal.

Newcastle started the better team in the opening 10 minutes, coming close with Yohan Cabaye just pulling a shot wide and Gabriel Obertan keeping Shay Given on his toes with a cross that threatened to creep under the bar.

But it was the hosts who took the lead against the run of play. Barry Bannan picked up the ball 25 yards out from goal, and after a quick ball into the box, Agbonlahor took the ball under control and shrugged off the challenge from Coloccini before slotting the ball home underneath Tim Krul.

Bar a few efforts from long range, the hosts were relying on some solid play from Given and some wastefulness in front of goal from Newcastle's front line to stay level.

An aerial barrage from Ryan Taylor at left-back was a common theme up until half-time, but with a defensive duo of Richard Dunne and James Collins the hosts had more than enough to deal with the sweeping crosses from deep.

The second half nearly started perfectly for Villa, as Agbonlahor was afforded too much time in the area, allowed to turn and flash his shot inches wide of the post.

It was the only moment of note for the home side for the next 20 minutes, as Newcastle began to dominate once again and play some impressive football.

And just before the hour their efforts were rewarded with an equaliser from Leon Best, the striker's ninth goal in 11 Premier League starts.

Opener | Villa celebrate Agbonlahor's strike but are forced to settle for a point

The ball was played down the right through Obertan and Danny Simpson, before Cabaye swept a wonderful shot against Given's bar from the edge of the area. Though Villa managed to clear the ball, they couldn't get it to a safe distance, and Tiote pumped the ball back into the box for Best to convert at the second attempt after his initial header was blocked well by Given.

The goal reinvigorated Newcastle, but they almost gifted the home side the lead once again, as Steven Taylor slipped while attempting a clearance. With Bent hot on his heels, it looked a simple chance for the striker, who lobbed Krul but found Taylor scampering back to clear brilliantly on the slide.

Fom the resultant corner, the Magpies broke and almost scored, but for a vital challenge from Stephen Warnock on Jonas Gutierrez after a good run from Obertan.

With the introduction of Marc Albrighton late on, Villa looked more dangerous and got more possession of the ball, but rarely threatened Krul in the Newcastle goal.

Yet with just five minutes to go the away team threatened to take all three points, with Cabaye firing in a fantastic volley from 25 yards, only for Given to fly across to his right and palm the ball away, with the Irish keeper looking on top form.

As the full time whistle blew, Newcastle could be fairly proud of their point, though they probably deserved more, while Villa defended well under a constant threat from the visitors.