Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 1

Shay Given showed the sort of form he used to produce for Newcastle United to deny his former side a victory that would have taken them into third place, ahead of Chelsea.

Given made three spectacular saves to keep Alan Pardew’s side at bay, although Newcastle are now unbeaten in their first five games, their best start to a season for 15 years.

Gabriel Agbonlahor had opened the scoring for Aston Villa in the 13th minute, but Leon Best equalised early in the second half and Newcastle had enough chances to win – but could not find a way past Given.

Agbonlahor looked Villa’s most potent threat even before he opened the scoring. One run was halted when Tim Krul was off his goal-line quickly to gather the ball, and then Steven Taylor made a vital tackle to stop him on the edge of the penalty area.

But with 13 minutes gone, Agbonlahor scored his third goal of the season. When Barry Bannen crossed from the left, Agbonlahor got to the ball ahead of Fabricio Coloccini and it fell at his feet ten yards from goal. Krul was perhaps unlucky not to stop the sidefooted shot as it crept under his body, but Agbonlahor didn’t care as he wheeled away in celebration.

The goal certainly gave Villa the confidence to go for goal, with both Bannen and Petrov trying their luck from long range more than once.

But Newcastle had their chances too. Yohan Cabaye shot just wide early on, and then put a free-kick into Villa’s defensive wall, while Gabriel Obertan had a chip turned over the bar by Given, who also made a fine save to tip away a thunderous volley from Steven Taylor following Cabaye’s corner kick.

Darren Bent should have increased Villa’s lead in the 25th minute, but the England striker missed an easy chance that his former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp would have fancied his wife Sandra to score, shooting wide from close range at the end of a neat passing move.

Jonas Gutierrez also miscued horribly when he had a clear sight of the Villa goal but Newcastle did not lose hope. Their reward came ten minutes into the second half when Leon Best equalised with his third goal of the season. Villa were still recovering after Cabaye’s long shot from wide on the right rebounded off the bar, when Check Tiote crossed the ball back in from the left. Best found himself unmarked at the far post, and though Given did well to save his close range header with his legs, the ball fell for the striker to drive it into the net, again off Given’s legs.

Both sides pressed for victory. For Villa, Bent lobbed the ball over Krul but Steven Taylor cleared off the line, and substitute Marc Albrighton shot wide of the far post. Given denied his old side again, with an outstanding save at full stretch to turn away a powerful volley from the lively Cabaye, who then chipped over the bar from a tight angle in stoppage time.

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