Aston Villa 1-1 West Bromwich Albion – Match Review

Darren Bent came off the bench to salvage a point for Aston Villa in the Midlands derby against West Brom at Villa Park.

The England striker was left out of the starting lineup in favour of Christian Benteke but came on for the Belgian striker in the 76th to score his 150th league goal and deny local rivals Albion a place amongst the Premier League top-three.

Steve Clarke’s men have made an excellent start to the season and remain in sixth place but will view this as two points dropped rather than one gained against an uninspiring Villa side.

The hosts needed extra time to see off Manchester City in the League Cup on Tuesday and their lethargic start to the game was definitely a consequence of that. In fact West Brom should have been in front after five minutes when Shane Long nodded wide from close range after James Morrison had headed back Chris Brunt’s deep cross.

Villa gradually grew into the game and their best chance came from Brett Holman’s fizzing long range drive that was well saved by Ben Foster, while Benteke blazed over after robbing Billy Jones on the touchline. But it was the Baggies who broke the deadlock six minutes after the break as Long pounced to finish from close range after Ron Vlaar diverted Morrison’s cross into the forward’s path.

Lambert threw on Charles N’Zogbia and Bannan along with Bent as his side sought an equaliser that finally came with 10 minutes remaining as the former Tottenham and Sunderland hitman pounced to drove a left-footed strike threw a crowd and past Foster after Ciaran Clark’s effort was blocked on the line.

Both sides chased a winner as the clock ticked towards its conclusion withBent and then West Brom substitute Lukaku fluffing their lines at the critical moment.