Newcastle and Villa share spoils

Newcastle and Aston Villa shared a point each in a 1-1 draw at the Sports Direct Arena on Sunday.

Ciaran Clark had given the visitors the lead in the first half, but Hatem Ben Arfa levelled things up after the break.

Magpies boss Alan Pardew feels that his side were not up to their usual standard and confessed that Villa could well have taken all three points.

“I can’t say that we deserved to win and I could argue that Villa deserved to win, but I will take the draw,” Pardew told Sky Sports.

“I thought we were a bit funny today. For us, we lacked a bit of discipline in areas and our set-plays were awful.

“It was a really frustrating game from a coaching point of view. There was lots of excitement and a fantastic wonder goal for us, with chances at both ends.

“I think we had the bulk of the play and we were better in the second half, but they still had chances to have won it themselves.

“Fair play to Paul and his team. I don’t think we will come across many teams that work as hard as them as they really worked hard.

“It will be difficult to match what we did last year, and we are trying to have a go. It’s been a good start by us, not a brilliant start, but a good, steady start.

“We’ve had some tough games and we caught Villa at the wrong time. After two defeats they were determined to come here and show an effort, and they really did work hard,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight