Premier League
West Brom2Aston Villa2

West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Aston Villa

Ashley Westwood

Aston Villa came from two goals down to draw with West Bromwich Albion in a thrilling West Midlands derby.

The hosts established their early dominance as Shane Long scored twice in the first 11 minutes.

He controlled superbly to fire in from 18 yards before chipping over Brad Guzan after Leandro Bacuna's poor pass.

But Villa were transformed by a triple substitution around the hour mark, with Karim El Ahmadi volleying in before Ashley Westwood's fierce 25-yard shot.

Paul Lambert discusses his daring triple substitution following Aston Villa's 2-2 draw at West Brom

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Lambert praises 'fantastic' subs

It was an unexpected turnaround at The Hawthorns after a poor first half from the visitors, but the introduction of Andreas Weimann, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Fabian Delph paid instant dividends as the sides produced a repeat of the result in last season's corresponding fixture.

On that occasion it was West Brom who were two goals in arrears before they salvaged a draw, and after another entertaining game huge credit must go to Villa boss Paul Lambert, who masterminded his side's change in approach.

Sharing the points means Albion - in 11th place - stay one position ahead of their rivals on goal difference, with both sides moving to 15 points.

Steve Clarke's West Brom have now lost only one of their last nine Premier League games, but they will regret failing to convert their early dominance into a three-goal lead.

As much as Long's direct running and rasping shooting caused Villa nightmares, the visitors' defensive organisation in the first half left much to be desired.

The opener was a superb piece of control as Long took down Chris Brunt's long pass, but with plenty of time to do so, the 26-year-old skipped past Nathan Baker before leaving no chance for the diving Guzan.

Despite going close with Aleksandar Tonev's deflected shot soon after, Villa went further behind and this time the defending was even worse.

With the Villa defence split to play the ball out, right-back Bacuna mishit a pass towards the centre of the defence, found Long rather than a team-mate, and the striker beat Baker again and chipped over Guzan for his third of the season.

Then came the crucial reprieve. West Brom forward Stephane Sessegnon somehow managed to miss from three yards out and Villa's confidence grew when Libor Kozak's fizzing 25-yard shot kissed the Albion bar.

Marshalled by Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob in central midfield, West Brom continued to press high up the pitch, and they could have gone further ahead when Long fired straight at Guzan.

Lambert gave his side 12 minutes of the second half to show some willingness and, when there was no change, he made his triple change.

It almost made an instant difference when Weimann's shot was deflected just wide of the post but with a switch in formation, Villa got a goal back after Bacuna's right-wing cross was headed back by Weimann and El Ahmadi volleyed in.

Agbonlahor - who, in addition to Weimann, returned from injury - gave the Villa side an injection of pace and put pressure on the West Brom defence.

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Clarke bemoans two points lost

And it was from his cross that Goran Popov's poor header landed on the edge of the box for Westwood to smash in 14 minutes from the end for his first Villa goal.

West Brom boss Steve Clarke: "When you are leading comfortably you feel you should get the three points but Villa made the changes and the energy seemed to unsettle us. We gave away a bad goal and that gave Villa the momentum and they took advantage.

"We missed one clear-cut chance to make it 3-0 and that would have been game over. We knew at half-time that the next game would be crucial and we had a similar situation last year when we were the team chasing the game. We wrestled control back at 2-2 and finished well.

"Shane Long's first goal is out of this world and he read the game well for the second. He's been on a good run of form for us and hopefully he can keep that going."

Villa manager Paul Lambert: "In the second half we were fantastic. We were really resolute after being two down after 11 minutes.

"We spoke about making changes at half-time but we decided to wait a bit, the three of them [Weimann, Agbonlahor and Delph] have been big players for us all season and they made a huge difference. They were only training on Friday.

"I thought Ashley Westwood took the game by the scruff of the neck. He is a fine passer of the ball and he can hit them as well. He was terrific for us."

To see a gallery of images from the match, go to the BBC Sport Facebook page.

Line-ups

West Brom

  • 13Myhill
  • 2Reid
  • 4PopovSubstituted forAnichebeat 82'minutes
  • 5Yacob
  • 23McAuley
  • 3Olsson
  • 18Amalfitano
  • 21MulumbuBooked at 53mins
  • 9Long
  • 29SessegnonSubstituted forMorrisonat 73'minutes
  • 11Brunt

Substitutes

  • 7Morrison
  • 16Anichebe
  • 19Daniels
  • 20Vydra
  • 25Dawson
  • 38Berahino
  • 39Anelka

Aston Villa

  • 1Guzan
  • 7Bacuna
  • 6ClarkBooked at 86mins
  • 15Westwood
  • 4Vlaar
  • 2Baker
  • 18SyllaSubstituted forDelphat 57'minutes
  • 24TonevSubstituted forWeimannat 57'minutes
  • 27KozákSubstituted forAgbonlahorat 57'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 20Benteke
  • 8El Ahmadi

Substitutes

  • 10Weimann
  • 11Agbonlahor
  • 13Steer
  • 16Delph
  • 17Herd
  • 21Bowery
  • 34Lowton
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
24,902

Match Stats

Home TeamWest BromAway TeamAston Villa
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home11
Away15
Shots on Target
Home4
Away7
Corners
Home4
Away2
Fouls
Home9
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 2, Aston Villa 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 2, Aston Villa 2.

Booking

Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Ciaran Clark.

Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa).

Foul by Morgan Amalfitano (West Bromwich Albion).

Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Aston Villa. Andreas Weimann tries a through ball, but Karim El Ahmadi is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by James Morrison with a cross.

Booking

Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa).

Attempt missed. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Christian Benteke with a headed pass.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Victor Anichebe replaces Goran Popov.

Attempt missed. Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Steven Reid with a cross.

Offside, Aston Villa. Leandro Bacuna tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.

Offside, Aston Villa. Gabriel Agbonlahor tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.

Offside, Aston Villa. Christian Benteke tries a through ball, but Gabriel Agbonlahor is caught offside.

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Youssuf Mulumbu tries a through ball, but Shane Long is caught offside.

Goal!

Goal! West Bromwich Albion 2, Aston Villa 2. Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Youssuf Mulumbu tries a through ball, but Morgan Amalfitano is caught offside.

James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa).

Attempt saved. Shane Long (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by James Morrison.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. James Morrison replaces Stéphane Sessegnon.

Offside, Aston Villa. Nathan Baker tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.

Goal!

Goal! West Bromwich Albion 2, Aston Villa 1. Karim El Ahmadi (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Andreas Weimann with a headed pass.

Attempt saved. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Claudio Yacob tries a through ball, but Chris Brunt is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ron Vlaar.

Attempt missed. Stéphane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Morgan Amalfitano.

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Chris Brunt tries a through ball, but Stéphane Sessegnon is caught offside.

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Andreas Weimann.

Attempt missed. Morgan Amalfitano (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

Stéphane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Nathan Baker (Aston Villa).

Attempt blocked. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Boaz Myhill.

Attempt saved. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

goal

As It Stood

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2Liverpool127321124
3Chelsea127321124
4Man City127142222
5Southampton12642822
6Man Utd12633521
7Everton12561421
8Newcastle12624020
9Tottenham12624-320
10Swansea12435115
11West Brom12363015
12Aston Villa12435-115
13Hull12426-614
14Stoke12345-213
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17West Ham12246-510
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19Crystal Palace12219-147
20Sunderland12219-167
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