Aston Villa 1-1 Newcastle

By Peter ScrivenerBBC Sport
Gabriel Agbonlahor scores for Aston Villa against Newcastle
Agbonlahor scores Villa's goal against Newcastle

Aston Villa and Newcastle extended their unbeaten starts to the season to five games after an entertaining draw.

Gabriel Agbonlahor scored his third goal of the season for Villa, slotting in from 10 yards, after his volley had been blocked by Fabricio Coloccini.

But Leon Best earned United a point, firing home from close range after Shay Given saved his initial header.

Yohan Cabaye, who hit the bar, also had a volley tipped round the post by Given as Newcastle sought a winner.

The visitors had gone into the game looking to preserve their record of not conceding a goal on their travels this season but the in-form Agbonlahor wrecked that inside the opening 15 minutes.

McLeish frustrated with point

The 24-year-old was quickest to react after his first-time effort from Barry Bannan's centre hit Coloccini and he beat United keeper Tim Krul with a low shot from 10 yards.

The goal came somewhat against the run of play. Yohan Cabaye, a £4.3m summer signing from Lille, had already fired narrowly wide for Newcastle, while Given had to be alert to tip Gabriel Obertan's cross-shot over the bar.

But once Agbonlahor did score, the home side assumed control with Bannan smashing a dipping 25-yard volley inches wide, while Darren Bent should also have doubled Villa's lead.

Stiliyan Petrov surged into the Newcastle box to collect a superbly-weighted pass from Charles N'Zogbia and with Krul approaching, he squared for Bent, but the striker inexplicably side-footed wide from eight yards.

Newcastle ended the half strongly but Given, who made 463 appearances for the Magpies, was equal to Taylor's neat low strike while Demba Ba clipped a shot over the bar from 15 yards.

Agbonlahor, who looked a threat all afternoon, began the second half with an effort that whistled just wide.

But, in a copy of the first half, Newcastle's equaliser came against the run of play.

Cabaye ignited panic in the Villa defence when his curling 25-yard shot rebounded off the crossbar and as the home side struggled to escape from their penalty area, the ball was passed out to Cheik Tiote down the left.

We deserved more - Pardew

Tiote's deep cross was met by Best, who powered a header downwards. Given kept it out but the ball fell kindly for the striker who tucked in his third of the season from point-blank range.

Demba Ba fired straight at Given from 30 yards, while Bent lobbed an effort over the on-rushing Krul which drifted wide as both sides went for the win.

Newcastle came the closest with Cabaye's crisp right-foot volley eliciting a tremendous save from Given, who flung himself to his right to tip the ball round the post.

And in the final minute, Frenchman Cabaye sneaked in at the back post but lifted his shot from an acute angle over the bar.

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish:

"I'm disappointed. I thought we started brilliantly and we should have been 2-0 up through Bent's chance.

"But Petrov turned an ankle and Warnock injured his hip and we lost a bit of momentum and Newcastle took control. Warnock was patched up with a painkiller and he was like a man possessed in the second half.

"We were a bit deep at the goal and if we'd squeezed out we may have been able to play offside but we sat in our area and when you do that you've got win the ball."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew:

"We were terrific today. We gifted them a goal but we dominated possession and we were awaiting our chance.

"Our two central midfield players, Cabaye and Cheik Tiote were outstanding and I thought we deserved to win.

"Shay Given was an outstanding servant for this club and we know he is a good shot-stopper and he showed that with two or three good stops."

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