Aston Villa 0 - 0 Wolverhampton
A disappointing Midlands derby finished goalless after a game of few clear chances at Villa Park.
Wolves started brightly and Stephen Hunt forced a save from Shay Given, while Villa's Emile Heskey flicked just wide from the edge of the six-yard box.
Villa were the better side for much of the second half and Richard Dunne had a header cleared off the line.
Both teams had spells of pressure but were content to preserve their unbeaten starts to the campaign.
There was a surprisingly subdued atmosphere for a derby involving two sides beginning the day in the coveted top four, with swathes of empty light blue seats across the 42,785-capacity Villa Park.
Former Birmingham boss Alex McLeish's appointment in the summer was met less than enthusiastically by the vast majority of the Villa fans and Blues defender Curtis Davies spoke recently of his preference for their current style under Chris Hughton.
An opening home win over Blackburn and a more favourable approach to the Carling Cup than other bosses may have begun to appease the Villa faithful, but despite the experience of Darren Bent and Heskey in attack plus the pace and trickery of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Charles N'Zogbia to supply the ammunition, McLeish's side failed to hit the target in the opening period.
Agbonlahor created their best opportunity of the first period when he broke free on the left flank and crossed for Heskey, who flicked inches wide of the post having moved in front of the defenders.
DID YOU KNOW?
Wolves and Villa drew 1-1 on the opening day of the inaugural Football League season in 1888
Wolves had looked the more assured in possession, with Jamie O'Hara neat and tidy as the midfield general and Stephen Ward and Hunt dangerous on the flanks.
Hunt went closest to breaking the deadlock when he ghosted in from the right to meet Ward's inviting deep cross but Given kept out his header.
However, Villa began the second half with far greater purpose and Wayne Hennessey saved at full stretch low to his left after a pacy burst into the area from Agbonlahor, while Dunne's header was nodded clear by Kevin Doyle.
Full-back Chris Herd, deputising for Luke Young, who has joined QPR , suffered a sickening injury when he headed post instead of ball but he recovered to have an impressive match, forcing Hennessey to tip a powerful header over the bar.
Bent's first genuine attempt did not materialise until four minutes from time, when he headed on to the roof of the net having risen superbly to meet a looping cross from substitute Barry Bannan.
Wolves, seeking a third successive victory in the top flight for the first time since 1980, finished strongly, with Ward having penalty claims dismissed by referee Martin Atkinson after an aerial collision with Herd in the corner of the area, although their fans were at least able to sing "We are top of the league".
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish:
"I felt we were in control of the game and our second-half performance deserved a goal.
"We were getting into good positions but not getting service to the main man (Darren Bent) who is a little bit frustrated.
"Mick made some defensive changes and it took the sting out of the game. It stopped our momentum and it was a good tactic from Mick."
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy:
"They were pumped up for 15 minutes in second half and had a really good spell, as much to do with us failing to keep the ball and not passing it to someone in a gold shirt.
"But we had a good barrier to block them. There were some good blocks and saves.
"Would I take a point at Villa with Bent, Heskey, N'Zogbia and Agbonlahor? Too right I would."
- 01 Given
- 03 Warnock
- 05 Dunne
- 06 Collins
- 10 N'Zogbia (Bannan - 74' )
- 16 Delph Booked (Albrighton - 84' )
- 19 Petrov
- 31 Herd
- 09 Bent
- 11 Agbonlahor
- 18 Heskey
- 22 Guzan
- 21 Clark
- 07 Ireland
- 12 Albrighton
- 17 Makoun
- 25 Bannan
- 14 Delfouneso
- 01 Hennessey
- 05 Stearman Booked
- 11 Ward
- 14 Johnson
- 16 Berra
- 08 Henry Booked
- 12 Hunt (Elokobi - 66' )
- 17 Jarvis (Foley - 66' )
- 24 O'Hara Booked
- 10 Fletcher (Vokes - 89' )
- 29 Doyle
- 31 De Vries
- 03 Elokobi
- 32 Foley
- 07 Kightly
- 19 Hammill
- 20 Milijas
- 18 Vokes
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.90:00 +0:27
Outswinging corner taken by Jamie O'Hara, clearance by Richard Dunne.90:00 +0:09
The ball is swung over by Jamie O'Hara, Richard Dunne makes a clearance.89:27
Kevin Foley takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Darren Bent.87:59
Free kick crossed left-footed by Stephen Ward from left channel, Richard Dunne makes a clearance.87:59 Substitution
Substitution Steven Fletcher leaves the field to be replaced by Sam Vokes.87:59
Foul by Emile Heskey on Jamie O'Hara, free kick awarded.86:18
Centre by Barry Bannan, Darren Bent has a headed effort from close in and clears the bar.83:54 Substitution
Substitution (Aston Villa) makes a substitution, with Marc Albrighton coming on for Fabian Delph.83:43
A cross is delivered by Stephen Ward.82:12
Free kick awarded for a foul by Darren Bent on Richard Stearman. Wayne Hennessey takes the free kick.80:51
Centre by Darren Bent, save by Wayne Hennessey.79:34
Outswinging corner taken by Jamie O'Hara from the left by-line, clearance by James Collins.73:03
Free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.73:03 Substitution
Substitution Barry Bannan is brought on as a substitute for Charles N'Zogbia.73:03
The referee blows for offside.71:28
The free kick is delivered left-footed by Stephen Warnock from left wing.71:28 Booking
Booking The referee shows Richard Stearman a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.71:25
Richard Stearman challenges Gabriel Agbonlahor unfairly and gives away a free kick.71:09
The ball is delivered by Kevin Doyle.
Chris Herd delivers the ball, Roger Johnson manages to make a clearance. The ball is sent over by Gabriel Agbonlahor, Roger Johnson manages to make a clearance.68:49
Short corner taken by Stiliyan Petrov. Charles N'Zogbia has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.68:00
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kevin Doyle by Richard Dunne. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Jamie O'Hara from right channel, save by Shay Given.65:45 Substitution
Substitution George Elokobi replaces Stephen Hunt.65:45 Substitution
Substitution Kevin Foley joins the action as a substitute, replacing Matthew Jarvis.64:29
The ball is sent over by Chris Herd, clearance by Roger Johnson.63:15
Christophe Berra fouled by Chris Herd, the ref awards a free kick. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the free kick.62:44
Stephen Warnock takes the free kick.62:44 Booking
Booking Caution for Karl Henry.62:37
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov by Karl Henry.61:43
Gabriel Agbonlahor has an effort at goal from outside the box which misses left.58:59
Effort on goal by Charles N'Zogbia from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.58:47
Stiliyan Petrov decides to take the corner short.58:34
Gabriel Agbonlahor sends in a cross, Chris Herd takes a shot. Wayne Hennessey makes a save.57:57
Corner taken right-footed by Stiliyan Petrov, Richard Dunne takes a shot. Clearance made by Kevin Doyle.57:02
Kevin Doyle gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Chris Herd. Chris Herd restarts play with the free kick.56:06
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Stiliyan Petrov, clearance made by Steven Fletcher.55:57
A cross is delivered by Richard Dunne, Steven Fletcher manages to make a clearance.55:29
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Stiliyan Petrov, Roger Johnson manages to make a clearance.55:22
Stiliyan Petrov crosses the ball, blocked by Christophe Berra.52:52
Christophe Berra fouled by Gabriel Agbonlahor, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.50:10
Unfair challenge on James Collins by Kevin Doyle results in a free kick. Charles N'Zogbia has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, comfortable save by Wayne Hennessey.49:52
Gabriel Agbonlahor takes a shot. Save made by Wayne Hennessey.47:42
Corner taken by Stiliyan Petrov from the right by-line, Chris Herd produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.46:54
Centre by Chris Herd.46:25
The ball is swung over by Chris Herd, Wayne Hennessey makes a save.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:00 +3:16 Half time
Half Time It is the end of the first-half.45:00 +1:44
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Charles N'Zogbia from the right by-line to the near post.45:00 +1:11
Chris Herd delivers the ball, clearance by Christophe Berra.45:00 +0:30
Direct free kick taken by Stephen Warnock.45:00 +0:30 Booking
Booking Jamie O'Hara goes into the book.45:00 +0:27
Jamie O'Hara challenges Stiliyan Petrov unfairly and gives away a free kick.44:04
The referee blows for offside against Gabriel Agbonlahor. Indirect free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.42:51
Steven Fletcher concedes a free kick for a foul on James Collins. James Collins takes the direct free kick.39:08
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Stiliyan Petrov, Chris Herd produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box that clears the crossbar.37:39
Karl Henry is penalised for a handball. Direct free kick taken by Richard Dunne.33:54
Wayne Hennessey fouled by Emile Heskey, the ref awards a free kick. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the free kick.31:16
Foul by Christophe Berra on Emile Heskey, free kick awarded. Stiliyan Petrov crosses the ball, Header by Richard Dunne from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.27:15
Centre by Stephen Hunt.26:30
Charles N'Zogbia gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephen Ward. Wayne Hennessey takes the direct free kick.25:57
Jamie O'Hara has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.25:09
Foul by Christophe Berra on Richard Dunne, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by James Collins.24:38
Matthew Jarvis takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Darren Bent manages to make a clearance.23:49
A cross is delivered by Gabriel Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey has an effort at goal from close in which goes wide of the left-hand upright.22:13
Corner taken by Charles N'Zogbia from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Christophe Berra.21:19
Karl Henry concedes a free kick for a foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor. Free kick crossed left-footed by Stephen Warnock, Christophe Berra manages to make a clearance.20:34
Charles N'Zogbia has an effort at goal from outside the box which misses left.19:26
Corner taken by Stephen Hunt from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Darren Bent.19:08
Stephen Ward produces a cross, Stephen Hunt takes a shot. Save made by Shay Given.18:10
Stephen Hunt is ruled offside. Richard Dunne takes the indirect free kick.17:17
The ball is swung over by Stephen Hunt, James Collins manages to make a clearance.16:28
Stiliyan Petrov takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Kevin Doyle manages to make a clearance.15:40
Stephen Warnock concedes a free kick for a foul on Steven Fletcher. Wayne Hennessey takes the direct free kick.12:33
Charles N'Zogbia takes the inswinging corner, Wayne Hennessey makes a save.11:29
Charles N'Zogbia delivers the ball, Richard Stearman manages to make a clearance.9:31
Stephen Hunt is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Charles N'Zogbia.8:19
Stephen Warnock challenges Kevin Doyle unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Jamie O'Hara from right wing, clearance made by James Collins.7:47
Stiliyan Petrov has an effort at goal from outside the area which misses left.6:29
Christophe Berra takes a shot. Comfortable save by Shay Given.6:05
Corner taken by Jamie O'Hara, clearance made by Emile Heskey.5:26
The free kick is swung in left-footed by Stephen Hunt, Shay Given makes a save.5:26 Booking
Booking The referee cautions Fabian Delph for unsporting behaviour.5:22
Foul by Fabian Delph on Matthew Jarvis, free kick awarded.4:48
Corner taken left-footed by Stephen Hunt to the near post, clearance by Darren Bent.4:13
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Stephen Hunt, Stiliyan Petrov manages to make a clearance.1:49
Emile Heskey is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Jamie O'Hara restarts play with the free kick.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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