Stoke v Aston Villa
- FT 90 +4
- HT 0-0
Stoke and Aston Villa took a point each from a drab goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium.
Marc Wilson came closest to breaking the deadlock with a bullet header that hit the underside of the crossbar before being hacked away by Villa.
Nathan Delfouneso's sliding effort was saved by Thomas Sorenson while Emile Heskey skimmed a post for the visitors.
Substitute Rory Delap's arrival helped Stoke gain the upper hand late on but neither side did enough for victory.
The result, at a ground where Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea have all failed to win this season, will be welcomed more readily by Villa boss Alex McLeish than counterpart Tony Pulis.
The visitors had taken only eight points from their previous 10 league games, but the draw increases the gap between them and the relegation zone to six points.
Stoke hoped to exploit Villa's vulnerability at dead-ball situations, but had little joy early on.
Robert Huth headed over the top from a corner and a free-kick, but the Villa backline looked untroubled as Ryan Shotton chanced his arm with several long throw-ins into the box.
Indeed, Villa threatened through a set-piece of their own as Heskey glanced a header on to the outside of the post from Charles N'Zogbia's corner.
DID YOU KNOW?
Aston Villa have failed to score in five of their last seven Premier League games
The former England striker's effort was a rare moment of goalmouth excitement in a poor first half.
Both sides gave away possession cheaply throughout and, on the few occasions they were able to string passes together, neither suggested they had the craft to thread a telling final ball through well-organised defences.
Stiliyan Petrov briefly threatened to break the stalemate as he found himself in space in the Stoke box, but cracked a full-blooded effort into the side netting.
The quality of entertainment on display improved in the second half.
Substitute Delfouneso almost had an immediate impact after his introduction in the wake of a recurrence of Heskey's Achilles problem.
The England Under-21 striker got his toe to Gabriel Agbonlahor's low cross, but was denied by the outstretched foot of former Villain Thomas Sorensen in the Stoke goal before Charles N'Zogbia's crisply-hit effort whistled wide.
The aerial route continued to look the most likely to yield a goal for Stoke and, after Huth had headed over again, Wilson was within inches of a breakthrough.
The defender's header had plenty of power behind it but was kept out through a combination of the underside of the bar and Agbonlahor's chest.
A skidding free-kick from N'Zogbia squirmed out of Sorensen's grasp, while Delap's introduction from the bench increased Stoke's long throw options, but the sides remained resolutely locked together through to the final whistle.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis:
"I thought it was going to be a very tough game. That's their sixth draw away from home this season.
"Marc Wilson's was the stand-out chance of the game, and Robert Huth's had a couple of headed chances which he could have done better with.
"We didn't get out of the blocks as quickly as we'd like to but we have to give Villa some credit.
"Their two centre-halves, Richard Dunne and James Collins, were very good tonight."
- 29 Sorensen
- 04 Huth Booked
- 17 Shawcross
- 30 Shotton
- 39 Woodgate (Pennant - 70' )
- 12 Wilson
- 18 Whitehead Booked
- 26 Etherington
- 40 Palacios (Delap - 67' Booked )
- 09 Jones
- 19 Walters
- 01 Begovic
- 20 Upson
- 28 Wilkinson
- 15 Diao
- 16 Pennant
- 24 Delap
- 33 Jerome
- 22 Guzan
- 03 Warnock
- 05 Dunne
- 06 Collins
- 21 Clark
- 24 Cuellar
- 10 N'Zogbia
- 12 Albrighton
- 19 Petrov
- 11 Agbonlahor
- 18 Heskey (Delfouneso - 46' )
- 33 Marshall
- 07 Ireland
- 25 Bannan
- 35 Johnson
- 38 Gardner
- 14 Delfouneso
- 26 Weimann
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +2:13
Foul by Marc Albrighton on Robert Huth, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.90:00 +0:44
Nathan Delfouneso is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.90:00 +0:23
Kenwyne Jones gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Carlos Cuellar. James Collins takes the free kick.89:05
Jonathan Walters delivers the ball, clearance by Richard Dunne.88:22
Corner from the left by-line taken by Jermaine Pennant, Rory Delap takes a shot. James Collins makes a clearance.87:42
Charles N'Zogbia gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ryan Shotton. Ryan Shotton takes the direct free kick.86:37
Charles N'Zogbia sends in a cross, Thomas Sorensen makes a save.84:23
Kenwyne Jones fouled by James Collins, the ref awards a free kick. Marc Wilson takes the free kick. Effort on goal by Robert Huth from 30 yards.82:27
Jermaine Pennant takes a shot. Blocked by Richard Dunne.81:39
A cross is delivered by Ciaran Clark, Ryan Shotton makes a clearance.80:34
Stiliyan Petrov takes a shot from 35 yards clearing the net.79:42
Corner taken right-footed by Marc Albrighton to the near post, Dean Whitehead manages to make a clearance. Corner taken left-footed by Charles N'Zogbia, Robert Huth makes a clearance.78:43
Corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington.78:43 Booking
Booking Rory Delap goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.77:37
Effort from the edge of the box by Charles N'Zogbia goes wide of the left-hand upright.76:06
The ball is swung over by Jermaine Pennant.73:49
Rory Delap challenges Stiliyan Petrov unfairly and gives away a free kick. Shot on goal comes in from Charles N'Zogbia from the free kick, Thomas Sorensen makes a save.69:35
Free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.69:35 Substitution
Substitution Jermaine Pennant on for Jonathan Woodgate.
Jonathan Walters is flagged offside by the assistant referee.68:47
Matthew Etherington takes the outswinging corner, Marc Wilson takes a shot.68:21
Nathan Delfouneso is caught offside. Thomas Sorensen restarts play with the free kick.65:54 Substitution
Substitution Rory Delap joins the action as a substitute, replacing Wilson Palacios.65:54
Effort from the edge of the area by Charles N'Zogbia goes wide of the left-hand post.64:30
The ball is swung over by Marc Albrighton.63:18
Gabriel Agbonlahor fouled by Wilson Palacios, the ref awards a free kick. Stephen Warnock takes the direct free kick.61:16
Corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line, Header from deep inside the penalty area by Robert Huth goes harmlessly over the crossbar.61:01
Carlos Cuellar delivers the ball, save made by Thomas Sorensen.55:40
Direct free kick taken by Stiliyan Petrov.55:40 Booking
Booking Booking for Dean Whitehead for unsporting behaviour.55:35
Dean Whitehead concedes a free kick for a foul on Charles N'Zogbia.54:01
Matthew Etherington delivers the ball, clearance by Richard Dunne.53:26
Unfair challenge on Ciaran Clark by Jonathan Walters results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Richard Dunne.52:05
Centre by Gabriel Agbonlahor, Nathan Delfouneso takes a shot. Save by Thomas Sorensen. Short corner taken by Marc Albrighton from the left by-line. Charles N'Zogbia delivers the ball, free kick awarded for a foul by Ciaran Clark on Jonathan Walters. Thomas Sorensen takes the direct free kick.50:36
Ryan Shotton produces a cross, Carlos Cuellar makes a clearance. Corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington, James Collins manages to make a clearance.48:29
Centre by Jonathan Walters.46:57
Dean Whitehead gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov. Free kick taken by James Collins.45:01
The referee gets the second half underway.45:01 Substitution
Substitution (Aston Villa) makes a substitution, with Nathan Delfouneso coming on for Emile Heskey.45:00 +2:06 Half time
Half Time It is the end of the first-half.42:21
Ryan Shotton delivers the ball.41:27
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Wilson Palacios by Ciaran Clark. Free kick taken by Robert Huth.40:28
Foul by Wilson Palacios on Charles N'Zogbia, free kick awarded. Stephen Warnock takes the free kick.39:34
Effort on goal by Stiliyan Petrov from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.37:47
Jonathan Woodgate fouled by Charles N'Zogbia, the ref awards a free kick. Thomas Sorensen restarts play with the free kick.36:23
Corner taken by Marc Albrighton from the right by-line, clearance by Kenwyne Jones. Stiliyan Petrov takes a shot. Dean Whitehead gets a block in.34:16
A cross is delivered by Stephen Warnock.31:43
The ball is crossed by Jonathan Walters, save made by Bradley Guzan.30:54
Foul by Wilson Palacios on Stiliyan Petrov, free kick awarded. James Collins restarts play with the free kick.30:49
Jonathan Woodgate delivers the ball, Ciaran Clark manages to make a clearance.30:20
Wilson Palacios fouled by Emile Heskey, the ref awards a free kick. Jonathan Woodgate takes the free kick.29:37
Gabriel Agbonlahor has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand post.27:46
Robert Huth fouled by Emile Heskey, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.27:05
Jonathan Woodgate gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Charles N'Zogbia. Direct free kick taken by Richard Dunne.25:35
Foul by Stephen Warnock on Jonathan Walters, free kick awarded. Dean Whitehead crosses the ball, Robert Huth produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box that clears the crossbar.23:25
Stiliyan Petrov takes a shot. Dean Whitehead gets a block in.22:52
Direct free kick taken by Stephen Warnock.22:52 Booking
Booking Caution for Robert Huth.22:48
Robert Huth concedes a free kick for a foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor.19:27
Corner taken by Charles N'Zogbia from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Dean Whitehead. Corner taken by Charles N'Zogbia from the left by-line played to the near post, Headed effort from close in by Emile Heskey bounces off the post.12:45
A cross is delivered by Jonathan Walters, clearance by Carlos Cuellar.11:59
Charles N'Zogbia concedes a free kick for a foul on Ryan Shawcross. Free kick taken by Jonathan Woodgate.10:22
Marc Albrighton delivers the ball, Jonathan Woodgate manages to make a clearance.9:51
Charles N'Zogbia delivers the ball, clearance made by Ryan Shawcross. Short corner taken by Marc Albrighton from the left by-line.9:26
Unfair challenge on Stephen Warnock by Kenwyne Jones results in a free kick. Stephen Warnock takes the free kick.8:26
The ball is crossed by Ryan Shotton, Stephen Warnock manages to make a clearance.6:59
The ball is crossed by Marc Albrighton.5:08
A cross is delivered by Emile Heskey, Marc Wilson manages to make a clearance.4:21
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor by Robert Huth. James Collins takes the free kick.3:24
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Emile Heskey by Ryan Shawcross. Bradley Guzan takes the direct free kick.3:00
A cross is delivered by Ryan Shotton, blocked by Stephen Warnock.1:14
Matthew Etherington delivers the ball, Header on goal by Robert Huth from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.0:19
Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line played to the near post, Stiliyan Petrov manages to make a clearance. Corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line to the near post, Stiliyan Petrov manages to make a clearance.0:00
The game begins.
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