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West BromWest Bromwich Albion2Aston VillaAston Villa2

West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Aston Villa

By Alistair MagowanBBC Sport
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.

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.

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."

Line-ups

West Brom

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 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

Formation 4-1-2-1-2

  • 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

  1. Post update

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

  2. Full Time

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

  3. Booking

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

  4. Post update

    Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Ciaran Clark.

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    Foul by Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Morgan Amalfitano (West Bromwich Albion).

  8. Post update

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

  9. Post update

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

  10. Post update

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

  11. Booking

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

  12. Post update

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

  13. Post update

    Foul by Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa).

  14. Post update

    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.

  15. Substitution

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

  16. Post update

    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.

  17. Post update

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

  18. Post update

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

  19. Post update

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

  20. Post update

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

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal1291224101428
2Liverpool1273224131124
3Chelsea1273221101124
4Man City1271434122222
5Southampton12642157822
6Man Utd126332015521
7Everton125611713421
8Newcastle126241717020
9Tottenham12624912-320
10Swansea124351716115
11West Brom123631414015
12Aston Villa124351314-115
13Hull12426915-614
14Stoke123451214-213
15Cardiff123451117-613
16Norwich123271023-1311
17West Ham12246914-510
18Fulham123181121-1010
19Crystal Palace12219721-147
20Sunderland12219824-167
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