Premier League - Best pegs back Villa in draw

Sat, 17 Sep 16:56:00 2011

Newcastle and Aston Villa retained their unbeaten Premier League records following an eventful 1-1 draw at Villa Park.

Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 1

Gabriel Agbonlahor opened the scoring after 13 minutes with his third goal in four games as he held off Fabricio Coloccini before slotting a low effort past Tim Krul.

Newcastle boasted their own in-form striker in the shape of Leon Best though and he notched his fifth goal in his past six league games after 57 minutes when tapping home after Shay Given had saved his initial header. There was certainly a suspicion of offside around the goal.

Yohan Cabaye had been unlucky to see a wonderful volley smack the bar in the build-up to the Best goal and with just three minutes remaining of the match the summer signing struck another brilliant effort that drew an equally excellent save by former Magpies hero Shay Given.

Both sides approached the match unbeaten after four games in the Premier League and Newcastle certainly did not look fazed by the prospect of a trip to Villa Park. Inside seven minutes, Cabaye collected a square pass from Leon Best, found space and lashed a shot just wide of the far post as Alan Pardew's side signalled their intent early on.

They were opened up six minutes later though when Coloccini allowed himself to be outmuscled by Agbonlahor, who collected a good ball from Barry Bannan and fired past Krul after exploiting the slip from the Newcastle defender.

Villa also saw Bannan put a long-range volley just wide and, more agonisingly, Darren Bent side foot home when he had the goal at his mercy following a neat move that culminated in Stiliyan Petrov cutting the ball back for the striker after 25 minutes.

But Newcastle applied persistent pressure to the Villa defence, with James Collins in particularly good form as he helped stem the tide of black-and-white attacks, even if the Welshman almost turned the ball into his own net when under pressure from Best.

Newcastle peppered the Villa box and a corner from Cabaye was met by Steven Taylor just before the half-hour mark, only for the defender to see former team-mate Shay Given dive to keep out his volley after he had lost his marker near the penalty spot.

Villa emerged stronger after the break and could have doubled their lead within two minutes of the second half when Agbonlahor received the ball from Bent in the box, held off Danny Simpson and fired a dangerous low effort just wide of the post.

However, it was Newcastle who struck next. Cabaye was desperately unlucky to see a ferocious volley rocket off the bar but Newcastle retained the ball and Cheick Tiote flung in a cross for Best. He appeared to be in an offside position but after Given saved his initial header, the striker fired home from close range for his fifth goal in his past six league games.

In an open encounter, Bent then almost exploited a poor defensive lapse when lifting the ball over Krul, only to see the defence chase back and slide in to make amends for his initial error.

Cabaye could have won the game in the closing stages with a ferociously-struck volley that forced Given into a quite tremendous save, but a point apiece ensured both sides remained unbeaten.

Tom Adams - follow me on Twitter @tomEurosport / Eurosport

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