SkyBet Championship: Aston Villa hit back to deny Newcastle

Substitute Aaron Tshibola headed a late leveller for Aston Villa as a profligate Newcastle drew for the first time in the Championship this season.

  •  Tshibola’s late header cancels out Elphick own goal
  •  Two former Premier League sides produce all-action affair
  •  Fourth successive draw for Villa
  •  Newcastle drop points for third time in league this term
celebs
Elation: Villa celebrated wildly after 21-year-old Tshibola picked the perfect time to pop up with his first career goal in front of the Holte End (Picture from Sky Sports)

AARON Tshibola’s late equaliser earned Aston Villa a morale-boosting point as Newcastle United were left to rue a host of missed opportunities at Villa Park.

The substitute headed in his first Villa goal from a Jordan Ayew corner two minutes from time.

In a pulsating clash between two sides relegated from the Premier League last season, Newcastle were in complete control for long periods and looked set for a seventh win in nine league games as Villa captain Tommy Elphick turned DeAndre Yedlin’s cross into his own net in the first half.

But Mohamed Diame and Dwight Gayle passed up crucial chances for the visitors before Villa rallied late on and could have won it themselves.

Rafael Benitez’s side, considered favourites by many to win the title this term, remain fifth after their first league draw of the season – five points adrift of leaders Norwich, who they welcome to St James’ Park on Wednesday night.

Although their winless run extends to six games, Villa – without the injured Ross McCormack and ill-disciplined Jack Grealish – will be encouraged by their improved second-half display as they moved on to nine points from as many league matches this term.

For the first time in the second-tier, two Champions League winning managers went head-to-head – and Villa boss Roberto di Matteo will undoubtedly be the happier after seeing his side put under severe pressure in the first period.

Jordan Ayew
Off target: The Nigerian has yet to score from 27 efforts at goal in the Championship this season (Picture from Sky Sports)

Villa – who handed a first start to Albert Adomah – had started relatively well, with the former Middlesbrough winger releasing Jonathan Kodija down the right in the opening stages.

But the £15m summer buy from Bristol City cut inside unnecessarily, which allowed former Villa defender Ciaran Clark to get a block in.

Before long, the Magpies – who responded to last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat against Wolves by beating the same opponents in the EFL Cup in midweek – seized command and ran Villa’s three-man backline ragged with their movement in the final third.

This was emphasised when Elphick, wary of Gayle lurking with intent behind him, diverted Yedlin’s centre beyond Pierluigi Gollini just before the half-hour mark.

The ex-Bournemouth centre-back almost gifted Newcastle a second straight away when dwelling on the ball but Gayle could not finish one-on-one against Gollini.

With the hosts all over the place, Nathan Baker then had to make a crucial intervention when a menacing Gayle bore down on goal before Diame fired waywardly over after Gollini blocked a Matt Ritchie effort.

The only edgy moment for a dominant Newcastle in the first period came when Jonjo Shelvey was fortunate to receive only a yellow card for leaping into a challenge on Ashley Westwood in a reckless manner.

Clearly concerned by the visitors’ superiority, di Matteo threw on former Reading midfielder Tshibola in place of Baker and switched to a back four at the break.

There wasn’t an immediate change in pattern, as Newcastle pushed for the insurance goal to kill off the hosts.

The influential Shelvey tested Gollini from range before intelligently setting up Diame, but the former West Ham and Hull midfielder couldn’t open his Magpies account, slicing a glorious chance wide from 12 yards.

DeAndre Yedlin prepares throw-in
Concern: DeAndre Yedlin may have given Rafa Benitez another problem after coming off with an injury in the second half (Picture from Sky Sports)

The visitors were given a warning about complacency when Mile Jedinak was left free to head in Ayew’s pinpoint free-kick but was flagged offside.

Villa, who sent on top scorer Rudy Gestede for Adomah, had firmly sprung into life and Ayew came within inches of a spectacular goal when his rasping right-footer from 20 yards clipped the post.

But the forward played his part when the resurgent hosts levelled up, as his well-flighted corner picked out Tshibola and the summer signing – who was correctly booked for diving minutes earlier – escaped Isaac Hayden’s attentions to head home from two yards.

Having been on top for so long, it was Newcastle hanging on for dear life during six minutes of stoppage time, as an impassive Benitez was left to reflect on his side’s failure to add to their slender advantage.

However, it could be a significant turning point for Villa, who themselves have struggled to see out positive results this term, after fighting back from the abyss to secure a draw they feel was merited in the end.

Aston Villa 1 (Tshibola 88′)
Newcastle United 1 (Elphick 28′ og)


TEAMS:

Aston Villa XI
One alteration: Jack Grealish’s place was taken by Albert Adomah in the solitary change from last Saturday’s goalless draw at Ipswich (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Tshibola (on for Baker 45′), Gestede (on for Adomah 63′) and Hepburn-Murphy (on for Westwood 86′).
Not used:  Bunn (GK), Hutton, Richards, Cissokho.
Booked:  Chester (41′), Baker (44′), Tshibola (79′)

 

Newcastle United XI
Three changes: Yedlin made his first league start in place of the suspended Vurnon Anita, while Clark and Gouffran were restored at Chancel Mbemba and Ayoze Perez’s expense (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Tiote (on for Yedlin 75′) and Mitrovic (on for Gayle 80′).
Not used:  Darlow (GK), Hanley, Lazaar, Atsu, Perez.
Booked:  Shelvey (27′)


MATCH OFFICIALS:

Chris Kavanagh with Nathan Baker
In control: Kavanagh kept the game flowing and didn’t rush to his pocket – he correctly booked Tshibola for diving but was lenient with Shelvey’s first-half challenge (Picture from Sky Sports)

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Manchester) – 8/10
Assistant referees: Nick Greenhalgh & James Mainwaring (Lancashire)
Fourth official: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Attendance: 32,062


REACTION:

roberto-di-matteo-before-ko-v-newcastle-24th-sept-2016
Positive reaction: The former Chelsea and West Brom boss saw his side salvage a point to maintain their unbeaten home record so far this term (Picture from Sky Sports)

Aston Villa manager Roberto di Matteo:

“I said [at half-time] lets just put them under pressure and lets ask some questions. We changed the formation a little bit as well and managed to get more of a hold of the ball and created some real problems for Newcastle. I really thought that towards the end we would have the opportunity to win the game as well. We had plenty of chances and we got into very good positions. Just the last pass was missing, but there was somebody at the end of the last cross.”

rafael-benitez-looks-on-v-aston-villa-24th-sept-2016
Frustrated: Benitez will wonder how his side were unable to turn their first-half dominance into another victory (Picture from Sky Sports)

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez:

“Di Matteo will have another vision of the second-half, but the first-half we were so dominant that we could finish the game and then we would be sat here talking about another thing. But that is football, you have to take your chances. We had to defend better second-half, but you have to give credit to them. The positives for our team were in the first-half and the negatives were in the second as we allowed them to stay in the game.”

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