Football: Teale's unhappy moment for Villa

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Aston Villa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Sheffield Wednesday. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

WHAT CAN only be described as a perfectly taken own goal by Shaun Teale in the 69th minute saw Wednesday salvage a precious point at Villa Park last night.

Roland Nilsson, who had earlier conceded a penalty, hit the ball hard and low across the face of goal. Teale's off-balance clearance saw the ball fly into the net.

Wednesday might easily have been two goals behind in the opening 17 minutes but the magic finishing touch of Dean Saunders continued to elude him. Inside two minutes Saunders, left unmarked by Dalian Atkinson's lacerating pass, lashed his shot wide from eight yards. The target looked even more elusive when Saunders wasted another of the kind of openings he relishes when in the form that saw him bag 14 goals in his first 24 games for Villa.

The street-wise Atkinson is likely to have predicted the sequel after 24 minutes. Wednesday's supply line was Nilsson, Waddle and Jemson and Bart-Williams delivered the goods through a virtually open door.

Villa had the chance to make a fresh start from an unexpected source. A corner by Garry Parker was lobbed back by Atkinson and Neil Cox popped up from right- back to 'hang-glide' for a second before placing his header from the left side past Kevin Pressman. It was the perfect moment for Cox's first goal of Villa's fluctuating season.

Despite an inconsistent wind- force both sides produced moments of quality, mixing the long with the short while Waddle, after providing a cross headed against the angle by Jemson, under pressure and close in, began his wandering act.

Nilsson, the homesick Swede who retires at the end of the season, faltered nine minutes into the second half. It was Nilsson's rugged challenge on Atkinson that presented Villa with a penalty and gave Saunders his first League goal since 25 October at Oldham. It was a just reward for Villa's freshness and a deserved tonic for Saunders.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Bosnich; Cox, McGrath, Teale, Barrett; Houghton, Cowans, Parker, Beinlich; Saunders, Atkinson. Substitutes not used: Ehiogu, Whittingham, Spink (gk).

Sheffield Wednesday (4-3-3): Pressman; Nilsson, Palmer, Walker, Worthington; Hyde, Jones, Bart- Williams (Coleman, 75); Waddle, Jemson, Bright. Substitutes not used: Poric, Key (gk).

Referee: P Foakes (Clacton-on-Sea).