Aston Villa 2 West Brom 1: Defeat following Ben Foster error 'hard to take', says Tony Pulis

Goalkeeper gave away late penalty

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The Independent Online

Manager Tony Pulis admitted it was "hard to take" after his West Brom side suffered a heartbreaking late derby defeat to Aston Villa at Villa Park.

Christian Benteke struck a last-gasp penalty as Villa halted a seven-match losing run in the Barclays Premier League with a 2-1 win and hand Villa boss Tim Sherwood his first victory in charge.

Villa took the lead through Gabriel Agbonlahor's 22nd-minute strike but the visitors levelled after 67 minutes as Saido Berahino scored his 18th goal of the season.

However, it was the hosts who claimed the spoils as West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster conceded a last-minute penalty for bringing down Matthew Lowton and Benteke made no mistake as he coolly slotted low into the bottom corner.

Pulis told BT Sport 1: "Obviously Ben will be disappointed with what happened. We scrapped away.

"First half I thought they were better than us, they were quicker to the ball and they looked the better team first half. Second half we got more into it and they had a couple of long-range shots and at the end it was a mistake, so it's very disappointing and hard to take."

The defeat leaves West Brom seven points above the relegation zone and Pulis added: "We dug in in the second half and we got the goal. Maybe we would have liked to chance one or two things but we haven't got people fit at the moment so we got on with what we have.

"One or two looked a little bit leggy today but having said that they have been absolutely magnificent the team and worked very, very hard and to lose a game like that is very disappointing."

Sherwood was delighted with the three points which moved Villa out of the bottom three and into 17th as they ended a run of 12 games without a win.

He said: "I think the last two games we haven't got what we deserved. We haven't been fantastic but I've seen a vast improvement there., especially in our first-half performance.

"I think against Newcastle we got a bit too edgy far too early, started kicking the ball back to front far too early. But after West Brom scored I wanted to play through the thirds, getting the midfield players on the ball and a little bit more rotation."

Sherwood praised the fans for a great atmosphere at Villa Park, adding: "It's important the guys go and spark the crowd and I think we did that early by our pressing without the ball. We weren't rushing, we were patient, and there was a good mixture to it and we gave the fans something to cheer about.

"It's a big football club and it's at the wrong end of the division.

"The boys gave the Villa fans something to cheer about tonight and they were fantastic and they stuck with us, even when we got pegged back."

PA

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