Darren Bent earns late point for Paul Lambert as Aston Villa preserve derby pride against West Brom

Aston Villa 1 West Bromich Albion 1

Villa Park

West Bromwich Albion arrived here today looking to emphasise their newly-acquired status as Midlands' football's top dogs – and they very nearly rubbed Aston Villa's noses in it. Leading through Shane Long's 51st-minute goal, it took a late strike from Darren Bent to earn Paul Lambert's team a point.

It was a point that Villa deserved on the basis of their vibrant first-half showing, and came as Bent proved a different kind of point. The England striker began on the bench as Lambert started with Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor in attack, but he came on for the former midway through the second period and duly provided a timely reminder of his predatory powers with a close-range finish in the 80th minute.

After Ron Vlaar had nodded on a Barry Bannan corner, Ciaran Clark had a shot blocked and the ball ran to Bent who applied an impeccable finish, sending a cool volley inside the far post.

Bent later told a Sky interviewer he had endured "a difficult couple of weeks", with losing the captaincy and then his starting place, Lambert preferred to focus on the striker's goal. "It was a world-class finish, that is what he does."

The watching England manager, Roy Hodgson, may need some convincing about Bent, who has yet to feature in his squad, but Lambert stressed that "[Bent] has got nothing to prove to me. I know what he can do."

Bent's goal denied Albion a second successive victory at Villa Park, and stopped them climbing to third in the table. As for Villa, they sit 15th, with just one Premier League win so far, but there were more encouraging signs after last Tuesday's 4-2 victory at Manchester City in the Capital One Cup.

Lambert's template seems to be young and hungry and their starting XI featured six players aged 23 or under and just one survivor, Agbonlahor, from this corresponding fixture last term. Villa were bright and positive in the first period, their best work coming from the Australian Brett Holman, roaming dangerously behind the strikers. He nearly provided a spectacular opening goal after 25 minutes, launching a half-volley fiercely goalwards from 30 yards that would have dipped under the crossbar but for an magnificent save by Ben Foster.

Foster thwarted the midfielder again before the break, throwing up a hand to claw away the ball after Holman, bursting forward on to Marc Albrighton's crossfield pass, had seen his strike deflect off Billy Jones.

 

 

The Albion goalkeeper had a shaky night against Liverpool last Wednesday but earned the praise of his manager, Steve Clarke, here. "He made one save in the first half off the deflected shot that was unbelievable," said the Scot. Albion had another let-off soon after when Benteke robbed Gareth McAuley out on the touchline, came inside but then shot high over the crossbar.

At that point all Albion had to show for their efforts was an early flurry when Long fluffed a close-range header and referee Anthony Taylor ignored a reasonable penalty shout when Goran Popov's cross came off Albrighton's arm. By half-time, moreover, they had lost two players to injury as captain Chris Brunt and full-back Jones limped off with hamstring and knee problems, to be replaced by Graham Dorrans and Gabriel Tamas.

Yet six minutes after the restart the visitors were in front. Long had just seen a headed goal ruled offside when he struck. It was a goal Villa captain Vlaar will not enjoy revisiting as he got to James Morrison's low cross first but swiped weakly at the ball and simply knocked it on to Long who tapped in.

At the other end Benteke's unhappy afternoon continued when he failed to knock in a loose ball in the six-yard box and before long, on came Bent to make his decisive contribution.

"The response was great, especially after 120 minutes the other night," said Lambert. Either side might have won it after that. West Brom substitute Romelu Lukaku saw a deflected shot shave the far post and also tested Brad Guzan at his near post. In between Bent curled just over.

"The players were disappointed to come to Villa and only get a point," said Clarke, "that speaks volumes for the way the club is moving." Villa are on the right track too on this evidence.

Subs: Aston Villa: N'Zogbia 5 (Albrighton, 66), Bent 6 (Benteke, 68) Bannan (Delph 71).

West Bromwich Albion: Dorrans 5 (Brunt, 39), Tamas 6 (Jones 45), Lukaku 6 (Long, 72). Booked: Aston Villa Delph.

Man of the match Holman.

Match rating 7/10.

Possession: Aston Villa 57%. West Brom 43%.

Attempts on target: Aston Villa 8. West Brom 7.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Manchester).

Attendance: 34,489.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home