O'Neill upbeat despite sharing spoils with the neighbours
Wolves 1 Aston Villa 1
Monday 26 October 2009
Considering that Aston Villa had already beaten Chelsea and Liverpool and suffered their only defeats against Wigan and Blackburn, an obvious conclusion from Saturday's stalemate at Molineux was that they have trouble disposing of lesser opposition.
Martin O'Neill, however, was having none of it. ''This was always going to be a tough game for us,'' the Villa manager said. ''It was a derby, which makes it hard in itself, against a side playing with plenty of spirit and enthusiasm. I'm just disappointed we didn't get to grip with the game early enough.''
If there was disappointment at the eventual dropping of two points after his side had taken the lead 11 minutes from time, O'Neill could take some positives from this highly competitive West Midlands derby. Villa put a poor first-half performance behind them to enjoy the better of the second, while their defence stood firm in the face of some enterprising play from Wolves, for whom Karl Henry was a tower of midfield strength and Michael Kightly a constant source of danger.
On this evidence O'Neill's main concern might be in midfield, where Henry and Segundo Castillo got the better of Steve Sidwell and Stiliyan Petrov. Wolves also looked a real force going forward, with Kightly always trying to support Kevin Doyle and Ebanks-Blake. The result could have been very different had Peter Walton awarded a penalty for what looked like a blatant pull by Dunne on Doyle in the third minute. It was not the first time this season that Wolves have not been given what seemed a clear spot-kick.
Even if Wolves faded in the second half, their response to Gabriel Agbonlahor's sixth goal in eight games was admirable. Within four minutes Ebanks-Blake had smashed a penalty into the roof of the net after Sidwell had brought down Kightly.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Hennessey; Zubar, Craddock, Berra, Elokobi; Edwards (Milijas, 75), Henry, Castillo, Kightly (Halford, 86); Ebanks-Blake (Iwelumo, 86), Doyle. Substitutes not used: Hahnemann (gk), Stearman, Keogh, Jarvis.
Aston Villa (4-4-2): Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock; Milner, Petrov, Sidwell, A Young; Agbonlahor, Carew (Heskey, 71). Substitutes not used: Guzan (gk), L Young, Delph, Reo-Coker, Gardner, Clark.
Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).
Booked: Wolves Zubar; Aston Villa Carew, Warnock.
Man of the match: Henry.
Latest in Sport
WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of WWE event
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
Gareth Bale to Chelsea: Real Madrid to be 'tempted by £75m offer' this summer
Manchester United transfer news: Chris Smalling and Phil Jones face uncertain future with contract renewal talks on hold
Malaysia Grand Prix 2015 LIVE: Sebastian Vettel wins in just his second race with Ferrari with Lewis Hamilton second and Nico Rosberg third
- 1 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 2 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 3 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Noel Gallagher: I lost sh*tloads of money, a few million, didn’t tell my wife
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew