Sheffield United 2 Aston Villa 2: Baros helps blunt Blades after stirring comeback

Villa's 10th draw in 17 Premiership matches might have been easy to predict as a newly determined Sheffield United put the resilience of Martin O'Neill's side to the test but the route by which it was reached would have surprised to anyone anticipating a battle of attrition.

The visitors were in front after little more than a minute but a stirring fight back from the home side turned the match on its head in the second half and, but for a lapse in concentration that allowed Villa an immediate equaliser, Neil Warnock's side might have been celebrating a third successive win. Even so, it was Villa who were the more relieved to hear the final whistle after the goalkeeper Stuart Taylor had been given a severe examination.

Taylor's saves from Rob Hulse and Stephen Quinn might have been the major talking point but for an altercation in the closing seconds between the United captain Chris Morgan and Villa's Juan Pablo Angel in which the Colombian appeared to strike out with an elbow as the two challenged for the ball inside the United penalty area. The incident so infuriated Morgan that Stuart McCall, the United assistant manager, had to intervene in the players' tunnel.

Warnock said: "I can't understand why the referee, Mark Halsey, did nothing about it; Chris was furious. Stuart had to run down the tunnel to make sure Chris went in the right direction."

The Villa manager Martin O'Neill said: "There were words exchanged but I'm not the tallest and I could not see who was involved. But nothing was thrown."

Both managers agreed it would be undesirable to let the incident overshadow an entertaining match in which the home side conceded a goal within 76 seconds of the start when Chris Sutton's attempt to set up Milan Baros was blocked and the ball ran kindly for Stiliyan Petrov, whose shot zipped past Paddy Kenny into the bottom corner.

The Bulgarian's first goal in 16 appearances for Villa set the standard for a contest between teams who matched each other for positive intent. Before half an hour had elapsed, Sutton had seen a diagonal header hit the bar and Kenny had pulled off a double save to keep out Gary Cahill.

By half-time, the visitors' goal was being increasingly threatened and, four minutes after the restart, Warnock's team were rewarded with an equaliser. Quinn, a 20-year-old Irishman making only his second Premiership appearance, volleyed home when Robert Kozluk's long throw-in was weakly headed away by Liam Ridgewell.

On 64 minutes United took the lead, Chris Morgan out-jumping Gavin McCann to Keith Gillespie's cross with Danny Webber on hand to hook the ball past Taylor. It was a moment of elation that faded almost instantly as Villa swept back upfield to get back on level terms, Baros lashing home his first goal of the season.

Hulse tested Taylor with another superb header but the goalkeeper was equal to it and, with the help of Aaron Hughes, kept out Hulse's follow-up as well as efforts from United substitute Christian Nade before another leap denied Quinn his second goal.

Goals: Petrov (2) 0-1; Quinn (50) 1-1; Webber (64) 2-1; Baros (65) 2-2.

Sheffield United (4-4-2): Kenny; Kozluk, Bromby, Morgan, Geary; Gillespie, Montgomery, Jagielka, S Quinn; Webber (Nade, 68), Hulse. Substitutes not used: Davis, A Quinn, Armstrong, Kazim-Richards.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Taylor; Mellberg, Cahill, Ridgewell, Bouma (Hughes, 67); Agbonlahor, Petrov, McCann, Davis (Osbourne, 75); Baros, Sutton (Angel, 83). Substitutes not used: Olejnik, Gardner.

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).

Booked: Sheffield United Kozluk Aston Villa Cahill.

Man of the match: Petrov.

Attendance: 30,957.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'