West Brom 2 Aston Villa 2 match report: Ashley Westwood rescues a point for Lambert’s 'big club'

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Villa came from two goals down to secure a point at the Hawthorns

Villa, who surrendered a two-goal lead when this fixture finished all square at 2-2 last season, achieved the same scoreline by the reverse route in a pulsating West Midlands derby on Monday night, pegging the home side back with two goals inside the final quarter of the match after Shane Long had struck twice early for Albion.

Steve Clarke’s team stretched Albion’s unbeaten run against Villa to six matches but there was the satisfaction for his Villa counterpart, Paul Lambert, of seeing a triple substitution change a game in which Albion at one time were threatening to swamp their rivals.

Villa were facing a steep uphill battle from the 11th minute onwards after Long had made a mug of centre-back Nathan Baker and then took advantage of a careless mistake by full-back Leandro Bacuna to double Albion’s lead.

Inside three minutes, the Republic of Ireland striker showed a fine first touch to control Chris Brunt’s probing pass over the top and jinked inside to leave Baker sliding away from him before firing low to Brad Guzan’s right.

Boaz Myhill, in the Albion goal, did well to keep out a deflected effort by Aleksandar Tonev as Villa sought a quick reply but then Long intercepted Bacuna’s casual crossfield pass to bear down on Guzan again, this time finishing his run with a deft chip over the Villa keeper and Baker’s stretching jump.

The second goal – the first time he has scored twice in a Premier League match – gave Long his fourth in as many games for club and country, having belatedly scored a first of the season at Chelsea before the international break, then found the net against Latvia in Martin O’Neill’s first game as Ireland manager. No surprise that the home crowd were in full voice, taking the opportunity to taunt for suggesting pre-match that Villa, despite finishing behind Albion for the last two seasons, were still the bigger club. It obliged Villa to be more expansive than they might have been and Libor Kozak went close with a shot that clipped Myhill’s bar. But Stéphane Sessègnon had by then missed a near-open goal on the end of a Morgan Amalfitano cross and it took a Ron Vlaar tackle and a Guzan block to deny Long a third.

The drive of Youssouf Mulumbu, the solidly efficient Claudio Yacob and the quick-thinking Brunt gave Albion a clear edge. Lambert’s reaction came 12 minutes into the second half, in a triple substitution, when Andreas Weimann and Fabian Delph replaced Tonev and Yacouba Sylla in midfield, with Gabby Agbonlahor relieving Kozak alongside Christian Benteke up front.

There was a dividend within 10 minutes, although only after Sessègnon had missed another chance for Albion. Bacuna crossed and Weimann won a header to divert the ball to Karim El Ahmadi, whose hooked volley looped in.

Albion seemed unsure whether to consolidate or push for a third. Villa scored the equaliser with 14 minutes remaining to set up a frenetic finish as Goran Popov’s badly directed clearing header from an Agbonlahor cross went straight to Ashley Westwood, whose shot from outside the box swerved away late to beat Myhill and give him his first Villa goal in his 42nd appearance.

Match facts

Goals. West Bromwich: Long 3, 11. Aston Villa: El Ahmadi 67, Westwood 76

WBA: Myhill, Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Popov, Mulumbu, Yacob, Amalfitano, Sessègnon, Brunt, Long

Villa: Guzan, Clark, Baker, Vlaar, Bacuna, Tonev, El Ahmadi, Westwood, Sylla, Kozak, Benteke

Substitutes: West Bromwich Albion: Morrison (Sessègnon, 73), Anichebe (Popov, 82).

Aston Villa Delph (Sylla, 57), Weimann (Tonev, 57), Agbonlahor (Kozak, 57).

Booked: West Bromwich Mulumbu.

Aston Villa Clark, Agbonlahor.

Man of the match Long. Match rating 8/10.

Possession: West Brom 51% Aston Villa 49%.

Attempts on target: West Brom 4 A Villa 7.

Referee M Oliver (Nortumberland). Att 24,902

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

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
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
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'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected