Newcastle in relegation mire after Villa draw

A composed performance by keeper Mark Bunn saw Aston Villa prevent Newcastle from earning what would have been a deserved victory at Villa Park on Saturday.

  • Aston Villa 0 Newcastle 0
  • Colback shoots over the bar
  • Mitrovic chips the ball over the crossbar
  • Bunn saves Wijnaldum’s shot
  • Mitrovic again blasts over the crossbar
  • Bunn saves Townesend’s free kick

Match summary

There was almost no action to talk about in the first 45 minutes of the match, bar a poor effort from Papiss Cisse which was comfortably gathered by Mark Bunn.

The second half was all Newcastle, with Andros Townsend regularly orchestrating chances from the right.

Aleksandar Mitrovic lacked the composure to capitalise on two excellent opportunities for the visitors, though, firing over the crossbar on both occasions.

Full report

There would have been no scenario in which Rafa Benitez would have been happy with a single point against this Aston Villa side.

But with fellow relegation candidates Sunderland notching up a neat 3-2 victory over Chelsea in a concurrent fixture, the Spaniard would be particularly distressed as the Black Cats leapfrog them into safety with a game in hand.

There was a very composed start to the match with both teams valuing possession over chance creation.

The first bit of action came as late as the 11th minute when Andros Townsend beat young Kevin Toner for pace and delivered a cross to the far post where it found Georginio Wijnaldum’s. Allan Hutton managed to get himself between the Dutch midfielder and the goal, however, and a corner was the only result of the move.

It was a full ten minutes before there was some goalmouth action. Cisse’s run was picked out by his Magpies teammate Vurnon Anita but the striker scuffed first-time shot and Bunn had no problems gathering it.

Neither teams displayed much incisiveness when going forward for the remainder of the half, with several passes going astray and crosses being misdirected or over-hit.

Cisse again failed to stretch Bunn, striking a shot directly at the Villa keeper after being picked out by Anita in the centre of the Villa box.

At half time the possession statistics favoured the home side but by an almost negligible margin. Neither team exhibited much desire, or, for that matter, ability to test their opposition’s defence.

The second half started with a fantastic chance for the visitors to take the lead. Townsend charged down the right and delivered a terrific low cross across the face of the Villa goal where it was met by Jack Colback, but the midfielder somehow blasted his shot over the bar from five yards out.

It was all Newcastle for the the remainder of the match. Townsend was a constant threat to the embattled home side, delivering several dangerous balls into the Villa area.

The Magpies’ next best opportunity came, ironically, from a very poor free kick by the former Tottenham player. His delivery was cleared directly to teammate Cheick Tioté whose pass found Aleksandar Mitrovic in the box. Villa keeper Bunn was off his line and the Newcastle striker’s attempt to chip the ball over him was overhit and landed on the roof of the net.

On 71 minutes Townsend again charged down the right flank and cut the ball back for Wijnaldum, whose powerful shot was kept out by Bunn.

The Villa keeper again kept his team in the match by doing well to intercept a dangerous low ball across the face of his goal ten minutes later.

Mitrovic again wasted an opportunity soon after when he did well to get to Chancel Mbemba’s terrific cross. But again is effort flew over the bar.

Bunn again came to the home side’s rescue five minutes into extra time by saving a fantastic 30-yard free-kick from the excellent Townsend.