Midlands derby ends all square
Published 30/09/2012 | 18:07
Record signing Darren Bent came off the substitutes' bench to rescue a point for Aston Villa in a 1-1 draw against West Brom at Villa Park.
Bent was axed by Villa boss Paul Lambert with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke preferred upfront.
But he had only been on the pitch 11 minutes when he fired the equaliser in front of England head coach Roy Hodgson to cancel out Shane Long's opener.
Albion were in the ascendancy in the early stages and debutant Goran Popov appealed in vain for a penalty after his cross appeared to strike the arm of Marcus Albrighton.
Villa started to settle and Albion keeper Ben Foster finger-tipped a long-range drive from Brett Holman over the bar.
Albion were forced into a change five minutes before the interval when Chris Brunt sustained a leg injury blocking a cross from Matthew Lowton and was replaced by Graham Dorrans.
Benteke then carved out an opening for himself and winning a touch-line battle with Gareth McAuley but could not keep his shot down after cutting into the area.
Billy Jones became the second Albion player to hobble off on the stroke of half-time with a knee injury and he was replaced by Gabriel Tamas.
Long had the ball in the net five minutes into the second period only to have strayed a yard offside. But the former Reading player made no mistake when breaking the deadlock 60 seconds later with his fourth goal of the season, turning home James Morrison's cross.
Lambert brought on Bent mid-way through the second half in place of Benteke and he quickly made an impact with an 80th-minute equaliser. Ciaran Clark's volley from a Barry Bannan corner was blocked but Bent was perfectly placed to convert the loose ball and squeeze it home from six yards.