Wednesday 20 September 2017

Villa fight back for point after sublime Shane Long brace

West Bromwich Albion's Shane Long celebrates scoring his teams second goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
West Bromwich Albion's Shane Long celebrates scoring his teams second goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood (left) celebrates scoring his teams second goal as West Bromwich Albion's Goran Popov looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire
Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood (left) celebrates scoring his teams second goal during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood scores his teams second goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood (left) celebrates scoring his teams second goal alongside teammate Gabriel Agbonlahor during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood (left) celebrates scoring his teams second goal alongside teammate Gabriel Agbonlahor during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood (left) celebrates scoring his teams second goal alongside teammate Gabriel Agbonlahor during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood (right) celebrates scoring his teams second goal as West Bromwich Albion's Goran Popov looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Aston Villa's Karim El Ahmadi scores his teams opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
West Bromwich Albion's Gareth McAuley (left) and Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Photo. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Aston Villa's Karim El Ahmadi scores his teams opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
West Bromwich Albion's Shane Long celebrates scoring his teams second goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.
West Bromwich Albion's Shane Long scores his teams second goal of the game during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Phil Medlicott

Aston Villa battled back from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw in their derby clash with midlands rivals West Brom at The Hawthorns.

Shane Long put Albion ahead in the third minute, delightfully controlling a long ball from Chris Brunt and slamming home.

And after Boaz Myhill dived to keep out an Aleksandar Tonev strike, the Baggies found themselves 2-0 up in the 11th minute as Long capitalised on a poor attempted pass by Leandro Bacuna, collecting the ball, taking it forward and chipping Brad Guzan deftly.

Stephane Sessegnon wasted a glorious chance to extend the lead, and Libor Kozak's shot then grazed the West Brom crossbar, but as half-time approached the hosts - with Long very much to the fore and Villa looking vulnerable at the back - seemed well in control.

Fit-again trio Andreas Weimann, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Fabian Delph had been restored to the Villa squad but only the bench, and 12 minutes into the second half their manager Paul Lambert threw them all on at once in an effort to give his side new impetus.

Ten minutes later Karim El Ahmadi pulled a goal back for the visitors, volleying in from Weimann's header.

And with 14 minutes of normal time remaining an Agbonlahor cross was only cleared by Goran Popov's head as far as Ashley Westwood, who equalised with a fine, swerving shot from distance.

The 2-2 outcome was a repeat of the result in the fixture at the same ground last year, although on that occasion it was West Brom who fought back from 2-0 down at half-time.

This draw also saved face for Lambert, whose claim pre-match that Villa were the "bigger club" of the two looked set to haunt him in the early stages.

Both teams now have 15 points from 12 games, with Albion 11th in the table and Villa 12th.

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