Wednesday 22 November 2017

Best extends Toon record

John Curtis

England striker Darren Bent squandered two golden chances as Aston Villa and Newcastle maintained their unbeaten start by sharing the spoils at Villa Park.

Leon Best earned Newcastle a deserved point as his third goal of the campaign cancelled out Gabriel Agbonlahor's early opener. Bent should have punished the Magpies only for his predatory instincts to desert him, and he completed a miserable afternoon by limping out of the action late on.

Charles N'Zogbia is also still struggling to adapt to life at Villa Park after his summer move from Wigan but Newcastle looked full of confidence, with midfielder Cheick Tiote a key figure.

Villa were indebted to a fine display from former Magpies goalkeeper Shay Given and defender James Collins in holding on for a point despite Bent's opportunities.

Despite early Newcastle pressure, Agbonlahor put Villa in front via their first attack after 13 minutes, finishing from close range after his initial effort from Barry Bannan's cross had been blocked by Fabricio Coloccini.

Bent then missed a golden chance to double Villa's lead, side-footing horribly wide from eight yards.

Newcastle equalised on 57 minutes when Best scored after Given had saved his first effort from Tiote's centre.

Bent had a great chance to restore Villa's lead after Steven Taylor made a hash of dealing with substitute Stephen Ireland's centre. Bent, however, failed to make a full contact on his lob and Taylor was able to get back and clear.

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