Aston Villa hold Newcastle to low-key stalemate

Aston Villa and Newcastle United played out a low-key 0-0 draw at Villa Park today. Villa failed to have a shot on target in front of a first home crowd of the season of just over 30,000.

Aston Villa and Newcastle United played out a low-key 0-0 draw at Villa Park today.

Villa failed to have a shot on target in front of a first home crowd of the season of just over 30,000.

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert named an unchanged XI after victory last week at Stoke City and included Carlos Sanchez and Joe Cole among his substitutes.

Lambert's opposite number Alan Pardew also selected an unaltered side from that which had started the previous outing, Sunday's 2-0 home loss to Manchester City, and had Siem De Jong on the bench.

In an uneventful first-half, the best chance fell to Remy Cabella midway through the period.

Emmanuel Riviere and Yoan Gouffran opened up the Villa defence with some slick passing before Gouffran's shot was blocked. The ball fell nicely for Cabella, but he dragged his effort hopelessly wide of Brad Guzan's far post.

Several minutes later, Riviere tested Guzan with a sharp drive.

However, with chances at a premium, both teams went into the halftime break at stalemate.

The second-half opened with Toon fullback Daryl Janmaat having a header tipped over by Guzan before the resulting corner found the Dutchman unmarked, but he couldn't power his effort past the Villa blockade.

On the hour, Lambert hauled off the ineffective Charles N'Zogbia to give a debut to Sanchez.

Almost ten minutes later, Pardew took off Vurnon Anita for debutant De Jong.

With barely 15 minutes left and the game petering out, both managers through on strikers. Darren Bent was on for Villa and Ayoze Perez for the visitors.

The match continued to meander, but Villa were rocked with an apparent knee injury for left-back Aly Cissokho. The Frenchman was forced off on his home debut and went immediately to the dressing room.

De Jong, on 87 minutes, created the best chance of the game for himself. The Dutchman pounced on a slack effort from Ashley Westwood before exchanging passes and firing close-range at Guzan. However, the big American refused to be beaten and battered the ball away.

A break from a corner involving Bent in injury-time saw him fouled by Mike Williamson. It was the Toon defender's second yellow card and he was off.

A minute later, the game was over, with both teams happy with point, if not with the uninspiring performance.

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