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PREMIER LEAGUE: Late Villa goal denies West Brom

Aston Villa have scored a late leveller to force a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion in the West Midlands derby today.

West Brom have now secured two wins and two draws from their last four outings against Villa as they continue their impressive beginning to the campaign to go to sixth on the table as today's opponents find themselves sitting 15th.

West Brom were outplayed for much of the first half but managed to go ahead early in the second half when Shane Long reacted quickly to Ron Vlaar's attempted clearance from James Morrison's low cross from the right, deflecting the ball past Brad Guzan to give the visitors the lead.

With 10 minutes left, Villa equalised when substitute Darren Bent slotted home with his left foot from the edge of the six-yard box after a corner with Ron Vlaar's header falling to Ciaran Clark. His deflected effort rolled into the path of Bent who was on hand to fire it past Ben Foster for the 150th league goal of his career.

Long had a great chance to put the Baggies ahead when he narrowly missed with an unmarked header at the back post in the sixth minute before the dangerous Brett Holman had a couple of decent chances for Villa.

He let rip with a dipping effort from range which forced Foster to get fingertips to parry over the crossbar before the Australian later produced another sharp effort which the Albion keeper again did well to keep out.

Christian Benteke was a bit erratic in the first half and should have done better when he dispossessed Billy Jones on the left flank but fired over the bar after cutting back inside.

Early in the second half, Long fired a header from Zoltan Gera's rightwing cross into the back of the net but was flagged for offside prior to putting Steve Clarke's side ahead.

Gabriel Tamas fired in from range on an angle which Guzan did well to strongarm to safety and after the leveller, Bent had a great chance to put Villa ahead in the 88th minute when he curled wide of the mark from the edge of the area before Baggies substitute Romelu Lukaku put his angled effort straight at Guzan moments later.

In the end, however, Paul Lambert's Villa outfit were unable to press for a late winner although their performance was much-improved from the 4-1 loss to Southampton last week.

Albion will be happy to get a point after struggling for large portions of the 90 minutes but the hamstring injury to captain Chris Brunt in the first half is a bit of a worry.

Aston Villa: 1 (Darren Bent 80') West Bromwich Albion: 1 (Shane Long 51')

Villa Park, Birmingham - 34,489

Yellow cards:AV - Fabian Delph 23' WBA - Gabriel Tamas 90+4'

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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