Best earns point for Magpies

Aston Villa and Newcastle maintained their unbeaten Premier League starts by sharing the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Villa Park on Saturday.

Last Updated: 17/09/11 at 17:36 Post Comment

Best: Netted his third goal of the season

Best: Netted his third goal of the season

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 in the closing stages.

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 keeper Shay Given and defender James Collins in holding on for a point despite Bent's opportunities.

The first chance fell to the Magpies with Best teeing up Yohan Cabaye 20 yards out and his shot flew only just wide.

Newcastle looked purposeful and Given had to be alert to turn a cross from Gabriel Obertan over the bar.

But after 13 minutes Agbonlahor put Villa in front via their first meaningful attack.

Bannan's left-footed cross picked out the England striker whose initial volley was blocked by Fabricio Coloccini.

But the ball dropped back straight into Agbonlahor's path and he made no mistake from close range.

Bannan's dipping volley from 25 yards out was only just off target, while Steve Taylor blocked a Stiliyan Petrov effort after good play by Fabian Delph.

Bent missed a golden chance to double Villa's lead after 26 minutes. Skipper Petrov manoeuvred his way to the by-line and squared the ball back across the box to the unmarked Bent only for the England player side-footed wide from eight yards out.

Newcastle still looked threatening and Given made a fine save to turn aside Steven Taylor's volley from Cabaye's corner.

Obertan was causing problems down the right flank and another teasing cross picked out Demba Ba whose shot was deflected for a corner.

Agbonlahor came close to striking for the second time a minute after the restart. N'Zogbia played the ball into Agbonlahor's feet and he managed to turn and fire in a low shot which beat the dive of Krul but curled inches wide.

Newcastle deservedly got back on level terms after 57 minutes through Best. The former Coventry striker was unmarked at the far post and his initial effort from Tiote's cross produced a fine save from Given, but Best had the easiest of chances to convert the rebound.

Petrov was booked for dissent, banging his fist into the turf, after bringing down Best.

Bent had another great chance to restore Villa's lead after a mistake by Steven Taylor in trying to deal with substitute Stephen Ireland's centre. Bent, however, failed to make a full contact on his lob over Krul and Steven Taylor was able to make amends for his error by clearing.

Albrighton dragged a shot just wide of the far post, before Given made a superb save to turn aside Cabaye's 87th-minute piledriver.

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Position Team P GD PTS
1 Liverpool 35 52 80
2 Chelsea 35 41 75
3 Man City 33 54 71
4 Arsenal 35 21 70
5 Everton 35 23 69
6 Tottenham 35 2 63
7 Man Utd 34 16 57
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9 Newcastle 35 -15 46
10 Stoke City 35 -10 44
11 C Palace 35 -13 43
12 West Ham 35 -10 37
13 Swansea 35 -4 36
14 Hull City 34 -9 36
15 A Villa 34 -14 35
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19 Fulham 35 -42 30
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