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Sylvan keeps his cool to deny Villa
Published : 24 Oct 2009 14:57:36
Gabriel Agbonlahor maintained his hot scoring streak by netting for the sixth time in eight games to put Villa ahead with 10 minutes remaining. But three minutes later Ebanks-Blake levelled from the penalty spot after Villa midfielder Steve Sidwell had brought down Michael Kightly. It was no more than Wolves deserved after a committed and tenacious performance although they were under the cosh for the majority of the second period. They restricted the visitors to only a handful of clear-cut chances with Jody Craddock impressing at the heart of the Wolves defence. Villa looked only a shadow of the side which had taken seven points from three meetings with Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea in recent weeks. And it will be of concern to manager Martin O'Neill that they have in contrast dropped points against the likes of Wigan, Blackburn and now their struggling Midlands rivals. Agbonlahor missed a golden chance to put the visitors ahead inside the first 90 seconds. A long clearance from goalkeeper Brad Friedel, making his 199th consecutive Premier League appearance, bounced straight through to the England player who found himself with only Wayne Hennessey to beat. But the 23-year-old sent a first time weak low shot straight at the Wolves keeper. Wolves retaliated and appeared to have strong claims for a penalty rejected by referee Peter Walton when central defender Richard Dunne held back Kevin Doyle as he looked to burst clear. Wolves were not overawed by their high-riding opponents and midfielder Christophe Berra was only just off target with a glancing header from Karl Henry's angled ball into the Villa box. Agbonlahor saw plenty of the ball and had one shot blocked by the head bandaged and impressive Jody Craddock when well positioned. Then Sidwell just failed to take a pass from Agbonlahor in his stride after making a run into the Wolves box. James Milner came to Villa's rescue when he cleared a goal-bound effort which hit the shoulder of Doyle from an inswinging Kightly corner. Ebanks-Blake hooked the ball over the bar from close range following yet another Kightly centre. Then Blake headed wide from a Kightly free-kick when well placed. Villa began the second half on the offensive and a cross from Young picked out Sidwell but his downward header was weak and did not trouble Hennessey. O'Neill's men now looked more purposeful and a mistake by Edwards allowed Petrov to release Ashley Young. But, after cutting inside, the England winger curled his shot well wide of Hennessey's left hand post. Carew became the first player to be yellow-carded after 55 minutes for a touch-line challenge on Zubar. Villa were becoming frustrated and Stephen Warnock was also booked for showing dissent toward one of referee Walton's assistants. Zubar was the next player to go in the book for a challenge on Ashley Young. Hennessey was fortunate after hesitating when dealing with a Milner cross as Agbonlahor just failed to get a touch at the far post. Ashley Young then screwed a 20-yard effort well wide after being released by Agbonlahor as Villa started to enjoy more possession. Hennessey parried over a shot from a narrow angle by Agbonlahor after he had got past Craddock. Sidwell was then unfortunate when his goal-bound shot was blocked by his own player in Dunne. Agbonlahor gave Villa the lead with his sixth goal in eight games after being teed up by Heskey. But Ebanks-Blake rescued a point for Wolves from the penalty spot after Sidwell had brought down Kightly.