Aston Villa save point at Newcastle but remain rooted to the bottom

Jordan Ayew cancels out Fabricio Coloccini’s opener at a sodden St James’ Park

Jordan Ayew equalised for Aston Villa as they drew 1-1 with Newcastle United at St James’ Park. Photograph: Getty

Jordan Ayew equalised for Aston Villa as they drew 1-1 with Newcastle United at St James’ Park. Photograph: Getty

 

Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 1

Jordan Ayew’s piledriver denied Newcastle a third successive Barclays Premier League victory and handed relegation-haunted Aston Villa a glimmer of hope.

The Ghana international cancelled out a rare Fabricio Coloccini strike — his first goal in more than 13 months — and ensured a 1-1 draw on a rain-soaked evening at St James’ Park.

Villa grew into the game after finding themselves under the cosh for most of the first half and enjoyed the better of the second as the Magpies went to pieces in front of a crowd of 48,234.

Remi Garde’s side remain at the foot of the table — and few sides who have occupied that position at Christmas have survived — but the manner in which they played will at least give cause for a little more optimism.

Newcastle ran out having been warned by head coach Steve McClaren not to underestimate Villa, and the opening 45 minutes proved to be something of an arm-wrestle.

Neither keeper had a save of note to make for more than half an hour until Brad Guzan was called upon on the half-hour when Daryl Janmaat picked out Papiss Cisse with a whipped cross, but the striker’s header lacked both power and direction.

The Senegal international departed three minutes later through injury and was replaced, to popular acclaim, by Aleksandar Mitrovic, who was soon in the thick of the action.

Both the Serbia international and Georginio Wijnaldum were unable to reach Moussa Sissoko’s driven 33rd-minute cross, but Mitrovic forced the first genuine save of the game from Guzan with a looping 37th-minute header, and the home side took the lead from the resulting corner. Siem de Jong appeared to mishit his corner, but it was allowed to travel across the penalty area to Coloccini, who gleefully thumped it past Guzan’s despairing dive.

Standing water on the pitch was making life difficult for both sides, but Villa coped better as the half-time whistle approached and full-back Leandro Bacuna curled an injury-time free-kick into Rob Elliot’s midriff after Idrissa Gueye had been felled by Chancel Mbemba 25 yards out.

Elliot was extended significantly further by Jordan Veretout’s stinging left-foot drive within seconds of the restart and as Villa enjoyed their best spell of the game, Ayew volleyed high over after Paul Dummett had half-cleared a Veretout free-kick.

But De Jong really should have put the game to bed with 57 minutes gone when he was picked out unmarked by Wijnaldum beyond the far post, but somehow contrived to miss the target.

The visitors made their hosts pay with 61 minutes gone when, after substitute Rudy Gestede had forced a fingertip save from Elliot, Ayew smashed a stunning shot across the keeper and inside the far post to level.

McClaren’s men were rocking and they might have fallen behind four minutes later when Gestede only just failed to get a touch on Ayew’s teasing cross as he slid in.

Both sides went for the victory in a thrilling conclusion with Elliot denying Gestede a later winner and substitute Ayoze Perez passing up a last-gasp opportunity.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.