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Bradford 3 Aston Villa 1 match report

Bradford 3 Aston Villa 1: Inspired Bantams on the verge of Wembley after sinking Villa

PUBLISHED:

21:38 GMT, 8 January 2013

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UPDATED:

21:38 GMT, 8 January 2013

An inspired performance from Bradford moved them closer to a trip to Wembley as they beat Aston Villa 3-1 in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg.

Nahki Wells opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he latched onto Zavon Hines’s deflected shot before Rory McArdle’s second-half header had the League Two side dreaming.

Andreas Weimann scored a late away goal for the Premier League side but Carl McHugh's header soon after gave the League Two side a two-goal lead going into the second leg at Villa Park on January 22.

More to follow

Opener: Wells gave Bradford the lead in the 19th minute

Opener: Wells gave Bradford the lead in the 19th minute

Shirty: The Bermudan striker celebrated by revealing a message

Shirty: The Bermudan striker celebrated by revealing a message

Shirty: The Bermudan striker celebrated by revealing a message

MATCH FACTS

Bradford: Duke, Darby, McArdle, McHugh, Good, Hines (Turgott 66), Gary Jones, Doyle, Atkinson, Wells, Hanson.

Subs not used: McLaughlin, Ravenhill, Reid, Ritchie Jones, Hannah, Connell.

Goals: Wells 19, McArdle 77, McHugh 88.

Booked: McHugh

Aston Villa: Given, Lowton, Clark, Baker, Bennett, Agbonlahor (Bent 57, Burke 85), Delph, Bannan, N'Zogbia, Benteke, Weimann.

Subs not used: Guzan, Ireland, Stevens, Lichaj, Carruthers.

Goal: Weimann 82.

Booked: N'Zogbia, Delph.

Att:

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

Liverpool 1 Aston Villa 3 – match report

Liverpool 1 Aston Villa 3: Ruthless Benteke runs riot at Anfield with two goals and an assist

PUBLISHED:

16:50 GMT, 15 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:07 GMT, 15 December 2012

Aston Villa exposed Liverpool's flaws and the flakiness of their challenge for a top-four place by inflicting the Reds' worst home defeat for more than three years.

Christian Benteke scored twice, either side of Andreas Weimann's well-worked goal, before Steven Gerrard's late consolation as the hosts' three-match winning run was ended in surprising fashion.

It was the first time Villa had scored more than once in any half of league football this season and extended their own unbeaten run to five matches, with only a second away win in 17 away league games.

Brilliant: Christian Benteke celebrated scoring his first goal at Anfield

Brilliant: Christian Benteke celebrated scoring his first goal at Anfield

MATCH FACTS

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Gerrard, Downing, Lucas (Henderson 60), Allen, Sterling, Shelvey (Cole 46), Suarez,

Subs not used: Jones, Coates, Carragher, Wisdom, Suso

Booked: Suarez

Goal: Gerrard 87

Aston Villa: Guzan, Clark, Lichaj, Baker, Lowton, Westwood, Bannan (El Ahmadi 85), Herd, Holman (Delph 69), Benteke, Weimann (N'Zogbia 90)

Subs not used: Given, Bennett, Albrighton, Bowery

Booked: Lowton, Benteke

Goals: Benteke 29, 51, Weimann 40

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Attendance: 44,607

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

Villa inflicted the same scoreline in
August 2009, and although both sides are at a lower level now, this was
a result no-one would have predicted.

The visitors almost doubled their
league away goals tally for the campaign, which now stands at seven, in
recording only their fifth Anfield victory in 34 visits.

Yet barely 24 hours earlier Liverpool
manager Brendan Rodgers had been talking about targeting second-placed
Manchester City so high was the confidence in his squad.

City are now 14 points ahead and,
worse still, Liverpool failed to take advantage of Everton's draw at
Stoke to close the gap on fourth place with many of their rivals playing
tomorrow.

For their part Villa moved three
points clear of the relegation zone. The opening half-hour was virtually
one-way traffic as the home side set off at pace in search of a third
successive Barclays Premier League victory for the first time since May
2011.

But their eagerness seemed to get the
better of them as there was an air of over-complication and lack of
finesse about their play in the final third.

Stewart Downing, who in the matchday
programme revealed Rodgers had told him he could leave and he would
assess his options in January, started left-back for the injured Jose
Enrique but enjoyed plenty of space down the flank.

From bad to worse: Pepe Reina is left on his back after Andreas Weimann put the ball beyond his reach

From bad to worse: Pepe Reina is left on his back after Andreas Weimann put the ball beyond his reach

Gerrard bundled a shot at goalkeeper
Brad Guzan after a poor pass behind him from Luis Suarez, returning
after suspension, rebounded back off Raheem Sterling before Downing shot
wide after cutting in on his right foot.

It continued with Joe Allen driving
wide, Gerrard's feet getting in a tangle after being picked out by
Suarez's inch-perfect cross-field ball, and Shelvey delaying his shot
long enough got Nathan Baker to block after Suarez capitalised on Chris
Herd's mistake.

Liverpool's inability to take their chances has hurt them in the past and it proved to be the case again in the 29th minute.

Tormentor: Benteke was rampant for Villa

Tormentor: Benteke was rampant for Villa

Coming together: Luis Suarez (right) collides with Brad Guzan

Coming together: Luis Suarez (right) collides with Brad Guzan

Brett Holman passed inside to
Benteke, who took a touch and – with no-one closing him down – unleashed
a low shot which beat Reina off the inside of his right-hand post.

What a difference the goal made as Villa suddenly started playing 30 yards further up the field.

It almost paid off when Weimann
seized on Glen Johnson's weak header to lob Reina, only for the ball to
drop on to the roof of the net.

The Austrian did not make the same mistake just before half-time with a brilliantly-worked goal.
Weimann released Benteke in the inside-right channel and raced into a
gaping hole in the Liverpool defence to turn the striker's clever
backheel under Reina.

Joe Cole's emergence for the second
half at the expense of Shelvey highlighted the lack of genuine
match-winners outside of Rodgers' first XI.

Contested: Liverpool could not capitalise on their strong start

Contested: Liverpool could not capitalise on their strong start

Cheery: Brendan Rodgers had the smile wiped off his face when Benteke and Co ran riot

Cheery: Brendan Rodgers had the smile wiped off his face when Benteke and Co ran riot

They should, however, have got back
into the game early in the second half when Ciaran Clark clearly pulled
Daniel Agger's shirt in the penalty area, but referee Neil Swarbrick
maintained Liverpool's record of not winning a penalty this season by
ignoring the appeals.

It proved costly as when Cole was
robbed by Holman on the halfway line, Benteke was sensibly quickly given
possession and he danced through the Reds backline to chip a shot past
Reina.
Liverpool laid siege to Guzman's goal in the final half-hour, with
further claims for a penalty when Johnson's header hit Baker's arm also
going unanswered.

When they finally made a breakthrough it came too late with Gerrard heading in Johnson's cross-shot three minutes from the end.

There was just enough time left for
Benteke to escape with a yellow card for pushing Johnson in the face in
front of a rapidly-emptying Anfield.

Double trouble: Benteke and Weimann ensured Villa were out of sight by the time Steven Gerrard scored

Double trouble: Benteke and Weimann ensured Villa were out of sight by the time Steven Gerrard scored

Notching them up: Weimann has been in fine form of late

Notching them up: Weimann has been in fine form of late

Aston Villa 1 Reading 0 – match report: Christian Benteke strikes late

Aston Villa 1 Reading 0: Who needs Bent when you've got Benteke Big Belgian saves the day for Lambert

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UPDATED:

02:08 GMT, 28 November 2012

Paul Lambert’s gamble on youth looked brave when he decided upon his Premier League strategy at the start of the season.

For 80 minutes, as Aston Villa made heavy weather of escaping the relegation zone, his decision looked increasingly desperate.

The former Norwich City boss stamped his credentials on the club within days of arriving in the post vacated by Alex McLeish. They were again evident as he once more omitted Darren Bent from his matchday squad.

Magic moment: Christian Benteke scored the only goal of the game with a late header

Magic moment: Christian Benteke scored the only goal of the game with a late header

Rise and fall: Benteke leaps above the defender to break the deadlock

Rise and fall: Benteke leaps above the defender to break the deadlock

MATCH FACTS

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Baker, Clark, Stevens (Lichaj 24), Holman (Ireland 67), Westwood, Bannan, Weimann (Albrighton 68), Agbonlahor, Benteke.

Subs not used: Given, Ireland, El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Delph, Bowery, Lichaj.

Booked: Clark.

Goal: Benteke 80.

Reading: Federici, Cummings, Morrison, Mariappa, Shorey, Robson-Kanu (McCleary 83), Leigertwood, Tabb, McAnuff, Roberts (Hunt 79), Le Fondre.

Subs not used: Taylor, Pearce, Pogrebnyak, McCleary, Harte, Gunnarsson.

Att: 28,692.

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).

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But with 10 minutes to play of an
encounter with Reading that had only added to the air of general
frustration inside Villa Park, salvation was to hand.

It came in the shape of striker
Christian Benteke, an 8million signing from Genk on deadline day who is
rapidly proving to be one of the finds of the season.

He has the raw power of a young Emile
Heskey and his fifth goal of the campaign was one the former England
forward would have been proud of.

Ashley Westwood swung a corner to the
far post and the Belgium international out-jumped his marker, Sean
Morrison, to head home a goal that may prove priceless in the eventual
outcome of Lambert’s inaugural season.

In fairness to the Villa manager, his
side had looked by far the likelier of the two to find the net. The
noise which greeted Benteke’s winner was a mixture of relief and
elation.

And possibly nowhere more so was the
victory warmly received than on the home bench. Lambert swapped dug-outs
during the summer to be closer to Villa’s core support in the Holte
End.

Although he has made the right noises
so far, those which were coming back at him were the voices of a
supporter-base that was growing increasingly tired of platitudes. After
all, this was just Villa’s third home league victory in 13 months.
Unsurprisingly then, Lambert hailed match-winner Benteke.

‘He’s been fantastic for this club,
and for the national team,’ he said. ‘He’s growing up. For his age, he’s
a strong lad with very good ability. He always seems to get a chance,
whether it’s a header or a shot. He’s becoming a real fans’ favourite.’

Weimann wonders how he missed

Bannan and Tabb scrap for the ball

Blunder: Andreas Weimann (left) missed a great chance, while Barry Bannan and Jay Tabb fight for the ball

Take that: Villa's Nathan Baker (right) dives in on Jason Roberts

Take that: Villa's Nathan Baker (right) dives in on Jason Roberts

One person who is nowhere near the description of being a manager’s favourite, however, is Bent.

Despite the fact that Villa had not
scored in four of their last eight games and were struggling in front of
goal, Lambert believed untried signing Jordan Bowery carried more of a
goal threat than Bent.

‘I have no problem with his attitude
in training, none whatsoever,’ said Villa’s boss, ‘I watch him train
every day. I live and die by my decisions. I’ve picked a team to win,
not to lose.’ Asked what Bent needed to do to force his way back into
his thinking, Lambert replied: ‘Train well and play well.’

Lambert named a Villa team that
contained eight players aged 23 or under in a contest that for all the
world could be labelled a six-pointer. It was the youngest average age
of a Villa side in the Premier League era.

Attrition: Enda Stevens (right) vies for the ball with Reading forward Adam Le Fondre

Attrition: Enda Stevens (right) vies for the ball with Reading forward Adam Le Fondre

Struggle: Reading's Shaun Cummings and Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor battle for the ball

Struggle: Reading's Shaun Cummings and Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor battle for the ball

They were on top for long periods. It
will be of little relevance to Lambert that had Bent been on the pitch,
the contest may have been decided far earlier.

As it was, Andreas Weimann blazed over
the best chance of the first-half. Ciaran Clark was off-target with two
near-post headers and Benteke shot tamely into Adam Federici’s arms
when well-placed.

Referee Lee Probert failed to award a
spot-kick after Adrian Mariappa’s clumsy challenge on Weimann as the
Austria forward was making his way away from goal. At the other end,
Brad Guzan had blocked from Hal Robson-Kanu during the early skirmishes.

What is this Brian McDermott looks on as the teams churned out a dull game

What is this Brian McDermott looks on as the teams churned out a dull game

Until Jason Roberts twisted and turned
his way into the area only for Guzan to block a much simpler shot with
his legs, that was about as good as it got for the visitors.

The travelling support pleaded with
manager Brian McDermott to make a change. ‘It was a good idea, making a
sub,’ he said wryly afterwards. But Noel Hunt’s introduction had little
effect. Of far more relevance was the statistic that Reading have now
conceded 16 times in the last half-hour this season. It’s a trend that
could prove costly.

‘It was not a six-pointer,’ said
McDermott. ‘It’s a game of football. Villa have 13 points, they want
more than that. We have nine and we want more than that.’

But for Benteke, Reading would have.

Is that the time Paul Lambert checks his watch

Is that the time Paul Lambert checks his watch

Salvation: Benteke's goal was the highlight of the match

Salvation: Benteke's goal was the highlight of the match

VIDEO: ASTON VILLA 1 READING 0: MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

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Aston Villa v Manchester United live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Aston Villa v Manchester United – as it happens from Villa Park

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UPDATED:

18:18 GMT, 10 November 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Aston Villa host Manchester United at Villa Park to conclude Saturday's action. Paul Lambert's team sit just one place above the bottom three and face a tough task to defeat the Red Devils who have not tasted a league loss at the West Midlands side since 1995. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Aston Villa 1-0 Manchester United (5.30pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar,
Clark, Stevens, Weimann, Westwood, Ireland, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke.
Subs: Given, El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Holman, Delph, Bowery, Williams.

Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand,
Smalling, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Young, Rooney, Van Persie.
Subs: Lindegaard, Anderson, Hernandez, Welbeck, Cleverley, Fletcher,
Buttner.

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

Click here for the live Premier League table

Half-time: Aston Villa 1-0 Manchester United

45+1min: GOAL! ASTON VILLA 1-0 Manchester United

44min: So it's come to this…Wayne Rooney picks the ball up in space 30 yards out, but decides to shoot.

Guzan is more than happy to make a routine catch from the effort. Villa will be happy to watch those all day long.

42min: Still United's possession stands at 70 per cent, but I can't remember the last time a side did so little despite having so much of the ball.

Matthew Lowton attacks the right wing for Villa, but despite a cheeky nutmeg on Ferdinand, his eventual cross is cleared.

40min: Much to Rio Ferdinand's puzzling anger, the defender concedes a free-kick 30 yards out after tripping Benteke.

The set-piece is swung into the box but the visitors clear.

37min: First shot in anger from Villa as Stephen Ireland fires narrowly wide from distance across goal. David De Gea had it covered however.

35min: Excellent defending from Enda Stevens. The full-back stands his ground at left-back to not only prevent Valencia from sending in a cross, but he forces the winger to track back towards the halfway line.

The ball is instead switched to Young, whose through ball attempt only finds the hands of Guzan.

32min: The last few minutes have seen Villa camped inside their own half as they begin to struggle keeping possession.

The defence is holding firm for now though, blocking crosses from Evra and Antonio Valencia.

29min: Rooney and Van Persie finally combine on the edge of the box to thread through Young, but Ron Vlaar is first to the ball and wins a free-kick following an infringement from the former Villa winger.

26min: It's a slow tempo so far but this game remains intriguing as United start to make their class tell. For the record though, Guzan has had very little to do in the Villa goal.

23min: Some credit to the Aston Villa defence at this stage, they have kept Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney very quiet so far.

20min: The 19th minute comes and goes with the home fans applauding as a mark of respect to captain Stiliyan Petrov's battle with leukaemia.

Possession stats show Villa have only had 30 per cent of the ball but they have looked very threatening when they do have it.

17min: This is a great start from Paul Lambert's side but the final ball is lacking. Gabriel Agbonlahor has been found in space on the right flank a couple of times now, but his latest cross into the box is frustratingly behind Benteke. Lambert's frustration is visible to see.

Out of reach: Manchester United's Robin van Persie (white) battles with Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar

Out of reach: Manchester United's Robin van Persie (white) battles with Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar

14min: Great opening for Villa, but naivety costs the hosts after Andreas Weimann storms through the centre.

With options to pass to his left and right the striker does neither and the the visitors block the Austrian's path into the 18-yard box.

12min: The game has evened out since United's confident start. Paul Scholes has even given the ball away but Patrice Evra was alert to put halt to any potential danger with a clearance to touch.

10min: From OptaJoe:

16 – Manchester United’s unbeaten run of 16 Premier League games at Villa Park is the longest unbeaten away run in PL history. Comfortable.

9min: Some pressure from Villa. United fail to clear a corner, and as the ball is headed back in, it falls for Christian Benteke.

The Belgian looks poised to score until Young quickly reacts to stab the ball behind for a corner which the visitors this time clear.

7min: From InfostradaLive:

Aston Villa’s starting line-up has an average age of 24 years and 61 days – their third-youngest ever in PL history, youngest since 2003.

6min: Young, still getting heavily booed, does well to cut inside from the left flank, but his 25-yard shot fails to trouble Guzan as it flies off target…much to the delight of the home crowd.

3min: United on top at the start as Michael Carrick heads a corner straight to Brad Guzan.

Ashley Young, on his return to Villa Park, is getting jeered by the home fans every time he touches the ball.

Kick-off: Away we go.

Mark of respect: Both teams paid a minute silence ahead of Remembrance Day

Mark of respect: Both teams paid a minute silence ahead of Remembrance Day

17.29: There was a minutes' silence as a mark for Remembrance Day, which is tomorrow, before kick-off, which sadly was interrupted a few times by the odd random shout. Disappointing to say the least.

17.24: The players are out at Villa Park. For all these negative stats against Aston Villa, remember Tottenham ended a recent hoodoo against Manchester United – all good runs come to an end at some point.

17.21: From InfostradaLive:

Manchester United have failed to score once in their last 15 PL visits to Villa Park. Villa have failed to score 10 times over the same period.

17.18: Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson spoke to Sky Sports before the game:

'Chris Smalling available is a bonus with the defenders being injured so many times now.

'The experience in the midfield will be important to us, we’ve done well here because we have played well. I think the players enjoy the atmosphere.

17.15: Manchester United defender Jonny Evans and winger Nani are ruled out of the Barclays Premier League clash at Aston Villa with groin and hamstring injuries respectively.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson restores Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Young and Robin Van Persie to the starting line-up after making changes for the mid-week Champions League win away to Braga.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert hands a first Premier League start to left-back Enda Stevens.

The 22-year-old Irishman is given his opportunity with Joe Bennett ruled out through injury and Eric Lichaj suspended.

Trusted veteran: Paul Scholes (left) starts for Manchester United

Trusted veteran: Paul Scholes (left) starts for Manchester United

17.12: Full line-ups from Villa Park:

Aston Villa v Man Utd
Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Stevens, Weimann, Westwood, Ireland, Bannan, Agbonlahor, Benteke. Subs: Given, El Ahmadi, Albrighton, Holman, Delph, Bowery, Williams.

Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Smalling, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Young, Rooney, Van Persie. Subs: Lindegaard, Anderson, Hernandez, Welbeck, Cleverley, Fletcher, Buttner.

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)

17.09: From OptaJoe:

1 – Aston Villa have won one of the last 33 Premier League meetings with Manchester United (W1 D9 L23). /11/09/article-2230485-15D401B0000005DC-887_634x490.jpg” width=”634″ height=”490″ alt=”Hotshot: Robin van Persie has scored eight goals in his last 10 Manchester United games” class=”blkBorder” />

Hotshot: Robin van Persie has scored eight goals in his last 10 Manchester United games

Aston Villa 1 Norwich 1 – match report: Paul Lambert denied victory

Aston Villa 1 Norwich 1: Lambert fails to get one over old pals after Turner strikes late

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UPDATED:

14:02 GMT, 27 October 2012

Norwich defender Michael Turner
denied Paul Lambert a victory against his former club and ensured the
Aston Villa boss's bold decision to drop Darren Bent would come under
huge scrutiny.

Christian Benteke had appeared to justify Lambert's decision to axe Bent from his starting line-up for the third time in four matches with Villa's 27th minute opener.

But Villa were forced to defend desperately after left-back Joe Bennett's sending-off early in the second period before Turner earned the Canaries a deserved share of the spoils.

Points shared: Norwich defender Michael Turner (centre) celebrates scoring the equaliser

Points shared: Norwich defender Michael Turner (centre) celebrates scoring the equaliser late in the game

Match facts

Aston Villa:
Guzan, Herd, Vlaar, Lowton, Bennett, Albrighton, El Ahmadi, Holman
(Weimann 76), Delph, Agbonlahor (Lichaj 54), Benteke (Bent 70).

Subs not used: Given, Ireland, Westwood, Bannan.

Goals: Benteke 27

Booked: Herd

Sent off: Bennett

Norwich:
Ruddy, Russell Martin (Ryan Bennett 46), Bassong, Turner, Garrido,
Elliott Bennett (Snodgrass 64), Tettey, Johnson (Morison 70),
Pilkington, Hoolahan, Holt.

Subs not used: Rudd, Howson, Jackson, Barnett.

Goals: Turner 79

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)

Attendance: 33,184

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Fittingly the Norwich goal was created by Wes Hoolahan who was the most creative player on either side.

Villa have now won only one of their last 19 league matches and they were indebted to a trio of fine saves from keeper Brad Guzan for earning them a point.

Norwich fans greeted the arrival of Lambert into the dug-out with a chant of 'there's only one Chris Hughton' but there was no verbal animosity directed at their former manager.

Norwich, fresh from last weekend's win over Arsenal, knocked the ball around in confident fashion in the early stages.

But it was Villa midfielder Brett Holman who produced the first attempt on goal. He exchanged passes with Karim El Ahmadi before firing a low drive which Canaries keeper John Ruddy got his body behind.

Norwich looked full of confidence but Elliott Bennett dragged his shot well wide from the edge of the box.

It needed a fine save by Guzan to keep his side on level terms after 22 minutes. Grant Holt threaded the ball through to Hoolahan who was left with only Guzan to beat but the United States international managed to block the shot with his left foot. Guzan then cut out an attempted knock back across goal from Holt aimed at the unmarked Anthony Pilkington.

Predator: Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke opens the scoring in the first half with a smart finish

Predator: Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke opens the scoring in the first half with a smart finish

New hero: Benteke celebrates in front of the home fans after his strike against Norwich

New hero: Benteke celebrates in front of the home fans after his strike against Norwich

But then against the run of play Villa went ahead through Benteke's second goal since his 7million summer move from Genk after 27 minutes. Gabriel Agbonlahor held the ball up before releasing the overlapping Holman and his cross found Benteke completely unmarked. The Belgian international had time to pick his spot before sliding the ball past Ruddy into the corner of the net.

Villa defender Joe Bennett became the first player to be yellow carded for a challenge on Elliott Bennett. A long pass from Fabian Delph was brought under control by Benteke inside the Norwich box but his eventual shot was deflected wide.

Roar of delight: Paul Lambert celebrates as Villa take the lead against his former club

Denied victory: Lambert

Roar of delight: Paul Lambert celebrates as Villa take the lead but his afternoon turned sour later in the game

Norwich made a half-time change with defender Russell Martin replaced by Ryan Bennett.

Villa were reduced to 10 men after 52 minutes when Joe Bennett collected a second yellow card for another offence against Elliott Bennett. It led to Lambert bringing off Agbonlahor and replacing Joe Bennett with Eric Lichaj at left-back.

Axed: Darren Bent (left) sat on the bench next to Stephen Ireland after being dropped by Paul Lambert

Axed: Darren Bent (left) sat on the bench next to Stephen Ireland after being dropped by manager Lambert

Norwich had more of the possession with their numerical advantage but Elliott Bennett's poor touch let him down after a probing ball over the top of the Villa back four from Bradley Johnson. Villa defender Chris Herd was booked for persistent fouling after 62 minutes.

Guzan made his second crucial save of the game when he blocked a rising close range attempt from Hoolahan after Pilkington had supplied the telling pass.

Herd then made a crucial block on a Hoolahan header after Holt headed back across goal into his path before Bent replaced Benteke after 69 minutes.

Last line of defence: Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan (centre) punches the ball clear

Last line of defence: Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan (centre) punches the ball clear

On the attack: Norwich striker Grant Holt (second left) shoots at goal during the first half

On the attack: Norwich striker Grant Holt (second left) shoots at goal during the first half

Guzan was again Villa's saviour when he saved Holt's low drive after he broke clear but he had no chance of preventing Turner's equaliser after 79 minutes.

Pilkington's quickly taken corner picked out Hoolahan and his inswinging cross was met by Turner whose glancing header flew into the far corner of the net.

Aston Villa 1 West Brom 1: Match report

Aston Villa 1 West Brom 1: Super sub Bent cancels out Long's opener to earn point

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UPDATED:

17:01 GMT, 30 September 2012

Record signing Darren Bent came off the substitutes' bench to rescue a point for Aston Villa in a pulsating Barclays Premier League derby with West Brom at Villa Park.

Bent was axed by Villa boss Paul Lambert with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke preferred upfront.

But he had only been on the pitch 11 minutes when he fired the equaliser in front of England head coach Roy Hodgson to cancel out Shane Long's opener.

That'll do it: Bent scores late on for Villa

That'll do it: Bent scores late on for Villa

Match facts:

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett, Albrighton (N'Zogbia 66min), Holman, El Ahmadi, Delph (Bannan 71min) Agbonlahor, Benteke (Bent 68min).

Subs not used: Given, Westwood, Weimann, Lichaj.

Goal: Bent 80

West Brom: Foster, Jones (Tamas 45+2min), McAuley, Olsson, Popov, Morrison, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt (Dorrans 39min), Gera, Long (Lukaku 72min).

Goal: Long 51

Subs not used: Luke Daniels, Rosenberg, El Ghanassy, Fortune.

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All square: Aston Villa striker Darren Bent scores to make it 1-1

All square: Aston Villa striker Darren Bent scores to make it 1-1

Opening up: Shane Long puts the Baggies ahead

Opening up: Shane Long puts the Baggies ahead

Making no mistake: Shane Long scores for West Brom from close range

Making no mistake: Shane Long scores for West Brom from close range

Going close: Gabriel Agbonlahor has a shot for Villa

Going close: Gabriel Agbonlahor has a shot for Villa

High jump: Matthew Lowton competes for the ball with Chris Brunt

High jump: Matthew Lowton competes for the ball with Chris Brunt

Taking a tumble: Karim El Ahmadi tackles Yousuff Mulumbu

Taking a tumble: Karim El Ahmadi tackles Yousuff Mulumbu

Battle for the ball: Aston Villa's Brett Holman challenges Billy Jones

Battle for the ball: Aston Villa's Brett Holman challenges Billy Jones

Midfield battle: Chris Brunt tries to win the ball from Marc Albrighton

Midfield battle: Chris Brunt tries to win the ball from Marc Albrighton

Frustration: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert sees a chance go wide

Frustration: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert sees a chance go wide

Warm embrace: Paul Lambert and Steve Clarke shake hands before the game

Warm embrace: Paul Lambert and Steve Clarke shake hands before the game

West Ham 1 Aston Villa 0

West Ham 1 Aston Villa 0: Hammers off to flying start thanks to Nolan strike

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UPDATED:

15:57 GMT, 18 August 2012

Kevin Nolan's first-half goal ensured West Ham got off to a winning start on their return to the Premier League.

The midfielder was on hand to slot home Ricardo Vaz Te's cross with just five minutes remaining in the opening period.

Villa were unable to fight back as Paul Lambert endured a miserable start to his tenure.

More to follow…

Off and running: Kevin Nolan celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game for West Ham

Off and running: Kevin Nolan celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game for West Ham

MATCH FACTS

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Reid, Collins, McCartney, Noble, Diame, Nolan, Vaz Te, Cole, Taylor.

Subs: Henderson, Tomkins, Maynard, Maiga, O’Brien, Diarra, O’Neil.

Goal: Nolan 40

Aston Villa: Given, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Baker, Holman, El Ahmadi, Delph, N’Zogbia, Ireland, Bent.

Subs: Guzan, Bannan, Weimann, Lichaj, Herd, Burke, Gardner.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)

Check out all the latest, stats, facts and table from the Premier League

Winner: Nolan got on the end of Ricardo Vaz Te's cross to put West Ham in front

Winner: Nolan got on the end of Ricardo Vaz Te's cross to put West Ham in front

Controversy: Aston Villa felt there was an offside in the build-up to West Ham's goal

Controversy: Aston Villa felt there was an offside in the build-up to West Ham's goal

Duel: Winston Reid of West Ham United and Darren Bent of Aston Villa battle for the ball

Duel: Winston Reid of West Ham United and Darren Bent of Aston Villa battle for the ball

Welcome back: Sam Allardyce enjoyed a winning return to the Premier League

Welcome back: Sam Allardyce enjoyed a winning return to the Premier League

Fabian Delph re-joins Leeds on loan from Aston Villa

To Ell-and back for Delph as Villa midfielder re-joins former club Leeds on loan

Fabian Delph has returned to Elland Road after signing a one-month loan deal with Leeds.

The 22-year-old midfielder, who left Simon Grayson's side to join Aston Villa for 6m in the summer of 2009, has being made available for loan by boss Alex McLeish.

To Ell-and back: Fabian Delph has left Aston Villa to re-join former club Leeds on loan

To Ell-and back: Fabian Delph has left Aston Villa to re-join former club Leeds on loan

Delph was a regular in the Villa midfield in the first half of the season but has not featured for the first-team since mid-December.

Leeds boss Grayson told the club's
official website: 'As everyone knows Fab is a talented footballer who
did very well here and secured himself a big move on the back of what he
did.

Delight: Leeds boss Simon Grayson is pleased to have Delph back at the club

Delight: Leeds boss Simon Grayson is pleased to have Delph back at the club

'This is a great deal for both parties. Fab will get some football and he is the calibre of player that we've been looking to bring in here.'

Delph made 46 league appearances in his first spell with the West Yorkshire side and will be available to face Ipswich in the npower Championship on Saturday, with the deal due to expire on February 25.

Bristol Rovers 1 Aston Villa 3: Three and easy for Alex McLeish"s men

Bristol Rovers 1 Aston Villa 3: Three and easy for McLeish's men

Aston Villa survived a late rally from Bristol Rovers to advance to the fourth round of the FA Cup at the Memorial Stadium.

Marc Albrighton gave the Premier League visitors a first-half lead before Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ciaran Clark struck after the break to put them in complete control.

Rovers, with caretaker boss Shaun North in charge following the midweek departure of Paul Buckle, battled gamely and pulled one back in added time through Scott McGleish, but the veteran then missed the chance to set up a thrilling finale as his penalty was saved by Brad Guzan.

Easy does it: Gabriel Agbonlahor celebrates the second goal

Easy does it: Gabriel Agbonlahor celebrates the second goal

MATCH FACTS

Bristol Rovers: Poke, Woodards, Downes, Bolger, Sawyer, Anyinsah, Stanley, Dorman, Carayol (McGleish 28), Zebroski, Richards (Brown 79).
Subs Not Used: Cronin, Smith, Anthony, McLaggon, Goddard.

Goal: McGleish 90.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Dunne, Collins (Gardner 74), Warnock, Albrighton, Ireland, Petrov (Bannan 82), Clark, Bent, Heskey (Agbonlahor 46).
Subs Not Used: Marshall, N'Zogbia, Delph, Weimann.

Goals: Albrighton 35, Agbonlahor 64, Clark 78.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire).

Attendance: 10,883

While his side are in the draw for the
next round, Villa boss Alex McLeish has injury worries over Emile Heskey
and James Collins who were forced off.

McLeish had named a strong side but, with a passionate full house behind
them, the League Two strugglers, who lie 74 places below Villa in the
league pyramid, made an encouraging start in their hunt for an upset.

Chris Zebroski raced past Stephen Warnock down the right and followed
that up with a strike from the edge of the area that was comfortably
saved by Guzan.

Villa did not help themselves by misplacing a number of passes on a
heavy surface, but they soon began to take a stranglehold on the game
without ever looking particularly impressive.

Chances soon followed as Heskey steered Stephen Ireland's inviting cross
over the bar before goalkeeper Michael Poke, making just his second
appearance since joining on loan from Brighton, made an excellent save
from the striker as he tipped his firm header to safety.

Albrighton rocks: The Villa winger (left) scored the opener

Albrighton rocks: The Villa winger (left) scored the opener

Aaron Downes was then forced into a wild sliced clearance after Stiliyan Petrov had headed beyond the goalkeeper moments later.

With the pressure building on Rovers it was no surprise when Villa's
first goal duly arrived in the 35th minute, Petrov's lovely pass
allowing Albrighton in behind the defence on the right side of the area
to fire through Poke's legs.

Warnock should have doubled their advantage three minutes later when
Ireland's cheeky dummy left the full-back in acres of space, but he
could only fire wastefully over.

Captain marvel: Stiliyan Petrov impressed for the visitors

Captain marvel: Stiliyan Petrov impressed for the visitors

Heskey was withdrawn at the interval after a recurrence of an Achilles problem, with Agbonlahor his replacement.

Rovers finally carved out their first genuine effort on goal early in
the second half as Joe Anyinsah found space on the right, but substitute
McGleish flashed wildly at his pull back.

That proved costly as Agbonlahor, who had looked lively since his arrival, gave Villa a two-goal cushion in the 64th minute.

Icing on the cake: Ciaran Clark scored a brilliant solo goal

Icing on the cake: Ciaran Clark scored a brilliant solo goal

The striker took advantage of a defensive slip by Cian Bolger to run in
on goal and calmly guide the ball into the bottom right-hand corner for
his sixth goal of the season.

Anyinsah, who was by far the home side's most threatening attacker, pushed an effort wide as Rovers continued to toil.

Villa suffered another blow when Gary Gardner replaced Collins, with the
Wales international limping off with what appeared to be a calf
problem.

Penalty miss: McGleish was denied a second goal by Brad Guzan

Penalty miss: McGleish was denied a second goal by Brad Guzan

It did little to upset Villa's comfort as Clark seemingly sealed the win
with 12 minutes to go as the Republic of Ireland international cut in
from the right to curl home a low left-footed shot.

But the home side got a goal back in stoppage time when Richard Dunne's
woeful pass only succeeded in finding the loitering McGleish, who lofted
the ball over Guzan.

Hopes of the most unlikely of comebacks were raised when Warnock capped
his poor night by handling in the area seconds later, but McGleish's
weak spot-kick was simple for Guzan to keep out and the chance was gone.

Bristol Rovers v Aston Villa live

FA CUP LIVE: Bristol Rovers v Aston Villa – follow the action from the Memorial Stadium as it happens

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the FA Cup as Bristol Rovers host Aston Villa at the Memorial Stadium to conclude Saturday's third round action. The odds are stacked against the managerless League Two side as they prepare to take on Alex McLeish's Premier League outfit. Email me your thoughts on the match at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Bristol Rovers 0-1 Aston Villa (5.30pm)

Click here for live goals as they go in

Bristol Rovers: Poke, Woodards,
Downes, Bolger, Sawyer, Anyinsah, Stanley, Dorman, Carayol (McGleish 28), Zebroski,
Richards.
Subs: Cronin, Smith, Lee Brown, Anthony, McLaggon,
Goddard.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Dunne,
Collins, Warnock, Albrighton, Ireland, Petrov, Clark, Bent, Heskey.
Subs: Marshall, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Delph, Bannan, Weimann, Gardner.

Goals: Albrighton 35.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

35min: GOAL! Bristol Rovers 0-1 ASTON VILLA

Excellent goal this and it's fitting Marc Albrighton scores it as he has been superb. Petrov plays a superb through ball, and the winger on the edge of the box ghosts behind the defence before firing low and hard past Poke.

33min: Heskey is rubbish! Doesn't deserve the ball!! #avfc #brfc

Keri-Ann Rotheroe, twitter

I still think booing him for that is harsh, but you do have agreement from colleagues surrounding me.

31min: It's quietened down on and off the pitch in the last five minutes. McLeish's side still seem to have control of the game on a whole though.

28min: Rovers have been forced into an early change as veteran Scott McGleish replaces the injured Mustapha Carayol.

26min: Villa are playing much better now and are unlucky not to be ahead. Stiliyan Petrov beats Poke to a long ball but his knock-on for Heskey is cleared by a a defender at the last possible moment.

23min: And from that corner Villa nearly score as Michael Poke tips over Heskey's powerful header.

22min: And now Stephen Warnock is having joy down the left as after running unmarked into the box, he plays a low pass across goal for Heskey.

The striker's shot is blocked before the visitors win a corner.

19min: The away side are having a big say on proceedings now as another excellent Albrighton cross is cut out at the far post with Darren Bent waiting to tap home.

17min: Villa's best chance. Ireland chips a delicate ball into the box but Heskey is put under just enough pressure to clip a first-time chance over the bar. That's a warning for the League Two side.

15min: Villa's best player so far has been Albrighton, who has delivered a couple of dangerous balls from the right flank where he is finding time and space.

No hungry strikers to gobble them up at the moment though.

13min: Ah, why not Eliot Richards finds space 25 yards out, and with his boyhood cup dreams inside his head, has a crack at goal.

It doesn't go to plan though as he slices his effort well wide.

12min: While chances are low, I will throw this one out into the open.

Every time Emile Heskey gets the ball he is getting booed…why

10min: Richard Dunne's header from it fails to trouble the goal and Rovers clear. Plenty of home fans in the ground and they are making fantastic noise.

9min: Rovers still having the better of this game but Villa have a chance here after Marc Albrighton's cross is blocked for a corner.

6min: Good effort, but Chris Zebroski's side-foot effort from 23 yards is easily taken by Brad Guzan.

3min: It's not a great pitch and that's one excuse for Villa who have started slowly. Bristol Rovers dictating this game so far.

Kick-off: Aston Villa get us going.

17.30: Before we kick off there will be a minutes' applause for Denis Dunford, the Bristol Rovers President and former Chairman who passed away this week aged 89.

17.27: And just before kick-off, please read this piece from Sportsmail's Michael Walker on how the City of Bristol can have some glory years ahead in its two football sides.

17.24: Fair play to McLeish, that's a very respectable squad he has put out and it's good to see a mid-table manager taking this competition seriously.

Too many sides outside the top six in the Premier League don't put enough focus in this competition when it presents a brilliant chance of success.

Six of the best: Bristol Rovers were too strong for Totton in the last round

Six of the best: Bristol Rovers were too strong for Totton in the last round

17.21: From the Memorial Satdium:

Bristol Rovers v Aston Villa
Bristol Rovers: Poke, Woodards, Downes, Bolger, Sawyer, Anyinsah, Stanley, Dorman, Carayol, Zebroski, Richards. Subs: Cronin, Smith, McGleish, Lee Brown, Anthony, McLaggon, Goddard.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Albrighton, Ireland, Petrov, Clark, Bent, Heskey. Subs: Marshall, N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor, Delph, Bannan, Weimann, Gardner.

Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)

17.18: Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish makes three changes to his starting line-up for this evening's FA Cup third-round tie against Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium.

Carlos Cuellar's thigh injury means a recall for Alan Hutton at right-back, while Emile Heskey gets the nod ahead of Gabriel Agbonlahor in attack and Marc Albrighton relegates Charles N'Zogbia to a place on the bench.

Rovers caretaker manager Shaun North, in charge for the first time following the departure of Paul Buckle in midweek, makes just one change from the side beaten against Barnet as an injury to leading scorer Matt Harrold sees Joe Anyinsah come in to midfield.

17.15: Talk about going from one extreme to the other. In the last round Bristol Rovers were the big guns when they defeated Totton 6-1, but the mood has changed a bit since then with the club's struggles in League Two resulting in the departure of manager Paul Buckle.

As minnows today, in theory this should be easy meat for Aston Villa but Alex McLeish's side have been so inconsistent this season I won't be placing a stake on them to win this evening. Team news coming up.

No slip ups: Aston Villa's Stiliyan Petrov (left) will hope to avoid an embarrassing defeat at Bristol Rovers

No slip ups: Aston Villa's Stiliyan Petrov (left) will hope to avoid an embarrassing defeat at Bristol Rovers