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West Brom 2-2 Aston Villa

Updated: Saturday, 19 Jan 2013 20:16 | Comments

Peter Odemwingie earned a late draw for West Brom with his close-range strike
Peter Odemwingie earned a late draw for West Brom with his close-range strike

Peter Odemwingie's late equaliser earned West Brom a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa as the Villains let a two-goal lead slip to ensure that they remain in the Barclays Premier League bottom three.

Christian Benteke opened the scoring with a superb finish before Gabriel Agbonlahor doubled Villa's lead before half-time.

Albion skipper Chris Brunt pulled a goal back early in the second period and then QPR transfer-window target Odemwingie equalised seven minutes from time.

Villa dominated the opening 45 minutes with Charles N'Zogbia in superb form as he produced one of his best performances for the midlands club.

He demonstrated the quality which had helped to keep Wigan in the top flight before his move to Villa during the summer of 2011 and set up the opening two goals.

Agbonlahor has had a habit of scoring in local derbies and also looked back to his best as Villa controlled proceedings.

But Albion were transformed after the break - no doubt after a half-time rocket from head coach Steve Clarke.

Odemwingie looked a constant threat and showed why he is a target for QPR who have had one bid rejected already by the Baggies.

The home side started promisingly and Odemwingie's low centre picked out Romelu Lukaku whose first-time shot was deflected wide by fit again Villa skipper Ron Vlaar.

Villa were forced into a fifth-minute substitution when defender Nathan Baker limped out of the action to be replaced by Eric Lichaj.

Lukaku was looking sharp and a dipping, low cross from the on-loan Chelsea player was cut out by Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

But after 12 minutes a stunning strike from fellow Belgian Benteke put Villa ahead.

N'Zogbia found Villa's £7million summer signing on the edge of the box and he turned past Claudio Yacob before firing an unstoppable rising shot past Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster.

It was his 10th goal of the campaign.

Albion tried to retaliate and an overhead kick from James Morrison flew straight at Guzan.

Tempers became frayed and Baggies defender Jonas Olsson and Agbonlahor were booked after squaring up to each other.

Villa were posing problems and after 31 minutes Agbonlahor doubled their lead with his fifth goal of the season.

N'Zogbia again supplied the telling pass and Agbonlahor wriggled past Gareth McAuley before beating Foster with a low drive into the corner of the net.

Yacob was struggling for fitness after his lengthy lay-off with a hamstring injury and he was replaced after 35 minutes by Jerome Thomas.

Dorrans was not far off target from 20 yards but Villa were coping relatively comfortably with the threat of the home side.

N'Zogbia was a constant threat and he teed up another opportunity for Lichaj whose shot was blocked by Foster.

Albion began the second half with more purpose and reduced the arrears after 49 minutes.

Thomas' low cross was held up and turned back by Lukaku into the path of the onrushing Brunt who curled a 15-yard shot past Guzan.

Lichaj and Matt Lowton were yellow carded for chopping down Thomas and Odemwingie respectively as the home side pushed for an equaliser.

Then Graham Dorrans went into referee Lee Probert's notebook for fouling Agbonlahor.

Joe Bennett came to Villa's rescue when he cleared McAuley's header off the line.

Odemwingie then nicked the ball past Guzan but shot over from a narrow angle and the Nigeria international was only inches off target with a stinging drive.

He was not to be denied and after 83 minutes brought Albion level.

McAuley headed a Brunt corner back across goal and Odemwingie reacted first and volleyed past Guzan.

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