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Premier League: West Brom 2 Aston Villa 2

West Brom fought back from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa in their Midlands derby at The Hawthorns on Saturday.

In a one-sided first-half, Christian Benteke opened proceedings with a stunning strike from the edge of the area, before Gabriel Agbonlahor doubled Villa’s lead before the interval, finishing off a lovely team move well.

The second-half, however, produced a strong response from West Brom, with Chris Brunt pulling a goal back before Peter Odemwingie saw them secure a point with an acrobatic volley late on.

It took only 12 minutes for the first goal to materialise and that was courtesy of a piece of magic from the powerful Benteke.

Having received a pass from Charles N’Zogbia with his back to goal, Benteke dropped his shoulder, went the other way and fired an unstoppable effort past Ben Foster into the far corner, giving Villa the lead with their first chance of the game.

The away side began to dominate proceedings and, with half an hour gone, the Villains extended their lead with the second clear-cut opportunity of the game.

In a great move, Kieran Westwood found N’Zogbia who, after cutting inside, found Agbonlahor. The striker needed only two touches as he brought it inside with his first and, with his second, finished past Foster with aplomb.

Following the shock of that second goal, the home side began to attempt to mount some sort of comeback as successive long-range efforts from Graeme Dorrans and James Morrison went begging.

The only other real chance of the half, however, fell to Aston Villa as, after N’Zogbia beat Olsson with ease down the right flank, he cut the ball back to the advancing Eric Lichaj, but the Villa right-back could only fire straight at Foster from close-range.

The start of the second half finally provoked a response from West Brom and just a four minutes in they pulled a goal back with a delightful effort from Brunt.

Odemwingie, following an excellent run from deep, found Romelu Lukaku in the area and the striker, unable to turn, laid off to Brunt who side-footed powerfully into the corner, with a little assistance from the post.

As West Brom endeavoured to try and find an equaliser, the away side proved dangerous on the counter-attack.

But West Brom ramped up even more pressure on their local rivals and, with 25 minutes remaining, a Gareth McAuley header from a Brunt corner was cleared off the line by Ciaran Clark.

With eight minutes remaining, Odemwingie managed to take one of the chances that continued to fall his way, lashing home a volley after a Brunt corner had been turned into his path by Jonas Olsson.

West Brom almost managed to salvage an unlikely win with three minutes remaining but Lukaku could only fire wide from distance to leave the spoils shared.

Sat 19 January, 2013
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