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Ebanks-Blake keeps cool to earn a point for Wolves

SoccerNews in English Premier League 24 Oct 2009

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Wolverhampton striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake kept his nerve to score the late penalty that earned a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Mick McCarthy’s men looked to be heading for a derby-day disappointment when England forward Gabriel Agbonlahor put Villa ahead with just 11 minutes to play at Molineux.

But Steve Sidwell’s rash challenge on Michael Kightly four minutes later conceded the penalty that allowed Ebanks-Blake to lash home his first Premier League goal.

Despite the point, Wolves remain dangerously close to the relegation zone.

The result was more frustrating for their West Midlands rivals Villa though as Martin O’Neill’s side were on course for the top four when Agbonlahor hit his sixth goal of the season.

Agbonlahor had a glorious chance to put Villa ahead after less than two minutes when he sprinted on Brad Friedel’s long clearance.

Agbonlahor had just Wayne Hennessey to beat but he shot tamely at the Wolves goalkeeper.

The hosts responded well and had a strong penalty appeal turned down by referee Peter Walton when central defender Richard Dunne held back Kevin Doyle as he looked to burst clear.

Wolves defender Christophe Berra was only just off target with a glancing header from Karl Henry’s cross.

Villa were finding it hard to recapture form that saw off Chelsea last weekend.

It took an alert clearance from winger James Milner to rescue Villa when Doyle diverted Kightly’s corner towards goal.

Ebanks-Blake was next to threaten for Wolves as he hooked over from close range from another Kightly centre.

Blake had another chance before the break as Villa’s defence, usually so solid, started to creak. This time the former Manchester United trainee met Kightly’s free-kick with a header than failed to test Fridel.

But Villa’s defence, revamped by O’Neill in recent months, is a tough nut to crack and they gradually snuffed out the danger posed by Doyle and company.

The visitors looked more vibrant as the match wore on and Ashley Young curled a shot wide before Agbonlahor almost turned in a cross at the far post.

Agbonlahor showed his pace as he surged away from Jody Craddock but Hennessey was equal to his shot.

It was a warning that Wolves needed to keep a close eye on Agbonlahor but he escaped their grasp in the 79th minute.

Emile Heskey played a low cross towards Agbonlahor and he turned neatly before planting his shot past Hennessey.

Villa’s celebrations weren’t to last long however as Sidwell carelessly crashed into Kightly in the 83rd minute and Ebanks-Blake drove home the penalty.

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