Premier League round-up: Newcastle win at Aston Villa, West Brom steal late point
Aston Villa 1-2 Newcastle
Newcastle put their lengthy run of poor form behind them as they started the game strongly, with new signing Loic Remy looking lively as his run and cross set up Hatem Ben Arfa to open the scoring early against a lacklustre Aston Villa.
The Magpies then faded however, with substitute Ciaran Clark and Andy Weimann both going close as the hosts increased the pressure, but the half-time whistle saved the visitors from inevitably conceding. In the second half however, Villa maintained their attacks on the goal, with Gabriel Agbonlahor guilty of a terrible miss which should have been the equaliser. It wasn't too long before the goal came though, with Christian Benteke the unsurprising source as his aerial ability allowed him to nod in a simple goal from a corner.
Fulham 1-1 West Brom
Fulham may possess the extravagance of Dimitar Berbatov, Bryan Ruiz and Adel Taarabt, but their goal was a scrappy one bundled in from a corner as Steve Sidwell pounced to open the scoring midway through the first half. A Berbatov goal was then ruled out for offside before the half-time whistle blew.
West Brom upped their game very slightly in the second half, with Victor Anichebe only being denied by the feet of Tim Krul after turning his man in the area, but Fulham remained on top, Berbatov almost scoring a majestic goal when he met Ruiz's cross with an unbelievable acrobatic effort which whistled over the bar.
Hugo Rodallega then had the ball in the net once again for the hosts, but was correctly ruled offside. In the dying seconds, West Brom seized their chance, Gareth McAuley, who scored in both Northern Ireland defeats during the international break, continuing his form by rising highest from a late corner to steal an ill-deserved point for West Brom.
After a rather dull opening to the game, the Tigers' new signing Tom Huddlestone showed his quality at the end of the first half with a superb delivery onto the head of Curtis Davies, who put a powerful header home to give the hosts a lead.
In the second half, a fine move from the visitors allowed Don Cowie's cross to find an onrushing Peter Whittingham, who struck home a fine volley in his stride to equalise. Cardiff were looking the better side and twice went close to taking the lead, before Danny Graham went close and Sone Aluko saw a goal disallowed through counter-attacks.
As Cardiff faded, Graham had a fine opportunity to win the game in the last minute after getting a free header just six yards out from a hopeful cross, but put his effort directly at Joe Lewis, summing up a game where both sides just lacked the quality necessary to get all three points.
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