West Brom 2-2 Villa media watch: Reaction to draw with Baggies
Observer: A match that seemed destined to provide Aston Villa with a much-needed three points ended up slipping through their fingers as West Bromwich Albion recovered from two goals down at half-time to stage a spirited fightback. Villa are out of the relegation zone courtesy of only their second point in six matches but this felt like an opportunity missed for Paul Lambert's players, who were cruising when Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor struck in the first half. Inspired by the outstanding Charles N'Zogbia, Villa were unrecognisable from the side that have looked so poor in recent weeks, but the complexion of the game changed when Chris Brunt halved the deficit three minutes after the interval. With N'Zogbia surprisingly withdrawn early in the second half, Villa were no longer as dangerous as an attacking force and there was a sense of inevitability that Albion's pressure would eventually yield reward.
Star on Sunday: Peter Odemwingie saved West Brom from a fifth successive defeat to leave Aston Villa heartbroken - and still just above the drop zone. Until the Nigerian hitman pounced with just seven minutes remaining, Paul Lambert's visitors were on course for their first victory in six games. Stunning first-half strikes from Christian Benteke and Gabby Agbonlahor put relegation-threatened Villa firmly in control. But in keeping with their dreadful form of late, the Villans were unable to hang on to the three points which would have lifted them up to the giddy heights of 15th place. And that was particularly harsh on Charles N'Zogbia, who before being subbed had been truly inspirational in arguably his club's finest display since they won at Liverpool in mid-December.
Sunday Mercury: Peter Odemwingie's late equaliser earned West Brom a share of the spoils as Aston Villa let slip a two-goal lead to 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.
Sunday Mirror: Aston Villa blew a golden chance to breathe new life into their dismal season by squandering a two-goal lead at West Brom. Goals from Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor should have been enough for Villa to secure their first Premier League win since December 15. But, despite the return of captain Ron Vlaar, Villa could not hold on to their lead as West Brom hit back through Chris Brunt and Peter Odemwingie. The nature of the draw against their Midlands rivals will have felt like a loss for Villa at the start of a critical week.
Sun on Sunday: Peter Odemwingie showed that persistence is key as West Brom came from behind to grab a point. Odemwingie had twice blazed over before hooking home the equaliser seven minutes from time. And the striker's goal came as a real dagger to the heart for Aston Villa, who appeared to be home and dry at half-time with a two-goal cushion. Independent on Sunday: A crucial week in Aston Villa's season began promisingly with a much improved performance bringing a valuable Premier League point that looked like being three until the last 10 minutes. Despite having begun the game in the bottom two after Reading's victory, they did not look a relegation team. On Tuesday they must retrieve a 3-1 deficit following a shocking night at Bradford City in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final and only three days later comes a ticklish FA Cup tie at Millwall. These three games, defining the shape of Paul Lambert's first season in charge, have all been chosen for live television coverage and the evidence for yesterday evening's audience was that there is life in the old club yet.
Mail on Sunday: Just when Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert thought he had pulled off his first Premier League victory for weeks, Peter Odemwingie completed a dramatic Albion comeback as reward for his persistence. Villa do not seem able acquire that winning habit, and Lambert made no secret of his belief that his team had blown a big chance.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.
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