Villa 0-0 Newcastle report: Stalemate in Magpies clash
Villa made it four points out of six with a well merited draw in Villa Park's curtain-raiser for 2014-15.
The match started in bright sunshine and ended in a torrential downpour but Paul Lambert's men remained steady throughout the 90 minutes against an enterprising Newcastle outfit.
The visitors had the better chances, squandering a couple of glorious chances and forcing Brad Guzan into some excellent saves.
But Villa also made a significant contribution and can take immense satisfaction from a second consecutive clean sheet.
There was also a first glimpse at new signing Carlos Sanchez, the Coolmbia World Cup star impressing with some fine passes after replacing Charles N'Zogbia in the 62nd minute.
Newcastle, meanwhile, finished with 10 men, Mike Williamson being sent off for a second bookable offence when he brought down Fabian Delph in stoppage time.
The Magpies may have lost at home to champions Manchester City in their opening game but there was no lack of confidence as they knocked the ball around stylishly in the opening minutes.
Their bright start culminated with a Vurnon Anita shot which deflected comfortably to Guzan, but almost immediately Gabby Agbonlahor won possession before having his shot charged down on the edge of the penalty area.
And although Paul Dummett headed wide in the Geordies' next attack, Villa were close to a breakthrough in the ninth minute.
Aly Cissokho's superb control and curling cross had Newcastle's defence in all sorts of trouble, and when the ball was only partially cleared, N'Zogbia planted an angled header on top of the net from beyond the far post.
Yoan Gouffran's embarrassing mis-kick in front of goal a few minutes later brought howls of derision from Villa supporters, although Ron Vlaar didn't see the funny side.
The skipper took an accidental whack on the leg from the former Bordeaux player and needed treatment before he could continue.
N'Zogbia was close again in the 17th minute, curling a 25-yard free-kick only marginally wide after first Kieran Richardson and then Delph had both shaped up to shoot before stepping over the ball.
There was relief in the home defence on 26 minutes, a slick Newcastle move ending with Remy Cabella firing not far off target as he fell.
But Lambert's men responded with an equally fine build-up, Andi Weimann eventually having his shot charged down following Alan Hutton's low cross from the right.
Then the Austrian forward delivered an inviting cross that was screaming to be converted, but no-one was on hand to capitalise on a glorious opportunity.
Guzan did well to hold a low angled effort from Emmanuel Riviere just past the half-hour mark but once again Villa's response was positive, Hutton making a determined run to instigate a menacing attack which ended with Agbonlahor just unable to make proper contact with a header from Delph's floated centre.
The second half opened with Hutton prominent down the right and N'Zogbia having a shot blocked just outside the area.
But Guzan had to be at his best to prevent Newcastle from taking a 51st-minute lead.
Jack Colback's deep free-kick was headed across the face of goal by Williamson, and Daryl Janmaat's powerful diving header was tipped over by the American keeper.
That near miss clearly gave Janmaat an appetite for more.
A few minutes later the right-back cut inside Cissokho to unleash a rising left-footer which flew past the far post.
Suddenly, Villa were under pressure, and there was another let-off on the hour, when Williamson became the second Newcastle player to completely miss his kick, the defender swinging wildly when he looked certain to score.
New signing Sanchez was introduced as a sub for N'Zogbia on 62 minutes and the Colombian midfielder immediately earned praise from his team-mates for a superb diagonal pass to Hutton.
Villa sent on Darren Bent as a 76th minute sub for Richardson in an attempt to find a winner but Lambert was forced into his final replacement on 82, Nathan Baker taking over when Cissokho limped off injured.
The visitors almost grabbed a winner in the 88th minute, Guzan clawing away sub Siem De Jong's shot after Westwood had been caught in possession.
As the game went into stoppage time, Williams on was dismissed for a second bookable offence when he sent Delph sprawling on the half-way line.
VILLA: Guzan; Hutton, Senderos, Vlaar, Cissokho (Baker 82); Westwood, Delph; N'Zogbia (Sanchez 62), Richardson (Bent 76), Weimann; Agbonlahor. Unused subs: Given, Baker, Bacuna, Cole, Grealish.
NEWCASTLE: Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Cabella, Anita (De Jong 70), Colback, Gouffran; Riviere (Perez 77, Taylor 90)), Sissoko. Unused subs: Elliot, Haidara, Obertan, Abeid.
Go to full match coverage for Aston Villa 0 - 0 Newcastle (23rd August 2014) >
Adobe Flash Plug-in Needed
This website requires a Adobe Flash plug-in. Please download the latest version of the Flash plug-in by clicking here