Belfast Telegraph

Villa held at home

Darren Bent squandered two golden chances as Aston Villa and Newcastle maintained their unbeaten start by sharing the spoils at Villa Park in a 1-1 draw.

Leon Best earned Newcastle a deserved point as his third goal of the campaign cancelled out Gabriel Agbonlahor's early opener.

But Bent should have punished the Magpies only for his predatory instincts to desert him.

The first chance fell to the Magpies, with Best teeing up Yohan Cabaye 20 yards out before his shot flew wide.

Newcastle looked purposeful and Shay Given had to be alert to turn a cross from Gabriel Obertan over, but after 13 minutes Agbonlahor put Villa ahead. Barry Bannan's cross picked out the England striker, whose volley was blocked, but the ball dropped back into Agbonlahor's path and he made no mistake.

Bent missed a golden chance to double Villa's lead after 26 minutes, side-footing wide from eight yards out.

Another teasing Obertan cross picked out Demba Ba, whose shot was deflected for a corner.

Agbonlahor came close after the restart, but his low shot curled wide.

And Newcastle made them pay when they drew level after 57 minutes. Best was unmarked at the far post and his initial effort produced a fine save from Given, but he converted the rebound.

Bent had another great chance to restore Villa's lead after a mistake by Steven Taylor in trying to deal with substitute Stephen Ireland's centre. But he failed to make a full contact on his lob over Tim Krul and Steven Taylor cleared.

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