Belfast Telegraph

Wolves hold on in Villa stalemate

Wolves survived a second-half battering to return to the top of the Barclays Premier League - albeit temporarily - after a hard-fought goalless draw in the local derby at Villa Park.

Mick McCarthy's side have now taken seven points from their opening three games although they were second best during the second 45 minutes.

Villa dominated territorially during that period with Gabriel Agbonlahor causing plenty of problems with his pace, while Charles N'Zogbia also posed a threat. But skipper Roger Johnson produced a typically rock-solid performance at the heart of the Wolves back four to help snuff out the threat of the home side, who also remain unbeaten.

Villa's first chance fell to skipper Stiliyan Petrov but the Bulgarian international dragged his 20-yard drive wide.

Shay Given looked to be struggling with his recent groin problem but did well to block a downward Stephen Hunt header from Stephen Ward's deep centre.

Villa came close to taking the lead when the impressive Emile Heskey dragged Agbonlahor's cross just wide at the near post and Jamie O'Hara should have done better for Wolves when he curled his shot over the bar after being teed up by Steven Fletcher.

Chris Herd made an encouraging start to the second period and his cross was only just too high for Heskey. The youngster then headed over from a Petrov corner.

Agbonlahor outstripped Roger Johnson for pace and his low drive was turned aside by Wayne Hennessey. Villa were now in the ascendancy and Kevin Doyle headed a Richard Dunne header off the line from Petrov's corner.

N'Zogbia was looking a threat and his centre created a chance for Herd, whose header was tipped over the bar by Hennessey.

Darren Bent then headed just over from a cross from substitute Marc Albrighton but Wolves held out for a hard-earned point.


From Belfast Telegraph