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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 September, 2004, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
Norwich 0-0 Aston Villa
Norwich's Adam Drury and Aston Villa's Mark Delaney
Norwich and Aston Villa cancelled each other out at Carrow Road.

The home side are still without a win in the Premiership - this was their fourth draw - though their resolve bodes well for their survival hopes.

Just as he did last weekend at Spurs, goalkeeper Robert Green was key to Norwich's stickability, making two important saves in the first half.

At the other end, Norwich struggled and it took them 73 minutes before they forced Thomas Sorensen to make a save.

While Norwich looked to break quickly utilising the speed of Darren Huckerby, Villa adopted a more patient approach.

The visitors put together a superb passing move in the opening minute, a move that ended with a Nolberto Solano volley being deflected away for a corner.

That sweeping move revolved round Thomas Hitzlsperger and the German midfielder's vision and awareness, ably assisted by Gavin McCann, ensured Villa controlled the midfield for long periods.

Hitzlsperger was also keen to shoot whenever he reached the edge of the Norwich penalty area and a couple of his efforts almost gave Villa the lead.

Green saved the first Hitzlsperger effort and the Norwich keeper made an even better stop from the second, which was deflected into the path of Carlton Cole.

Jlloyd Samuel also had an influential game for Villa on the left, two crosses from the Villa defender evading the Norwich defence only for headers from Cole and Darius Vassell to go wide.

In between this steady succession of Villa chances, Norwich worked tirelessly to try to use the limited possession they had.

Huckerby's pace and directness occasionally threatened danger, notably when he almost played in Gary Doherty, while Gary Holt also had a couple of speculative shots.

Another source for Norwich in attack was David Bentley, who looked to shoot whenever he had the chance.

Late in the game the on-loan striker wasted Norwich's best chance of the game, wafting over a shot after another persistent run from Huckery.

Doherty finally managed to test Sorensen with a smart turn and shot, but the Villa goalkeeper made a comfortable save.

Ten minutes after the restart, Villa manager David O'Leary rejigged his formation introducing Juan Pablo Angel and Stephen Davis, who was making his Villa debut.

In the closing stages, Olof Mellberg sent a header narrowly wide while Davis tested Green with a rising shot.

But the rejig failed to change the shape of the game with Villa's lack of punch in attack exemplified by a couple of shots from Vassell that went embarrassingly wide.

And Norwich ended the game strongly, Sorensen tipping over the bar a Damien Francis shot.


Norwich: Green, Edworthy, Fleming, Charlton, Drury, Safri (McVeigh 77), Holt, Francis, Bentley (McKenzie 80), Huckerby, Doherty (Jonson 89).
Subs Not Used: Ward, Helveg.

Booked: Safri.

Aston Villa: Sorensen, De la Cruz, Mellberg, Delaney, Samuel, Solano (Davis 57), Hitzlsperger (Whittingham 78), McCann, Barry, Cole (Angel 57), Vassell.
Subs Not Used: Postma, Moore.

Booked: Delaney.

Att: 23,805.

Ref: B Knight (Kent).





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