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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 April 2006, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Aston Villa 0-0 West Brom
Villa's Milan Baros and Albion's Curtis Davies
Milan Baros gets a firm grip on Curtis Davies' shirt
West Bromwich Albion saw two points slip away through poor finishing in a frantic derby at Aston Villa.

Albion were the better team throughout but failed to take any of the numerous chances they created.

Villa debutant Gary Cahill twice cleared off the line, while Jonathan Greening missed the target with an umarked header from eight yards out.

Albion keeper Tomasz Kuszczak was only extended in the first half, making a fine double save from Kevin Phillips.

With so much at stake, it was no surprise that the opening stages were taut and tense, with the tackles flying in.

Albion carved out the first opening when Diomansy Kamara nutmegged Liam Ridgewell and pulled the ball across the six-yard box where Zoltan Gera was slow to react and the chance went begging.

Kamara was then on the end of of cross as Albion took the game to Villa but the Senegal striker failed to attack the ball and ballooned a weak, unconvincing header over from six yards.

Tomasz Kuszczak had been a spectator but the Baggies goalkeeper kept his side alive with a fine double save from Kevin Phillips, first finger-tipping his looping header on to the bar and as the ball came back into play the Polish stopper blocked Phillips' follow-up shot.

Nigel Quashie and Ronnie Wallwork began to win the war in midfield and Quashie spread the play to Kamara who set up Jonathan Greening to cross but Campbell lacked conviction with his attempt to make contact.

It needed a stunning save from Villa keeper Thomas Sorensen, though to deny Baggies the lead, the Dane arching upwards to tip the ball over after Kamara got his head to Gera's thumping volley.

Kuszczak then had to react sharply to save from Phillips who might have done better with his first-time shot from eight yards out.

Ronnie Wallwork hauled back Baros as he broke to earn the Albion midfielder his 10th yellow card of the season, ruling him out of the games against Bolton and Newcastle.

Albion's desire could not be faulted as they started the second half in positive fashion but Kamara's weak shot from 12 yards enabled Sorensen to plunge and save low down to his right.

It was Albion who continued to ask the questions and Greening was given the opportunity to whip in a free-kick which Sorensen clawed away at the second attempt.

Albion's Ronnie Wallwork fouls Villa's Milan Baros
Wallwork's foul on Baros led to his 10th yellow card of the season

Albion's defence had coped comfortably with Villa's lightweight attack, their only moments of discomfort provided by Kuszczak's poor kicking.

They continued to squander chances at the other end, with Greening heading tamely back across the face of goal after Gera's cross found him unmarked at the far post.

Referee Mark Halsey waved away two Baggies' penalty appeals and as Albion searched for a winner, Sorensen's failure to gather Gera's cross produced a desperate scramble which saw Quashie and Wallwork have shots scraped off the line.

Kevin Campbell then saw his header smuggled off the line by Cahill as Sorensen's save from Gera's header produced an amazing scramble in the Villa box.

  • Aston Villa boss David O'Leary:
    "I think a draw was a fair result from a typical derby.

    "We should have gone in a couple of goals up at half time, while in the second half there a couple of scrambles in our box.

    "But we had quite a few young kids playing out there today and I think the fans really stuck with them."

  • West Brom manager Bryan Robson:
    "We should have two clear-cut penalties, there's no doubt in my mind.

    "If someone analysed crucial decisions over the course of a season, we're well behind on those that go our way.

    "We're disappointed we didn't get all three points and tonight we should be fourth from bottom."

    Aston Villa: Sorensen, Hughes, Cahill, Ridgewell, Bouma, Hendrie (Gardner 34), McCann, Davis, Agbonlahor, Phillips (Moore 74), Baros.
    Subs Not Used: Taylor, De la Cruz, Whittingham.

    Booked: Cahill.

    West Brom: Kuszczak, Curtis Davies, Watson, Clement, Robinson, Gera, Wallwork (Inamoto 83), Quashie, Greening, Kamara (Nicholson 79), Campbell (Kanu 79).
    Subs Not Used: Albrechtsen, Carter.

    Booked: Robinson, Wallwork.

    Att: 33,303

    Ref: M Halsey (Lancashire).

    Interview: Aston Villa boss David O'Leary

    Interview: West Brom boss Bryan Robson


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