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Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Saturday, 13 March 2010

Stoke   0 - 0   Aston Villa

Stewart Downing tussles with Tuncay
Downing tussles with Tuncay in a typical battle from the stalemate

By Ian Hughes

Aston Villa lost ground in the race for fourth place and a Champions League spot as they were held by Stoke.

In a scrappy game chances were rare as both sides cancelled each other out.

Villa's Stiliyan Petrov forced Thomas Sorensen to tip his drive wide, while Stewart Downing's shot hit the side netting and James Collins headed wide.

For Stoke, Ricardo Fuller had a shot deflected over, Danny Higginbotham's effort was blocked by Stephen Warnock and Robert Huth headed over.

It was always likely to be a close contest, with the sides suffering only one league defeat between them in 2010 - Stoke's 3-1 loss to Arsenal.

Pulis happy with point in 'difficult conditions'

The psychological edge may have been with Villa after their tremendous fightback from 2-0 down to knock Reading out of the FA Cup - and boss Martin O'Neill stuck with the same side.

Stoke, who lost to Chelsea in the FA Cup and drew with Burnley in their last two matches, brought in Higginbotham and Glenn Whelan for Andy Wilkinson and Liam Lawrence.

And it was Whelan who fired the first warning shot of the afternoon, when he crashed an effort high and wide early on.

Typically, it came after a long throw by Rory Delap had not been cleared by Villa - and it was not to be the first.

However, Villa did try to give Stoke a taste of their own medicine by employing Carlos Cuellar to launch throw-ins into the box.

That the Spaniard's efforts lacked the flat trajectory and pace of Delap's made it easier for Stoke to defend against them, and also brought derisory chants from the crowd.

606: DEBATE
easyrider67

Villa had better service from a corner but Collins could only glance his header wide.

Petrov did force a save from Sorensen when his long-range shot had the keeper diving to his left.

Villa came even closer after the break when Downing's shot from the edge of the area deflected off John Carew and wrong-footed Sorensen but went into the side netting.

As the game finally threatened to open up, substitute Fuller scuffed his shot into the arms of Brad Friedel after a good run and Richard Dunne almost found Emile Heskey with a lay-off in the box.

Huth was next to test Friedel with a stinging shot straight at him, while Fuller made the American stretch to punch away a low cross.

Fuller, who looked busy from the moment he came on, broke down the left and his teasing cross was cleared by a diving Friedel as Stoke players lurked.

Wind affected the game - O'Neill

Stoke, now in the ascendancy, created two reasonable chances, both falling to Higginbotham at the far post.

Higginbotham saw his first effort brilliantly blocked by Warnock, then later he fired wildly over from a similar position.

Villa threatened again when James Milner's free-kick curled just wide, while Stoke's Huth will feel he should have got a six-yard header on target.

The visitors almost had the decisive say when Ashley Young's cross was deflected just over, but a draw seemed the fairest result from a match of graft rather than guile.


Stoke manager Tony Pulis:
"It was difficult conditions, it was a very windy day. But it was two honest, committed teams who went at it right from the start.

"We've had a three-game week and when you catch one of the top teams in the league as your third game, it is hard.

"Ricardo Fuller made a difference when he came on, he livened things up. In the end we could have won it."

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill:
"We would love to have won the game but it was never going to be easy. Stoke are always difficult.

"There weren't many chances in the game and the wind didn't help matters. I was hoping we would get the ball down, but that is easier said than done.

"It was a reasonable outcome. Probably a draw was a fair result."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Stoke 0-0 Aston Villa FT
(HT 0-0)

      Stoke

      Substitutes

      Aston Villa

      Substitutes

      Ref: FriendAtt: 27,598
      STOKE
      ASTON VILLA

      Possession

      • Stoke 43%
      • Aston Villa 57%

      Attempts on target

      • Stoke 6
      • Aston Villa 5

      Attempts off target

      • Stoke 7
      • Aston Villa 5

      Corners

      • Stoke 8
      • Aston Villa 6

      Fouls

      • Stoke 6
      • Aston Villa 6
      • Final Result
      • Full Time
      • 90:00+3:21 The referee blows for the end of the match.
      • 90:00+2:52 Stiliyan Petrov takes a shot. Thomas Sorensen makes a save.
      • 90:00+1:16 Matthew Etherington has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area which goes wide right of the goal.
      • 90:00+0:43 Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young to the near post, clearance made by Robert Huth.
      • 89:18 Corner taken left-footed by Matthew Etherington, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Robert Huth goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
      • 89:04 Ricardo Fuller takes a shot. Richard Dunne gets a block in.
      • 88:39 A cross is delivered by Gabriel Agbonlahor, save by Thomas Sorensen.
      • Correction - 84:35 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Milner by Dave Kitson. James Milner fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.
      • 84:35 Dave Kitson concedes a free kick for a foul on James Milner. James Milner has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.
      • 83:17 Effort from deep inside the area by Danny Higginbotham misses to the left of the goal.
      • 80:55 Shot by Dean Whitehead. Blocked by Stephen Warnock.
      • 80:09 Danny Higginbotham takes a shot. James Milner gets a block in.
      • 76:02 Substitution Gabriel Agbonlahor joins the action as a substitute, replacing John Carew.
      • 76:02 Shot by Rory Delap from a long way out goes over the target.
      • 75:30 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Glenn Whelan from the left by-line to the near post, Carlos Cuellar makes a clearance.
      • 73:28 Corner taken by Matthew Etherington.
      • 72:53 Ricardo Fuller takes a shot. Blocked by James Collins.
      • 72:03 Handball decision goes against Stiliyan Petrov. Indirect free kick taken by Danny Higginbotham.
      • 71:31 Ashley Young takes the inswinging corner, Thomas Sorensen makes a save.
      • 70:40 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stiliyan Petrov by Ricardo Fuller. Free kick taken by James Collins.
      • 69:11 Centre by Ricardo Fuller, save by Brad Friedel.
      • 68:04 Matthew Etherington takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
      • 66:46 Ashley Young produces a cross, save made by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 66:09 John Carew takes a shot. Save made by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 62:39 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Stewart Downing from the right by-line, clearance by Rory Delap.
      • 62:15 John Carew takes a shot. Blocked by Danny Collins.
      • 61:17 Robert Huth has an effort at goal. Save made by Brad Friedel.
      • 58:41 Ricardo Fuller takes a shot. Save made by Brad Friedel.
      • 57:08 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Glenn Whelan, save by Brad Friedel.
      • 56:17 Free kick taken by Matthew Etherington.
      • 56:17 Booking Stephen Warnock receives a yellow card.
      • 56:03 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Matthew Etherington by Stephen Warnock.
      • 54:48 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Etherington, Emile Heskey manages to make a clearance.
      • Correction - 52:45 Thomas Sorensen takes the indirect free kick.
      • Correction - 52:45 Substitution Dave Kitson is brought on as a substitute for Mamady Sidibe.
      • Correction - 52:45 Substitution Tuncay Sanli leaves the field to be replaced by Ricardo Fuller.
      • Correction - 52:45 The referee blows for offside.
      • 52:45 Thomas Sorensen restarts play with the free kick.
      • 52:45 Substitution Dave Kitson on for Mamady Sidibe.
      • 52:45 Substitution (Stoke) makes a substitution, with Ricardo Fuller coming on for Tuncay Sanli.
      • 52:45 John Carew is ruled offside.
      • 48:50 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Emile Heskey by Danny Higginbotham. Richard Dunne takes the direct free kick.
      • 47:41 Stewart Downing takes a shot. John Carew gets a block in.
      • 47:09 The referee penalises John Carew for handball. Thomas Sorensen restarts play with the free kick.
      • 45:34 The assistant referee flags for offside against Tuncay Sanli. Indirect free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
      • 45:01 The second half begins.
      • Half Time
      • 45:00+2:08 It is the end of the first-half.
      • 44:49 Stiliyan Petrov produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the goal.
      • 41:13 Free kick awarded for a foul by Glenn Whelan on Stiliyan Petrov. Free kick taken by James Collins.
      • 40:29 Matthew Etherington produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.
      • 37:17 Effort on goal by Stephen Warnock from long range goes harmlessly over the target.
      • 36:08 Effort on goal by James Milner from just inside the area clears the crossbar.
      • 31:23 Stewart Downing is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Thomas Sorensen takes the indirect free kick.
      • 30:44 Short corner taken by Stewart Downing.
      • 29:27 John Carew concedes a free kick for a foul on Danny Higginbotham. Thomas Sorensen takes the free kick.
      • 29:00 Matthew Etherington is flagged offside by the assistant referee. James Collins takes the indirect free kick.
      • 28:10 Tuncay Sanli challenges Carlos Cuellar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
      • 26:00 Stiliyan Petrov takes a shot. Save by Thomas Sorensen.
      • 24:47 Glenn Whelan crosses the ball in from the free kick, Carlos Cuellar makes a clearance.
      • 24:47 Booking James Milner shown a yellow card.
      • 24:34 Free kick awarded for a foul by James Milner on Rory Delap.
      • 23:13 Free kick crossed by Matthew Etherington, John Carew makes a clearance.
      • 23:13 Booking Richard Dunne shown a yellow card.
      • 22:54 Free kick awarded for a foul by Richard Dunne on Tuncay Sanli.
      • 21:40 Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young from the left by-line to the near post, Mamady Sidibe manages to make a clearance.
      • 20:08 Shot from outside the penalty box by Matthew Etherington goes wide right of the goal.
      • 16:02 Stewart Downing takes the inswinging corner, James Collins has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
      • 14:59 Stephen Warnock gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mamady Sidibe. Direct free kick taken by Danny Higginbotham.
      • 12:51 Inswinging corner taken by Glenn Whelan, clearance by Emile Heskey.
      • 10:55 Free kick taken by Glenn Whelan.
      • 10:55 Booking Carlos Cuellar goes into the book.
      • 10:47 Free kick awarded for a foul by Carlos Cuellar on Matthew Etherington.
      • 8:36 Abdoulaye Faye concedes a free kick for a foul on Emile Heskey. James Collins takes the direct free kick.
      • 6:09 Effort on goal by Glenn Whelan from outside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
      • 4:38 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Glenn Whelan, clearance made by Emile Heskey.
      • 0:00 The referee gets the match started.

      Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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      Premier League table snapshot

      As it stood on 13 Mar 2010 23:59 UK

      Position Team P GD PTS
      1 Chelsea 29 42 64
      2 Arsenal 30 38 64
      3 Man Utd 29 43 63
      4 Tottenham 29 25 52
      5 Man City 27 17 49
      6 Liverpool 29 16 48
      7 Aston Villa 27 16 46
      8 Birmingham 29 -1 44
      9 Everton 29 4 42
      10 Fulham 28 3 38
      11 Stoke 29 -5 36
      12 Blackburn 29 -17 34
      13 Bolton 30 -18 32
      14 Sunderland 28 -8 30
      15 Wigan 29 -30 28
      16 West Ham 29 -12 27
      17 Wolves 29 -24 27
      18 Burnley 30 -32 24
      19 Hull 29 -34 24
      20 Portsmouth 28 -23 19

      see also
      Live - Saturday football
      13 Mar 10 |  Football


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