Aston Villa held by dogged Stoke

Robert Huth's second-half header at Villa Park earned Stoke a 1-1 draw as Aston Villa continued to limp towards Premier League survival.


Villa took the lead through Andreas Weimann's sublime long-range effort - the only highlight of a forgettable first half.

The second half was more of a spectacle and Stoke were rewarded for their superiority when Huth powered in a header from Jermaine Pennant's corner.

Neither side possessed a cutting edge to inflict further damage as the sides shared the points.

Following last week's morale-boosting draw at Liverpool, Villa boss Alex McLeish was expecting his side to build on that with a victory.

But Villa's faltering campaign continued with a disjointed display against a Stoke side that have now won just three of their last 13 Premier League matches.

The sides traded blows in a scrappy first half that lacked any real intensity, with James Collins testing Asmir Begovic with a header from Barry Bannan’s corner before Kenwyne Jones came close at the other end when he rifled a shot into the side-netting.

But Weimann provided the moment of quality the game was crying out for with a magnificent goal that doubled his Premier League tally for the season.

Exchanging passes with Stephen Ireland on the edge of the box, Weimann readjusted his body to curl a delightful right-footed effort over the diving Begovic and into the far top corner.

Stoke looked for a route back before the break, and came closest when Jones saw his shot cleared off the line. Matthew Etherington collected the loose ball and fired a cross into Walters, whose header looped just over the bar.

The second half was better but Villa were not, as McLeish's side found themselves pinned inside their own half for long periods.

The visitors benefited from the introductions of Peter Crouch and Pennant, with the latter providing the assist for the equaliser.

Whipping in an undefendable ball from the right, Pennant picked out German giant Huth, whose towering header into the roof of the net left Shay Given with no chance.

Villa showed flashes of potential with Bannan lofting a wonderful pass into the path of Gabriel Agbonlahor, but the striker could only drag his shot well wide to spurn a rare opening.

Both defences held firm to earn a point but Villa, who lie seven points clear of the drop zone with six games to play, are not out of the woods yet.

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