sábado, 5 de noviembre de 2011

Aston Villa 3 - 2 Norwich City

The Aston Villa striker Darren Bent warmed up for England's internationals with two goals that completed a win against Norwich City at Villa Park. And his strike partner, Gabriel Agbonlahor, marked his call-up by setting up both of Bent's goals and scoring one.

"Gabby is in the provisional [England] squad," confirmed his manager, Alex McLeish. "On his form today he would frighten any defence."

Norwich had taken the lead through an Anthony Pilkington free-kick but crumbled once Bent had levelled before half-time, although Steve Morison's late goal gave the home side a nervy finale. Bent was given constant stick by the Norwich fans for his spell at Ipswich but had the last laugh in taking his league goal tally to five for the season.

"We looked like a team that could score goals today," said McLeish. "There was some terrific forward play but Norwich gave us one hell of a game. We showed great character and resilience to bounce back from going behind."

In an end-to-end game, Norwich took the lead after 26 minutes with a superb strike from Pilkington, who curled a powerful free-kick past the dive of Given into the roof of the net. After half an hour, Bent brought Villa level. Agbonlahor outpaced Kyle Naughton and this time Bent bundled the ball over the line.

Early in the second half, a mix-up between Kyle Naughton and John Ruddy led to Agbonlahor putting Villa in front. Naughton's back-pass was slightly short but Ruddy still looked favourite to be first to the ball, only for Agbonlahor to win the challenge and slip the ball into an empty net.

After 62 minutes Bent increased Villa's lead, with Agbonlahor again the creator. Charles N'Zogbia's initial ball was cleared but Agbonlahor picked out Bent, who made no mistake from close range.

The Canaries refused to give up and reduced the arrears after 78 minutes. Holt delivered a far-post centre and Morison ghosted in to head past Given.

"The good thing about us is we don't stop, we keep going," said the Norwich manager, Paul Lambert, "but we can't give goals away like that. We get a foothold in the game at 1-1 and lose a silly goal just after half-time." PA

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