Rovers victory comes at price

BY foxsports • January 20, 2013

West Brom came from 2-0 down to snatch a point as Aston Villa climbed out of the relegation places in an entertaining 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns.

With earlier results going against them, Villa found themselves second from bottom of the Premier League at kick off, and reacted swiftly, racing into a two goal lead before half time through Christian Benteke and Gabby Agbonlahor.

But the second half belonged to West Brom as they created a host of chances to breach the nervy Villa defence, and once Chris Brunt had halved the arrears, it was just a matter of time before the equaliser came, with Peter Odemwingie obliging with just seven minutes remaining.

It was little more than West Brom deserved, despite emerging second best from a first half that will give all at Villa Park hope of a better second half to the season.

Paul Lambert's youngsters raced from the blocks showing little fear, in spite of the predicament they found themselves in at kick off, languishing 19th in the table after the afternoon's games.

Charles N'Zogbia, Agbonlahor and Benteke provided a formidable attacking triangle, and West Brom had no answer to their movement that was relentless down both channels.

And it was little surprise that the opening was not long in arriving. A piece of individual brilliance from the Belgian Benteke saw him lose his marker with a drop of the shoulder and turn to power a right-footed shot into the far corner.

The pressure continued, and the home crowd were becoming increasingly frustrated by their side's lack of shooting composure. Graham Dorrans and Brunt were both wayward with efforts on Brad Guzan's goal, whilst Romelu Lukaku struggled to get the better of the returning Ron Vlaar.

So the second goal was richly deserved and predictably the opening was created by N'Zogbia. His drive down the right and pin-point ball inside to Agbonlahor saw the forward finish with aplomb to silence the home crowd still further.

Half time came at a bad time for Villa, and gave Steve Clarke the chance to regroup his troops, and West Brom did just that.

A far more positive West Brom outfit emerged for the second period, and immediately set about reducing the arrears.

Chris Brunt took just over four minutes to find his shooting boots, side-footing in from the edge of the box to start the nerves jangling in the Villa camp.

And after several missed chances, not least by Odemwingie, the Nigerian international finally got his reward, and broke Villa hearts, hooking in from a corner after Gareth McAuley had knocked the ball down.

Leyton Orient boss Russell Slade admitted Doncaster were deserved winners after his side crashed 2-0 at the Keepmoat.

Rob Jones and Chris Brown find the net in either half for Rovers in a game which only went ahead after a massive snow-clearing operation.

And Slade said: "It might have been better for us had it been off.

"We had a cup game with extra-time during the week and I had to make changes to freshen things up a little bit.

"The pitch was a little bit tricky in places but there are no excuses. It was perfectly playable and they played on it much better than us.

"Doncaster are the benchmark for this division. They are a good side but, having said that, we were only behind by a goal at the interval to a set-play.

"The second goal we tried to play for offside and it didn't come off and we have to learn from our mistakes.

"Both goals we conceded were disappointing and we have to learn from Doncaster in terms of what it takes to be successful in this league."

Victory came at a cost for Moore, who lost Akpa Akpro to a suspected broken rib in the second half.

The jet-heeled striker was taken to hospital for an X-ray after landing awkwardly when he flew into an aerial challenge.

"It's always the way that the players who get injured are your best ones," Moore joked.

"He's just been getting his form back and it's no coincidence that we have been winning games."

Akpa Akpro's pace alongside David Amoo caused the Londoners problems on the break, but it was two errors that handed Tranmere the points.

Andy Robinson gave the visitors the lead just before the break, converting from the penalty spot after Harlee Dean had fouled David Amoo in the area.

Brentford hit back when Dean redeemed himself, getting ahead of his marker to glance home Jake Bidwell's near post free-kick. But Adam McGurk won it when he skipped past two defenders to fire in a low angled drive for the winner in the 66th minute.

Moore insisted the better side won and felt Dean was lucky to stay on the pitch after the penalty was award.

He said: "We deserved the win, but I was surprised the ref brought out the yellow quickly and not the red card. That was our best team performance of the season against a side who I'm sure won't be too far off the automatic promotion places."


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