West Bromwich 0 - 0 Aston Villa: Villa gain vital point at Hawthorns

Aston Villa edged closer to Barclays Premier League survival after collecting a hard-earned point against West Brom at the Hawthorns.

But it needed a controversial refereeing decision by Mark Clattenburg to deny Albion victory after Villa defender Alan Hutton clearly used his arm to block a goal-bound header from Liam Ridgewell.

But Clattenburg and his assistant failed to spot the incident and the visitors survived to earn their 16th draw of the campaign.

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Alex McLeish’s side deserved their share of the spoils on the balance of play and were again left to rue failing to be more clinical in front of goal

Gabriel Agbonlahor, Chris Herd and Charles N’Zogbia all failed to make the most of gilt edged chances and Albion’s Ben Foster was the busier of the two keepers.

The first clearcut chance fell to Villa midfielder Herd after 26 minutes.

Richard Dunne showed good control to the right of Ben Foster’s goal before sending over a low cross which landed in Herd’s path. He struck his shot firmly enough but it flew straight at Foster who was able to make the save. Agbonlahor, without a goal in 20 league games, then used his pace to get clear of the Baggies back four. But his touch was heavy inside the area and Foster was able to block his eventual shot.

Albion were incensed when denied what appeared a clearcut penalty four minutes into the second half.

Ridgewell climbed above the Villa defence to power in a header from Graham Dorrans’ corner. Hutton, who had already been booked, appeared to scoop the ball over the bar with his arm. But Clattenburg turned aside Albion’s appeals.

Albion were looking sharper and Gareth McAuley headed just wide from a Brunt free-kick.

But Foster again came to Albion’s rescue when he blocked a fierce close range attempt from N’Zogbia after he was completely unmarked from Agbonlahor’s accurate cross.

Cuellar came to Villa’s rescue when he headed Odemwingie’s shot off the line.

Villa probed for a winner in the closing stages and a mix-up between Olsson and Foster saw the ball break to Agbonlahor.

His cross was turned back by Emile Heskey to Herd whose shot was blocked by Jonas Olsson.

Shay Given produced a superb save with seconds remaining to keep out a Peter Odemwingie volley.