Result: Newscastle United 1-1 Aston Villa

Hatem Ben Arfa
© PA Photos
A 25-yard screamer from Hatem Ben Arfa rescues a point for Newcastle United in their Premier League clash with Aston Villa this afternoon.

A 25-yard screamer from Hatem Ben Arfa rescued a point for Newcastle United in their Premier League clash with Aston Villa this afternoon.

The visitors looked dangerous on the counter-attack in the opening stages, and took a deserved lead in the 22nd minute when Clark headed home a menacing cross from Barry Bannan.

Newcastle came close to an equaliser on 31 minutes through Papiss Cisse, who pounced on a loose ball and forced a top-drawer save from Villa keeper Brad Guzan.

Paul Lambert's side continued to dominate possession into the second half, with Darren Bent a constant threat to the home defence.

Ben Arfa made a nuisance of himself at the other end, shooting narrowly wide from long range and testing Guzan with a goal-bound header shortly before the hour mark.

It was the Frenchman who drew Alan Pardew's side level on the hour mark, producing a spectacular 25-yard drive that Guzan was helpless to stop.

Newcastle appeared content with a point as they took their foot off the gas when they drew level, but Villa had other ideas.

The Villans came agonisingly close to clinching a winner through Stephen Ireland, whose 18-yard half-volley narrowly missed the target on 78 minutes.

Newcastle were relived to hear the full-time whistle, while Villa will feel they deserved more than a point from the game.

Ciaran Clark
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