Live Commentary: Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich City - as it happened

Live Commentary: Aston Villa 1-1 Norwich City - as it happened
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Sports Mole brings you live commentary as Paul Lambert's Aston Villa take on his former club Norwich City.

Norwich City made the trip to Aston Villa this afternoon to face their former manager Paul Lambert.

With both sides lingering near the relegation zone, three points was vital.

Despite going in front through Christian Benteke, Villa had a man sent off and were eventually pegged back by Michael Turner, who secured a share of the spoils for the visitors.

Read how the action unfolded with our minute-by-minute updates below.


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12.08pmAfternoon everyone. The weekend soon comes around doesn't it! We've got a battle between two of the Premier League's strugglers to get the top flight's weekend underway.

12.11pmThree points are massive for both clubs today, although you get the impression it's Villa who are desperate for the victory. Anyway, let's bring you the team news from Villa Park...

12.12pmVilla X1: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Bennett, El Ahmadi; Delph, Herd, Albrighton, Holman; Agbonlahor, Benteke

12.14pmWell, well, well - no Darren Bent again! The England striker has been named on the bench. Something must have gone on between him and Lambert because you would think a player with his goalscoring record would be a certainty to start this important fixture. Gabriel Agbonlahor, who has not scored in his last 27 Premier League games, starts in Bent's place.

12.16pmNorwich X1: Ruddy; R. Martin, Bassong, Turner, Garrido; Johnson, Tettey, E. Bennett, Pilkington, Hoolahan; Holt

12.19pmSo Chris Hughton makes no changes to his Norwich side that defeated Arsenal 1-0 last weekend. That means Grant Holt will feature as a lone striker, while Michael Turner continues at the back.

12.22pmTalking Holt, the 31-year-old appears to have rediscovered the goalscoring touch that deserted him earlier in the season. He has three goals in his last three games.

12.25pmOne thing is for sure, there should be goals at Villa Park today. Villa have conceded 13 goals from their eight outings, while Norwich have shipped four more from the same amount of matches.

12.28pmThere was also seven in the two encounters between these clubs last season. Villa claimed a 3-2 victory at home, before losing 2-0 at Carrow Road on the final day of the campaign. Little did we know then that Lambert would be switching dugouts soon after.

12.30pmTalking of Lambert, BBC Sport's Jake Humphrey has been tweeting about the Scot this morning: "Fans of Norwich City, show Lambert why we're the world's best. Applaud him onto the pitch, remember what he did for us... Oh, and applaud him off when we win!" - Fighting talk!

12.32pmIf recent history is anything to go by though, a Norwich victory is unlikely. The Norfolk-based outfit have not left Villa Park with all three points since the 1992/1993 season. Having said that, there has only been four meetings in Birmingham since then.

12.35pmThis stat from Opta Joe on Twitter sort of contradicts what I said about goals!: "Norwich City (7%) and Aston Villa (9%) have the lowest goals to shots ratios in the Premier League this season." Oh dear!

12.39pmAnyway, think positive thoughts! We will get some goals today! I'm going for a 2-2 draw.

12.42pmThe players are now in the tunnel. A little under three minutes until we get underway...

12.45pmNorwich gets this encounter off and running...

1 minSome risky play from Villa skipper Ron Vlaar inside his own area almost allows Bradley Johnson the chance to get a shot in a shot on goal. Vlaar atones for his error though and the danger is cleared.

3 minNorwich are again on the attack with a neat passing move. However, Elliott Bennett overhits his cross and the ball skids out for a throw-in. Positive stuff from Norwich nonetheless.

5 minThe home side are yet to show anything in the Norwich half as yet. They look at little nervy if truth be told.

7 minSAVE! Finally Villa's attacking players liven themselves up. Brett Holman shoots low from the edge of the box but John Ruddy gets down to hold.

11 minIt's a very quiet Villa Park at the moment. In fairness to the supporters, there has been very little for them to get excited about.

14 minA scuffed shot by Norwich's Bennett from around 25 yards out goes closer to the corner flag than the goal. Sums the opening 14 minutes of this match up nicely.

17 minPENALTY APPEAL! Vlaar is a lucky boy! He's trips up the pacey Bennett on the edge of the area but Phil Dowd waves away the protests. The referee has got that one wrong and Norwich can feel hard done by.

19 minThe traditional applause for skipper Petrov starts up. The Bulgarian is currently in remission following a battle with leukemia. Nice touch as always.

22 minSAVE! It's a good stop from Villa keeper Brad Guzan but Norwich really should be 1-0 up. A scuffed shot from Holt frees Hoolahan eight yards from goal. The Irish international delays his shot and Guzan races out to block. A wasted opportunity for the away team.

26 minGOAL! Villa 1-0 Norwich (Benteke)

27 minWho needs Darren Bent?! Christian Benteke justifies the decision to stick him in the starting lineup by showing great composure inside the area, before slotting the ball past a diving Ruddy. It may have come against the run of play but Villa don't care one jot!

29 minBOOKING! Villa's Joe Bennett goes into the book for a late sliding challenge on his namesake Elliott.

33 minThis may sound a little harsh, but you can see why these two sides have struggled so far this season. The only real bit of quality we've seen came from Benteke's goal. Both have struggled to produce in the final third of the pitch.

38 minBenteke gets another sight of goal but his curling effort is blocked by Russell Martin. Very little to report other than that I'm afraid.

40 minNorwich's Hoolahan is the one player on the pitch that looks capable of producing something special. He's a clever player. Makes you wonder how he doesn't feature on a more regular basis for the Republic of Ireland.

44 minCHANCE! Half an opportunity for Benteke again as the Belgian sends a tame header straight into the hands of Ruddy.

45 minOne minute of stoppage time to be played...

1.31pmHALF-TIME: Villa 1-0 Norwich

1.32pmWell that has to go down as one of the most disappointing 45 minutes in the Premier League this season. If someone has seen worse, I'd like to hear it! Paul Lambert won't be bothered though, his side lead 1-0 against his former employers.

1.34pmHere's our report of the first half from Villa Park for you to read through as we await the players for the restart.

1.47pmSurely we're going to have better second half aren't we?! Let's hope so. Villa get us underway...

47 minSUBSTITUTION: Norwich made a change at the break. The injured Russell Martin has been replaced by Ryan Bennett. We now have three players with the surname Bennett on the pitch. Could get confusing!

50 minUnfortunately the first five minutes of this half have not given any indication that we are in store for anything better. Long, hard seasons ahead for both!

51 minRED CARD! Joe Bennett (Villa)

52 minGood old Joe Bennett, helping out my Bennett problem! Three becomes two as the young full-back is dismissed for his second foul of the afternoon on Elliott Bennett. He can have no arguments - the winger was too quick for him and he hauled him back.

54 minSUBSTITUTION: Eric Lichaj comes on for Gabriel Agbonlahor as Villa reshuffle following the dismissal of Joe Bennett.

58 minDarren Bent has just been warming up. It may not be too long before we see him replace Benteke, who is already looking isolated as a lone striker.

62 minThe red card to Joe Bennett has changed this game. Villa are now content to sit back and allow Norwich possession of the ball. It's up to the visitors to force the issue and break the Villa defence down.

63 minSAVE! Some really good goalkeeping from Guzan denies the lively Hoolahan from a narrow angle. These two are having their own personal duel today.

64 minSUBSTITUTE: Meanwhile, Norwich make their first chance of the afternoon. Elliott Bennett (another Bennett bites the dust) is replaced by Robert Snodgrass.

68 minSome brave defending from Vlaar denies Hoolahan a clear header on goal. It was a good move from Norwich that saw Holt head a cross from Snodgrass back across goal where Hoolahan was lurking. The Canaries are in complete control at the moment.

69 minSUBSTITUTION: Goalscorer Benteke takes his leave as Bent enters the action. Being a former Ipswich Town frontman, he is roundly booed by the travelling support. Norwich also make a change with Johnson coming off and Steve Morison joining the play.

72 minNorwich are now camped in the Villa half. Every clearance that the home side makes falls to a yellow shirt.

75 minCredit to Villa though, the likes of Vlaar and Chris Herd are defending extremely well at the moment. Everything Norwich throw at them they are dealing with.

77 minSAVE! Guzan has kept Villa in front here as he saves from Holt, who only had the American to beat from the edge of the area. The way the 31-year-old has been playing recently, you would have backed him to score from there.

78 minSUBSTITUTION: Brett Holman comes off for a breather as Andreas Weimann enters the action.

78 minGOAL! Villa 1-1 Norwich (Turner)

79 minAfter all that good defending, Villa go and shoot themselves in the foot! A quickly taken corner catches them napping and Hoolahan whips in a teasing cross for Michael Turner, who glances a header into the net via the post. It's no more than Norwich deserve, they've battered Villa since they went down to 10 men. Still time for a winner.

82 minNorwich are now going in search of a winner. The Villa defence has switched off once, they can't afford to do it again.

87 minA lot of Norwich's play is direct now. They are trying to put the ball on Holt or Morison's head at every opportunity and are hoping the likes of Hoolahan can collect the knock downs. They're dominating, but Villa are standing firm.

90 minFour minutes of stoppage time to be played...

90+2 minCHANCE! Big, big opportunity for Norwich. A cross from Morison works its way to Ryan Bennett, who shoots like you would expect a defender to! He never sets himself properly and the ball flies over from a really good position.

90+3 minCHANCE! Another chance goes over the bar from Norwich as Snodgrass's attempted chip over Guzan comes to nothing. That should be it.

2.37pmFULL TIME: Villa 1-1 Norwich

2.38pmWell the spoils are shared after a much improved second half at Villa Park. Lambert is bound to be the happier of the two managers after seeing his side go down to 10 men. Norwich were the better side and can count themselves unfortunate not to claim maximum points.

2.39pmThanks for joining us this afternoon and be sure to stay tuned with Sports Mole for our coverage of all the football throughout the day.

Paul Lambert
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