English Premiership

Villa, Wolves in stalemate

2011-08-27 15:37
Charles N'Zogbia and Stephen Ward (AP)

Birmingham - Wolves maintained their impressive start to the Premier League season as Mick McCarthy's team ground out a 0-0 draw at local rivals Aston Villa on Saturday.

McCarthy's men won their opening two league matches against Blackburn and Fulham and showed plenty of grit to keep Villa at bay in a hard-fought but ultimately uninspiring midlands derby.

Wolves' point takes them to the top of the table, although they are likely to surrender that position by the end of the weekend.

Villa are also still unbeaten after three matches, but Alex McLeish's side will be more frustrated to have to settle for a draw.

The hosts' first chance fell to Stiliyan Petrov but the Bulgarian midfielder dragged his 20-yard drive wide.

Shay Given's awkward movement suggested the Villa goalkeeper may have been struggling with the groin problem that has bothered him recently, but he still did well to block a Stephen Hunt header from Stephen Ward's cross.

Villa should have taken the lead when Emile Heskey met Gabriel Agbonlahor's cross, only for the former Liverpool and England forward to drag his effort wide at the near post.

Wolves midfielder Jamie O'Hara could also have done better when he curled a shot over the bar after being teed up by Steven Fletcher.

When Petrov got into a promising position to cross, his low centre shot was saved by Wayne Hennessey, diving bravely at the feet of Heskey.

Agbonlahor threatened at the start of the second half as he beat Roger Johnson for pace and fired in a low shot that was turned aside by Hennessey.

Villa were in the ascendancy and Kevin Doyle had to nod a Richard Dunne header off the line from Petrov's corner.

Then N'Zogbia's cross created a chance for youngster Chris Herd, whose header was tipped over the bar by Hennessey.

Wolves were caught napping at a short Petrov corner which found N'Zogbia in plenty of space but he failed to take advantage and dragged his shot wide.

It was N'Zogbia's last contribution before being replaced by Barry Bannan, and he immediately created a chance for Darren Bent but the Villa striker headed over.

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