English Premiership

Villa's woes continue

2015-02-28 19:37
Papiss Cisse (Getty Images)

Newcastle - Aston Villa have missed a chance to climb out of the Premier League relegation zone as Papiss Cisse condemned them to a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday.

Villa, whose troubles finding the net continued as they failed to score for the sixth successive away game, have now lost seven consecutive league matches.

And Tim Sherwood's side are second from bottom after a 12th successive league game without a win that leaves their 27-year stay in the English top flight under increasing threat.

While new manager Sherwood awaits his first league win since taking charge, as the size of the task facing the former Tottenham Hotspur boss is laid bare by each passing defeat, the victory provided a much needed outcome for his opposite number John Carver.

Newcastle's caretaker head coach earned only a second victory in nine games since taking charge following Alan Pardew's move to Crystal Palace as Cisse kept up his impressive strike-rate this season.

In front of a St James' Park crowd of more than 51,000, Cisse's deadlock-breaking goal eight minutes before the interval arrived at the end of a passage of play where the visitors had enjoyed their most sustained spell of pressure.

Christian Benteke came close to ending his side's long wait for a goal on their travels, the forward seeing an acrobatic overhead kick pushed for a corner by Tim Krul after the Belgian pounced on a weak clearing header by Mike Williamson.

That came after Benteke wastefully side-footed wide at the far post from Ashley Westwood's lofted pass, although in terms of culpability, it wasn't in the same league as that conjured up shortly after by Gabriel Agbonlahor, who should have done far batter with a close-range volley from Tom Cleverley's pass into the box.

They proved to be costly misses as Newcastle took the lead against the run of play with their first threat on goal.

Daryl Janmaat was allowed time to send over a measured cross from the right which Jores Okore should have easily cleared.

Yet the defender allowed the ball to bounce beyond him, and Cisse was able to take a touch before beating Brad Guzan with a close-range effort.

Senegal international Cisse has scored his 11 goals from 18 Premier League appearances this season, only half of those having been starts.

Emmanuel Riviere, the French forward handed a rare Newcastle start, almost doubled the advantage before half-time, heading narrowly wide from a Sammy Ameobi corner.

Ameobi was again the line of supply when, after the break, Cisse headed the midfielder's free-kick wide for a Newcastle side who saw Massadio Haidara add to their lengthy defensive injury list on the hour.

However, Carver resisted the urge to put on Jonas Gutierrez, the Argentinian international named on the bench for the first time in 17 months after a successful battle against testicular cancer.

Villa had shown little urgency in their attempts to force an equaliser until Krul was forced into a fine save to keep out a crisp left-foot effort from Cleverley as the midfielder ran onto Benteke's 62nd-minute flick.

Benteke had the ball in the net soon after, but was correctly ruled offside as the visitors sensed a way back, one which ultimately failed to materialise.

Newcastle substitute Ryan Taylor came closest to a second goal as his 20-yard free-kick was well saved by Guzan, Ayoze Perez heading the resulting corner against the outside of a post in the last meaningful goalmouth action.


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