MATCH STATS

CityPress - - Sport -

New­cas­tle’s poor start to the new sea­son con­tin­ued yes­ter­day as they were held to a goal­less draw by As­ton Villa in what was largely a dreary en­counter.

Nei­ther side could muster any qual­ity in the fi­nal third, with a host of chances spurned when goals were in the off­ing, as both de­fences had rel­a­tively easy af­ter­noons.

It was Yoan Gouf­fran who had the best of the early chances, and the French­man’s ef­fort in the 12th minute was car­ried through much of the match.

With a cor­ner headed at the near post, the ball dropped to Gouf­fran who, un­der lit­tle to no pres­sure, was sim­ply un­able to make con­tact with the ball at the back post.

Charles N’Zog­bia pro­duced a de­cent free-kick as the first quar­ter ap­proached its end, but the winger was un­able to find the tar­get.

He was not alone in fail­ing to do so – Villa man­aged just one shot on tar­get in their open­ing league match against Stoke last week­end and they would not be able to even equal that to­tal on this oc­ca­sion.

How­ever, New­cas­tle’s strike­force looked even meeker than that of their hosts; Villa can at least point to the ab­sence of the in­jured Chris­tian Ben­teke as an ex­pla­na­tion for their blunt at­tack.

Rémy Ca­bella was the next to demon­strate a dis­tinct lack of killer touch – the mid­fielder some­how con­spired to pull a weak ef­fort across the face of Brad Guzan’s goal when the Villa de­fence had af­forded him the time to do bet­ter.

An­dreas Weimann and Em­manuel Riviere traded at­tempts as the first pe­riod me­an­dered to an unin­spir­ing close.

New­cas­tle ap­peared to be gal­vanised in the open­ing stages of the sec­ond half, see­ing off a brief spurt of en­ergy from the hosts be­fore be­gin­ning to as­sert their au­thor­ity.

But an in­crease in pos­ses­sion didn’t see more qual­ity fi­nal balls pro­duced, with the Mag­pies con­tin­u­ing to strug­gle in front of goal.

As the match ticked into ex­tra time, New­cas­tle’s Mike Wil­liamson was given his march­ing or­ders af­ter pick­ing up his sec­ond yel­low card, but it was of lit­tle con­se­quence as a late down­pour sent the fans rush­ing for the ex­its – in truth, they had prob­a­bly been look­ing for a rea­son to do so for some time.

– As­ton Villa did not man­age a shot on tar­get against New­cas­tle

– As­ton Villa have man­aged just one shot on tar­get thus far this sea­son

– New­cas­tle have scored just four goals in their past 10 Pre­mier League matches

– Mike Wil­liamson picked up his first red card in 13 years as a pro­fes­sional

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– TEAMtalk Me­dia

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