Honours even on derby day after stalemate
- Chances few and far between
- Albion move on to 28 points and remain 13th
- One defeat in seven games for Baggies
- Albion Star Man: Craig Dawson
- Attendance: 26,165
ALBION and Aston Villa fought out a grim goalless stalemate in a dour Hawthorns derby.
The old rivalry brought an occasion thick with tension and packed with effort from both teams but very little in the way of goal threat.
Albion, who looked tired after a January fixture schedule which Head Coach Tony Pulis admits has taxed his team, struggled to give a near capacity attendance the goal they craved against their arch rivals.
But Ben Foster, who was recalled for his first Premier League outing since suffering injury last March, made the game’s only two saves of note.
The Baggies keeper kept out a 20th minute effort from Jordan Ayew and went full stretch eight minutes from time to deny Carles Gil.
But despite pushing forward in their desperate need for points, the Barclays Premier League bottom club failed to crack a Baggies defence which remained rock solid.
Skipper Darren Fletcher passed a late fitness test to gamely take the battle to Albion’s neighbours while the Baggies finished the game with an attack re-shaped from the bench by the appearance of Victor Anichebe, Saido Berahino and Callum McManaman.
But it was all to no avail as Villa fended off Albion’s efforts to break the deadlock in a derby which failed to live up to its billing.
ALBION: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Evans; Sessegnon (McManaman 74), Yacob, Fletcher, McClean; Gardner (Berahino 63); Rondon (Anichebe 63).
Subs: Myhill, Chester, Pocognili, Lambert.
ASTON VILLA: Bunn, Richards, Okore, Lescott, Cissokho, Bacuna, Gana, Westwood, Gil, Ayew, Kozak (Gestede 63; Veretout 80).
Subs: Guzan, Clark, Sinclair, Lyden, Grealish.
Bookings: Richards (41,foul);
Referee: Robert Madley (Wakefield)