Queens Park Rangers Vs. Aston Villa, 2011 Premier League: Late Villa Own Goal Means 1-1 Draw

This was hardly Aston Villa's finest game, but Villa fans will be feeling desperately unlucky to throw away two points right at the death. Most would admit they they never had much business being ahead in the first place, however - Queens Park Rangers were by far the better side in the first half and should have been miles ahead by the interval, the penalty to give Villa the lead was very soft, and Alan Hutton twice handled the ball in the box to give the home side two legitimate penalty shouts. It was only justice, then, that Richard Dunne had the misfortune of taking a Stephen Warnock clearance to the thigh and inadvertently bouncing the ball past Shay Given and into the back of his own net in the dying seconds of the match.

The first half featured a very strong performance by the hosts and a completely anonymous one from Villa. Nearly every outfield player in claret and blue were miserable, while Adel Taraabt and Shaun Wright-Phillips stole the show for QPR, with the former rattling Given's post in the early stages with a sumptuous strike. It was Patrick Kenny, however, who had to pull off the save of the half when Barry Bannan stroked a 44th minute free kick towards his top corner, the goalkeeper flinging himself to his left to bat the ball away. It was Villa's first shot of the half.

The visitors were much improved after the break - they almost had to be - and Bannan was at the heart of everything, weaving pretty patterns with his passing from the right flank. It wasn't long before Villa were ahead thanks to an eagle-eyed Michael Oliver spotting a nigh-invisible shirt pull by Armand Traore on Gabby Agbonlahor in the penalty area. Bannan stepped up to take the spot kick, and rolled the ball into the back of the net, despite Kenny guessing the right way.

With Villa in the ascendancy, one might have expected them to try to kill off the game, but Bannan was withdrawn due to some sort of injury after 70 minutes and the visitors spent the rest of the match on the back foot. They were incredibly fortunate in Oliver ignoring two clear-cut handball calls on Alan Hutton in the Villa box, somewhat less lucky to fail to score on their occasional penetrating counterattack and pretty miserably unlucky to concede a last minute own goal despite QPR being down to ten men (Traore, for a second bookable offence).

The point was no less than the hosts deserved for a good all-around game, of course, but Villa's failure to hold an important lead has struck once again.

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