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Football: Newcastle remain goalless after dour draw at Villa


Aston Villa's Alan Hutton (L) is challenged by Newcastle United's Siem de Jong during their English Premier League soccer match at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England. Photo - Reuters

Birmingham: Newcastle are still waiting for their first goal of the new Premier League season after being forced to settle for a dour 0-0 draw at Aston Villa on Saturday.

Magpies boss Alan Pardew tried to perk up his shot-shy attack with a series of pre-season signings, but his new boys have yet to find their form.

They wasted several chances in a 2-0 defeat against champions Manchester City last weekend and created little threat in a tame encounter at rain-lashed Villa Park.

The most notable moment didn't come until stoppage-time when Newcastle defender Mike Williamson was sent off for a second booking, but it was too late for the equally lacklustre Villa to take advantage.

After ending last season amid a chorus of boos from disgruntled fans, Pardew and his players desperately needed to get their first win of the campaign.

Instead they had to be grateful for their first point, even if it was achieved in the most forgettable fashion.

Villa didn't manage a shot on target, but they struggled badly last season, so their unbeaten start at least maintains the signs of improvement for Paul Lambert's team, who won 1-0 at Stoke in their opener and have yet to concede a goal.

Watched from the stands by England manager Roy Hodgson, it was Villa who threatened first when Charles N'Zobgia could only head a decent chance onto the roof of the net.

Newcastle forward Remy Cabella wasted a good opportunity in the 25th minute, shooting wide while off-balance after the ball deflected his way in the Villa area from a cross.

The deadlock was closer to being broken shortly after the interval when Williamson nodded back across the area to the diving Daryl Janmaat, whose header was parried over by Brad Guzan.

Both sides sent on new signings for their debuts, Villa's Carlos Sanchez replacing N'Zogbia and Newcastle's Siem De Jong being introduced for Vurnon Anita.

De Jong almost made a dream start when the Holland midfielder's close-range shot drew a fine stop from Guzan.

The Magpies were then reduced to 10 men when Williamson earned his second booking in the space of just a few minutes following a challenge on Fabian Delph.

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