AAP Soccer

West Brom snatches draw over Aston Villa

By AAP Newswire

Jay Rodriguez has bundled in a controversial stoppage-time equaliser as West Brom snatched a 2-2 derby draw against Aston Villa at the Hawthorns.

Anwar El Ghazi's double looked set to see the visitors join their rivals in the English Championship play-off places but Rodriguez forced the ball home and referee Darren England decided it was with his head, rather than hand, after a lengthy consultation with his assistant.

Rodriguez admitted to Sky Sports after Friday's game the ball had gone in off his hand.

Dwight Gayle had cancelled out El Ghazi's 12th-minute opener with his 10th of the season for the home side during a pulsating first half.

Dean Smith's side dominated after the break and might have been out of sight had 11-goal striker Tammy Abraham taken one of several chances that fell to him.

Two minutes after the break, Gayle headed over from Kieran Gibbs' cross and Harvey Barnes forced Villa keeper Orjan Nyland into action with a low effort after cutting inside onto his right foot.

If there was a touch of fortune about El Ghazi's opener - a 20-yard effort that deflected off Jake Livermore and Ahmed Hegazi before wrong-footing Sam Johnstone - there was no luck required with his second after 59 minutes, with the Lille loanee hammering another 20-yard effort into the top corner with the outside of his right foot.

Yannick Bolasie headed wide after more trickery from El Ghazi down the right as Villa turned the screw and Abraham missed a sitter as he tripped over the ball when Bolasie's low cross found him unmarked six yards out.

Gayle's effort from a tight angle with six minutes left was comfortable for Nyland before Rodriguez punished Villa's profligacy.