Newcastle United’s Tim Krul: We’re on course for a great season

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GOALKEEPER Tim Krul believes Newcastle United can enjoy an outstanding season as long as they maintain the form shown at Villa Park.

The Magpies maintained their unbeaten start to the season after a goal from Lean Best secured a point for the visitors.

“We played against two very good strikers in Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor, and proved we don’t have to be afraid of anybody,” said Krul.

“We’ve got a fantastic defence, but I think the midfield was excellent as well because Cheik (Tiote) and Johan (Cabaye) cleared up everything in front of them.

“It was a really good team performance and if we can keep everybody fit we can look forward to a very good season.”

Krul felt that Villa got lucky with their 13th minute opener, but was pleased with the way his team-mates bounced back from the early setback.

“It was a great block from Colo (Fabricio Coloccini) from the first shot, but Agbonlahor got lucky because it fell just right for him,” he said.

“I think we have to be happy with a point and it keeps our unbeaten run going. The positive thing for us was that we didn’t let our heads drop. The fact that we were able to come from behind shows the spirit in the squad.

“I think we outplayed Villa. That was our target before the game – to go there and perform better than them and I think we did that.”

Bent, though, squandered two golden chances.

He should have punished the Magpies only for his predatory instincts to desert him, and he completed a miserable afternoon by limping out of the action in the closing stages.

Charles N’Zogbia is also still struggling to adapt to life at Villa Park after his summer move from Wigan but Newcastle looked full of confidence with midfielder Tiote a key figure.

Villa were indebted to a fine display from former Magpies keeper Shay Given and defender James Collins in holding on for a point despite Bent’s opportunities.

The first chance fell to the Magpies with Best teeing up Yohan Cabaye 20 yards out and his shot flew only just wide.

Newcastle looked purposeful and Given had to be alert to turn a cross from Gabriel Obertan over the bar.

But after 13 minutes Agbonlahor put Villa in front via their first meaningful attack. Bannan’s left-footed cross picked out the England striker whose initial volley was blocked by Fabricio Coloccini.

But the ball dropped back straight into Agbonlahor’s path and he made no mistake from close range.

Bent missed a golden chance to double Villa’s lead after 26 minutes. Skipper Petrov manoeuvred his way to the by-line and squared the ball back across the box to the unmarked Bent only for the England player side-footed wide from eight yards out.

Newcastle still looked threatening and Given made a fine save to turn aside Steven Taylor’s volley.

Agbonlahor came close to striking for the second time a minute after the restart. N’Zogbia played the ball into Agbonlahor’s feet and he managed to turn and fire in a low shot which beat the dive of Krul but curled inches wide.

Newcastle deservedly got back on level terms after 57 minutes through Best. The former Coventry striker was unmarked at the far post and his initial effort from Tiote’s cross produced a fine save from Given, but Best had the easiest of chances to convert the rebound.

Petrov was booked for dissent, banging his fist into the turf, after bringing down Best.

Bent had another great chance to restore Villa’s lead after a mistake by Steven Taylor in trying to deal with substitute Stephen Ireland’s centre. Bent, however, failed to make a full contact on his lob over Krul and Steven Taylor was able to make amends for his error by clearing.

Albrighton dragged a shot just wide of the far post, before Given made a superb save to turn aside Cabaye’s 87th minute piledriver.

Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Bannan (Albrighton 67), Petrov (Ireland 68), Delph, N’Zogbia, Bent (Delfouneso 85), Agbonlahor. Subs Not Used: Guzan, Herd, Lowry, Gardner. Booked: Collins. Goals: Agbonlahor 13.

Newcastle: Krul, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Obertan, Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez (Sammy Ameobi 85), Best (Shola Ameobi 69), Ba (Marveaux 80). Subs Not Used: Elliot, Guthrie, Lovenkrands, Perch. Booked: Best. Goals: Best 57.

Att: 34,248 Ref: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).