Aston Villa 1 Newcastle United 1: Late drama at Villa Park as Benitez's side are denied a win

Newcastle's players celebrate
Newcastle's players celebrate

Aston Villa denied Newcastle United a victory with a dramatic late equaliser at Villa Park tonight.

Aaron Tshibola claimed a hard-fought point for Villa from a 1-1 draw with an 88th-minute header.

Jonjo Shelvey, right

Jonjo Shelvey, right

Tommy Elphick had given United a first-half lead with an own goal, and Rafa Benitez's side – who had dominated the first half –looked to be heading for a victory at Villa Park.

But Tshibola rose to head a cross past Matz Sels in the dying minutes to the frustration of Benitez and the club's 2,800 travelling fans.

The result left United fifth in the Championship table ahead of Wednesday night's home game against new leaders Norwich City.

Cheick Tiote made his Newcastle first appearance of the season in the match, which featured the most expensive line-ups in the league's history.

The two starting XIs were worth more than £120million.

It was also the first time two Champions League winning managers – Benitez and Roberto Di Matteo – had gone head to head in English football's second tier.

Benitez handed former Villa defender Ciaran Clark a start in defence and recalled Dwight Gayle – who sat out Tuesday night's EFL Cup win over Wolverhampton Wanderers – to his attack.

And Clark, booed by the home fans, made an early block to deny Jonathan Kodija a shot at goal.

Newcastle took their time to settle into the game, and their breakthrough came in the 28th minute courtesy of Elphick, who diverted a cross from DeAndre Yedlin past Pierluigi Gollini.

Gayle had a penalty appeal waved away, and a shot saved by Gollini, later in the half.

United ended the half strongly. They had imposed themselves on Villa and forced a series of errors, but they couldn't add to the scoreline.

Benitez sent out an unchanged team after the break, and Jonjo Shelvey forced a save from Gollini with a dipping effort.

Villa themselves had a goal disallowed for offside, and referee Christopher Kavanagh booked Tshibola for diving after he went down in the box under a challenge from Tiote, who had replaced Yedlin in the 75th minute.

Benitez sent on Aleksandar Mitrovic on for the last nine minutes.

But it was Villa substitute Tshibola who would make the difference, heading a corner past Sels at the back post after during a nervous finale at Villa Park.

United managed to see out a six minutes of added time which saw Di Matteo's side deliver a series of balls into Sels' box.

ASTON VILLA: Gollini, Chester, Elphick, Baker (Tshibola, 46), Bacuna, Amavi, Jedinak, Westwood (Hepburn-Murphy, 85), Adomah (Gestede, 62), Ayew, Kodjia. Subs not used: Bunn, Richards, Hutton, Cissokho.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Sels; Yedlin (Tiote, 75), Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Shelvey, Hayden; Ritchie, Diame, Gouffran; Gayle (Mitrovic, 81). Subs not used: Darlow, Lazaar, Hanley, Atsu, Perez.

Goals: Elphick 28 (og),Tshibola 88

Bookings: Shelvey 26, Chester 42, Baker 44, Tshibola 81

Referee: Christopher Kavanagh (Lancashire)

Attendance: 32,062