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Published: 17:52 | 15/12/15

Saints and Villa draw

Southampton and Aston Villa had to be content with a point apiece after drawing 1-1 in an entertaining Barclays Premier League clash at St Mary's.

Joleon Lescott put Villa ahead with his first goal for the club against the run of play a minute before half-time, but substitute Oriol Romeu equalised from close range 17 minutes from the end to leave Remi Garde's side still awaiting their first league win since the opening day of the season.

The result sees Southampton drop two places to 12th, while Villa remain rooted to the foot of the table with just six points from their opening 15 games.

Southampton started well and put the Villa defence under quite a bit of pressure in the early stages, forcing a series of corners.

Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle both spurned excellent chances to put Ronald Koeman's side ahead inside the opening five minutes before Sadio Mane blazed over from a good position after good work down the right by Pelle on the quarter hour mark.

Moments later Saints skipper Juan Fonte was denied by the outstretched leg of Rudy Gestede on the line after Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan had flapped at an inswinging James Ward-Prowse corner.

The visitors goal was leading a charmed life as Mane ghosted in at the back post to meet another Ward-Prowse corner, but he somehow headed wide from three yards.

Gestede had Villa's first chance of the game just before the half hour after Jordan Veretout had escaped the attentions of two Southampton defenders down the right, but it was a swing and a miss from the former Blackburn striker and the ball was cleared.

Pelle headed straight at Guzan as Southampton threatened again, but Villa were ahead a minute before the break when Veretout's corner, their first of the game, somehow evaded everyone except the incoming Lescott at the far post who notched his first goal for the club with a simple side-foot from three yards.

Ronald Koeman's side began the second period with plenty of urgency, playing some nice football but failing to trouble Guzan in the Villa goal.

A superb last-ditch block from Alan Hutton denied Pelle whose volley from ten yards out looked destined for the top corner.

Substitute Romeu finally drew a save from Guzan with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area as the game entered its final 20 minutes.

Southampton continued to press and Romeu drew them level when he converted Ward-Prowse's in-swinging corner from close range on 73 minutes as the Villa defence failed to react.

The Saints looked the side most likely to grab a winner, but Villa substitute Ashley Westwood should have put the visitors back in front when he met Gestede's cross at the far post, but his volley flew inches over the crossbar.

Neither side could force an opening in the final minutes, with a draw probably a fair result in the end.

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