No margin for error after Villa setback, says Sam thumbnail

No margin for error after Villa setback, says Sam

Boss Sam Allardyce admits West Brom have no margin for error with the Baggies on the brink of relegation after a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa.

Keinan Davis’ injury-time leveller, after Kyle Bartley’s mistake, delivered a hammer blow to Albion’s survival hopes.

Matheus Pereira’s spot-kick and Tyrone Mings’ own goal nearly gave them victory at Villa Park after Anwar El Ghazi’s penalty opener.

The second-bottom Baggies are nine points from Premier League safety with five games left having targeted five wins from their remaining matches before the derby.

Allardyce said: “It throws more importance on the next one and the next one without any slip-ups. I’m really pleased with the response to the Leicester disappointment. The lads showed real spirit after a dodgy start.

“Apart from the last seconds it all worked extremely well. You know three points are so vital for us.

“We put it to the lads the teams who have got out of this position and there are about six of them. It means winning a lot of games in your last few but five or six teams have done that.

“People might have looked at the team and thought ‘are they going to go under?’ but we didn’t.

“But for their goalkeeper and the woodwork we would have got the third which would have seen it off. It was our mistake for the equaliser but I can’t be too critical of the players.”

El Ghazi fired Villa ahead from the spot after nine minutes when Semi Ajayi brought down Ross Barkley.

But the Baggies levelled after 23 minutes when Ezri Konsa clipped Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Pereira buried the penalty.

Okay Yokuslu headed wide and Pereira’s free-kick hit the bar in the first half before Albion grabbed the lead two minutes after the break.

Konsa failed to deal with Sam Johnstone’s long clearance and, when Mbaye Diagne advanced into the area, his shot was turned past Emi Martinez by Mings.

Villa, though, recovered and Johnstone saved Ahmed Elmohamady’s volley before Bertrand Traore’s hit the woodwork from a narrow angle.

Martinez needed to be alert when Konsa headed onto his own post and the goalkeeper also turned over Pereira’s sharp effort.

Davis struck the post with five minutes left before levelling in the second minute of stoppage time.

The striker cashed in from close range for his first Premier League goal when Bartley failed to clear Mings’ knockdown to break Albion’s resistance.

“I think it was the least we deserved, it would have been a travesty if we had been beaten,” said boss Dean Smith, with his side 11th.

“It was a good moment for Keinan, he is a well-respected and liked player. He has needed that goal and it has given him a great boost.

“We were the aggressors. I’m still wondering why the penalty was given against us. It looks like there’s a toe which touches his heel, the referee must have some mince pies if he sees that.

“Whoever is at Stockley Park, surely you have to make him (referee Stuart Atwell) have a look at the monitor.

“We controlled the ball really well, we moved it well and caused them problems. We showed we can be a team when Jack (Grealish) is not playing.”

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