Paul Lambert hailed a huge point against Southampton as Aston Villa stopped the “bleeding”. Villa went into the game on the back of four successive Barclays Premier League defeats and at the end of a week that saw Lambert’s assistants Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa suspended by the club. No explanation for the suspension has yet been given, with youth coach Gordon Cowans and out-of-favour goalkeeper Shay Given stepping up to help Lambert. The contest against Saints, who had lost three of their previous four games, was not pretty but the 0-0 draw moved Villa five points clear of the relegation zone. Lambert said: ” It was a really tough game. Sometimes in football matches you get big points and you get huge points – that was a huge point for us considering what’s been going on. It’s been a hard week. “I thought second half we were excellent, we gave as good as we got against a really good side. “I didn’t think there was much in it. They started better than us and 15 minutes into the game we started to get a foothold. In the second half I thought (Marc) Albrighton and (Gabriel) Agbonlahor were excellent for us. “When you look at the way the lads played and the determination there, they stepped up to the plate when questions were asked. I said to them that I’m proud of them for what they did today. “We had to stop the bleeding and get something.” Lambert praised the impact made by Cowans and Given, whose last game for Villa came in January 2013. “The two lads have been great,” said Lambert. “Gordon, who I know really well, his status at the football club is huge. “Shay, contrary to what people think because I never played him, I’ve never had one cross word with him. I respect him as a goalkeeper and as a guy, and he and Gordon accepted within seconds. I’m really appreciative of the help.” Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino felt his side deserved more from the game and was particularly unhappy they were not awarded a late penalty. Nathaniel Clyne’s cross clearly hit the hand of Ryan Bertrand in the box but referee Lee Mason decided it was accidental and waved away the vociferous appeals. Pochettino said: “I think we deserved to win. We did everything right except actually score. “I’m very happy with the team’s performance but I’m a little bit sad because we had many chances, and I think we were a little wasteful as well with the chances we created. “It was a clear penalty. And the linesman was quite close. It’s unexplainable to me why that penalty was not given. “We feel hard done by because in the last few games we had decisions that haven’t gone our way and probably, if those decisions had gone our way as they should have, then we would have more points right now. The players did not deserve those calls.” Speaking about the incident, Lambert said: ” I’ve haven’t seen it yet. But if ever a team deserved a little bit of luck, it would be ourselves.” Pochettino, meanwhile, welcomed the PFA award nominations for Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw. Lallana was named alongside Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Eden Hazard and Yaya Toure on the shortlist for player of the year while Shaw has been nominated for the young player award. Pochettino said: “It’s something that’s great for the club and for the team and it’s only going to improve the two players’ performances.” Press Association
The McClimon curse continued on Wednesday night as the Wisconsin men’s soccer team lost a late stunner to Marquette and moved to 0-6 at home in front of a crowd of 803.The annual I-94 rivalry brought out divided stands as the cheers appeared to be split between the Badgers and visitors from Milwaukee.Coming into the game, the Badgers (2-8-1) had just grabbed an impressive tie against Big Ten opponent Michigan and returned to Madison to try and snag two home victories before going on a two week away stretch.The loss gives the team only three more opportunities to win at home this season.The first half was a toss up between the two teams with relatively few real opportunities presenting themselves, even though the teams recorded a combined 20 shots. The best opportunity for a goal in the half and probably the game for the Badgers came in the 37th minute off a routine shot by Tom Barlow that careened off the post. The Golden Eagles (4-4-2) essentially controlled the half, but the lack of a score left the game up for grabs going into the second half.Despite the final score, the Badgers dominated the second half. The young team controlled the tempo and possession for much of the half and it looked that if anyone would score in the match, it would be Wisconsin. The two teams remained knotted at 0-0 until a tap in from Marquette forward Kelmend Islami off a long cross in the 77th minute secured the victory for the Golden Eagles.The Badgers would have one more attempt from defenseman Sam Brotherton that beat the keeper but hit the post, adding more pain to another loss.“I compliment Marquette by making the play to win, but there were too many mistakes by us,” UW head coach John Trask said. “Guys have to take accountability at this point. It’s not about growing up, guys need to harden up.”Trask also said that while an in-state rival is always an important game to play at home, the team is jockeying for position in the Big Ten right now and the improvements in the defense are promising. The Badgers defense had their hands full with one of the nation’s best forwards in Nortey, and Trask said that he was confident in their ability to shut him down.“You can’t sugar coat it any more with these guys,” Trask said. “You have to have to be a little more poignant and we are moving in that direction. I always count on these guys to bounce back and I think they will.”Next up, Wisconsin hosts Big Ten opponent Michigan State at McClimon on Saturday at 7 p.m.