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Ben Arfa to the rescue as Villa denied all three points

Hatem Ben Arfa got Newcastle United out of jail with a stunning equaliser as Aston Villa saw victory snatched from their grasp.

Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini, center, vies for the ball with Aston Villa's Matthew Lowton, right, and Karim El Ahmadi, left, during their English Premier League soccer match at the Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle, England, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell) *** Local Caption *** Britain Soccer Premier League.JPEG-0e2f2.jpg
Newcastle United's captain Fabricio Coloccini, center, vies for the ball with Aston Villa's Matthew Lowton, right, and Karim El Ahmadi, left, during their English Premier League soccer match at the Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle, England, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell) *** Local Caption *** Britain Soccer Premier League.JPEG-0e2f2.jpg

NEWCASTLE // Hatem Ben Arfa got Newcastle United out of jail with a stunning equaliser as Aston Villa saw victory snatched from their grasp.

The France international blasted an unstoppable long-range shot past the goalkeeper Brad Guzan with 59 minutes gone to cancel out Ciaran Clark's first-half opener on a day when the Magpies were all at sea for long periods.

Villa more than made a game of it with Tim Krul having to produce good saves to deny Darren Bent and Andreas Weimann, although Guzan hacked a 29th-minute Papiss Cisse shot off the line and clawed out Yohan Cabaye's injury-time free kick in an eventful contest.

Bent served warning of Villa's intent with 19 minutes gone when he forced Krul into save, with Fabricio Coloccini blocking Weimann's follow-up, and the keeper had to deny Bent again seconds later.

But the home side did not heed the warning and were made to pay three minutes later when Barry Bannan was allowed time and space to cross from the left for Clark to head past the helpless Krul.

Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager, had switched to a 4-3-3 formation before the break in an attempt to get Ben Arfa further forward, and the ploy eventually paid off in the 59th minute.

The Frenchman picked up possession on the left and cut inside before unleashing a searing drive which flew high past Guzan and into the top corner.

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