Aston Villa 1 Blackburn Rovers 0

Last updated : 01 January 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Nolberto Solano was the hero as Aston Villa won their first game in seven games.

The Peruvian scored a dramatic 88th minute goal to ease the growing pressure on the Midlands club.

Solano is Villa's top goalscorer with six goals, proving the need to acquire a goalscorer as soon as possible.

Juan Pablo Angel is sadly out of form and has now failed to score for nine games.

Villa have a £6million bid on the table for Southampton's James Beattie and the sooner they complete the deal the happier everyone will be at Villa Park.

Manager David O'Leary admitted: "We had all the play and Blackburn would have been happy with a draw.

"The goal itself came from an unlikely source in Solano, who was a diamond to acquire for £1.4million last season.

"He was always likely to do something and it was good to see him get the late winner when it mattered.

"But it tells you something that he is our top goalscorer with six goals and something has to be done to address the situation.

"We have been struggling to score and hopefully this will see a change in our fortunes."

Blackburn boss, Mark Hughes, admitted: "I was disappointed to see us concede such a late goal and a player of the stature of Solano is given a free header.

"It was a poor game all-round as neither side showed enough quality on the day to get the points.

"There were a lot of misplaced passes from both sides and it was not a pretty spectacle."

Blackburn were less than emphatic in their approach work and this explains their high number of drawn games over the last ten matches. They were heading for another draw before Solano's dramatic strike.

Little Paul Dickov, who has enjoyed something of a revival in recent games, was a handful for Villa's defence but the finishing was not of the same quality which meant that Thomas Sorensen was rarely under any pressure.

The main concern centred on Villa's goal drought which has seen them score just one goal in their last four matches which have all been lost.

Solano tried desperately hard to provide his strikers with a goalscoring service but Angel still struggled to make any kind of impact.

Villa's highlight of a generally low-key goalless first half occurred when JLloyd
Samuel found Solano with an accurate 60-yard cross-field pass. Solano, with perfect timing, hit a first-time shot which just went wide.

Solano then set up a goalscoring opportunity for Angel only for the Colombian striker to fail dismally to make contact.

Angel had another chance to redeem himself when Solano cleverly carved out an opening for the striker who rounded a couple of Blackburn defenders only to fire his effort into the side-netting.

Likewise Blackburn also lacked a lethal finisher and their only effort of note came when Brett Emerton's right-wing corner was headed against the outside of the post by Nils-Eric Johansson.

Early in the second half both Luke Moore and Solano wasted gilt-edged chances and it appeared as if Blackburn would survive Villa's all-out attacking play.

It was then that Solano was given a free header from a Gareth Barry corner on the right to head the ball down past Brad Friedel.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Nolberto Solano (Aston Villa) - took the honours with his late winner which capped a fine all-round performance which deservedly earned him rich praise from manager David O'Leary.