Aston Villa 1 Blackburn Rovers 1

Last updated : 26 January 2008 By Footymad Previewer
England's new boss, Fabio Capello, saw Ashley Young salvage a draw for Aston Villa with a superb equaliser scored direct from a free-kick.

Capello had earlier seen Villa goalkeeper Scott Carson keep his side in the game with a brilliant first-half penalty save.

They were the highlights for Capello as he continues to look to draft in some young blood into his team.

Gabby Agbonlahor, however, was given few opportunities to shine as he nor John Carew could make any impression against the Blackburn central defenders, Andre Ooijer and Chris Samba.

It was something of a frustrating game for Villa and it appeared as if they were heading for another home defeat when Roque Santa Cruz put Blackburn ahead in the 68th minute with an opportunist goal.

It was the 11th Premiership goal scored by Cruz this season and, amazingly, it is the tenth he has grabbed away from home.

Villa, however, maintained their record of having scored in all their 13 home games this season when Young came to their rescue with his 73rd-minute equaliser.

Blackburn's tactics were obvious as they set out to thwart Villa and operated with only one striker up front.

This posed few real threats in the first half to a solid Villa rearguard in which Curtis Davies and Martin Laursen are proving to be a good combination.

Rovers, who are playing better away from home of late, carelessly wasted a fine opportunity to take a first-half lead when Matt Derbyshire saw his penalty brilliantly saved by Carson in the 24th minute.

Nigel Reo-Coker had hacked down David Bentley and referee Howard Webb had no other alternative but to award the spot-kick.

Villa often ran headlong into Blackburn's strong defence who operated with three central defenders to combat Villa's noted attack.

The tactic worked well as Villa were unable to carve out their usual goalscoring opportunities.

In the 61st minute the game took a dramatic turn when David Dunn outpaced Davies and fired in a low shot which Carson could only block.

Santa Cruz was on hand to knock the loose ball home and Villa had to pull out all the stops to get back into the match.

Substitute Marlon Harewood had a pile-driver saved by Brad Friedel before Young curled home his equaliser after Reid had impeded Agbonlahor.

Harewood very nearly snatched a win for Villa when he saw his header from Young's free-kick smash against the bar.