Aston Villa 2 Blackburn Rovers 0

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 05 November 2006
If Martin O'Neill expected any fireworks he was disappointed but he had every reason to be satisfied with the result which took Aston Villa back to sixth spot in the Premiership.

It was their first win in five league games and this was hardly a surprise against a Blackburn side which has not won any of its last five league outings.

In a low-key match the turning point was the successful penalty taken by Villa's skipper, Gareth Barry, in the 41st minute.

The goal lifted Villa and dented any hopes Blackburn may have had of ending their dismal league form.

There was also the bonus of a goal from Villa's Juan Pablo Angel early in the second half which certainly sealed the three points and consigned Blackburn to another defeat.

Following their midweek success over Basle a better display was expected from Blackburn, but they struggled to lift their game despite some tenacious play from Tugay and David Bentley.

In the early stages unfortunately much of Villa's play resembled their performances of last season.

But they redeemed themselves with their two goals either side of half-time to kill off the opposition.

In a game which lacked atmosphere or passion, much of the play was disappointing as neither side could really dominate the opposition.

Villa attempted to mount attacks but there was no real authority and as such few goal attempts in the early stages.

Veteran Chris Sutton made his first home league start in place of the out of favour Milan Baros. His partnership with Angel was not particularly productive in a game which failed to come to life until the closing stages of the first half.

Stilian Petrov and Angel both had shots blacked, while Blackburn's response was a powerful rising shot from Bentley which was nonchalantly flicked over the bar by the relatively untroubled Thomas Sorensen.

In the 41st minute fortune certainly favoured Villa in as much that it was the linesman who spotted a handling offence by Andre Ooijer to keep out a cross from Sutton.

It was Villa's seventh spot-kick of the season and skipper Barry stepped up to blast the ball past Brad Friedel.

Poor Blackburn were extremely disappointed with the incident as they conceded their sixth penalty of the campaign, to the consternation of manager Mark Hughes.

Blackburn contributed to their own downfall when Michael Gray pushed the ball back to Zurab Khizanishvili who lost possession to a determined Angel, who finished with a close-range shot.

Afterwards Villa slipped back and sat on their lead to allow Blackburn to show more attacking flair than they had done in first hour.

Substitute Sergio Peter livened up their attack but Francis Jeffers is still struggling to find some consistent form.

The result was that Villa were able to coast to their fourth win and maintain their unbeaten home record.

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