Football: Shearer braced for action

Blackburn Rovers. . . .3

Shearer pen 17, 72, Sutton 56

Aston Villa . . . . . .1

Ehiogu 90

Attendance: 22,694

BOTH sides may have had this week's European duties firmly on their mind making the outcome more cheering for Blackburn, who face a visit to Sweden in an attempt to restore their status against the part-timers of Trelleborgs.

Rovers were more than worthy winners although it was obvious from the start that Villa had not come to ask them any serious questions, settling quickly into a five-men-across-the-back formation.

Arguably this was justifiable against Blackburn's pounds 8m striking partnership, but in the end it was a futile gesture as Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer's understanding continues to mature and, if the signs are to be believed, they could become the trump card which will win the pot for Blackburn.

They shared the goals in more ways than one. In the 17th minute, it was Sutton's threat that was ended by Ugo Ehiogu's foul and Shearer confidently struck the penalty beyond Mark Bosnich. The second, in the 55th minute, saw Shearer return the favour when his shot from Stuart Ripley's cross thumped off Ehiogu's chest and Sutton got his toe to the second shot and poked it beyond Bosnich. The Villa keeper obviously felt something nefarious had gone on and rushed to the referee to put his case. The result, inevitably, was a yellow card.

The deadly duo's contribution for the 71st-minute third goal, however, was the act that brought the house down around Villa's ears. Sutton confidently gathered a long clearance from his goalkeeper Tim Flowers and laid the pass precisely into Shearer's path. The England striker steamed past Ehiogu, destroying him for both pace and power to thump a thrilling 15-yard shot into the Villa net.

Had there been any zimmer frames in Ewood Park they would have been rattled in appreciation of the kind of goal that Nat Lofthouse, the Lion of Vienna, used to specialise in. A repeat in Sweden next week will certainly turn Shearer into the Lion of Trelleborgs.

By then Villa were well and truly hung out to dry and even had the misfortune to have their substitute Nii Lamptey taken off on a stretcher. His replacement Graham Fenton brought Villa a glimmer of consolation when he smacked a shot against Flowers's woodwork. The real thing came in injury time. Ehiogu, momentarily giving up the lost cause of curtailing the Shearer-Sutton menace, went forward to head Kevin Richardson's free-kick firmly past Flowers.

Villa were so intent on holding their ground that there was little or no evidence of how they will muster the wit to pull back their one-goal deficit when Internazionale come to Villa Park on Thursday. Dalian Atkinson still likes to put his head down and run at defenders, a tactic easily thwarted here, while Dean Saunders was a forlorn figure for most of the 90 minutes. One snap header which landed in Flowers's midriff was his only notable contribution.

Paul McGrath wisely left the tight marking to the younger legs of Ehiogu and Shaun Teale, before the transfer-listed defender was replaced by the unfortunate Lamptey. But even this deployment of the Irish international as a sort of sweeper could not stem Shearer and Sutton's propensity to do damage where it most hurts.

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing