Houllier gets off to a winning start at Villa

Aston Villa 3 Blackburn Rovers 1

Gerard Houllier marked his first match as Aston Villa boss with a victory as two goals from Ashley Young and substitute Emile Heskey inspired a Carling Cup comeback against Blackburn.

Rovers were the better side in the first half and deservedly led at the interval through Gael Givet's stunning strike.

But Heskey levelled matters with his first touch after 59 minutes and then Young struck twice in quick succession to see Villa - last season's beaten finalists - reach the last 16.

Rovers must be sick of the sight of Villa after being knocked out of both domestic cup competitions by them last season.

Villa looked out of sorts in the first 45 minutes as Houllier opted for a 4-3-3 formation with John Carew flanked by Gabriel Agbonlahor and Young.

But they were transformed in the second half with Young in inspired form but midfielder Barry Bannan and defender Carlos Cuellar also made key contributions.

Villa Park was under half full for Houllier's first match at the helm as he made eight changes from the side which faced Bolton at the weekend.

Young forced the first save of the game out of Mark Bunn after turning past Morten Gamst Pedersen but the Rovers goalkeeper held onto his low 25-yard drive.

Rovers retaliated and Brad Guzan beat out Phil Jones' rising drive from a narrow angle after being found in space by Pedersen.

Villa midfielder Steve Sidwell was just off target with a long-range drive after being teed up by Bannan.

Villa suffered a setback after 31 minutes when Agbonlahor limped out of the action to be replaced by England Under-21 Nathan Delfouneso.

The England striker has been dogged by injury niggles during the early part of the campaign and he went straight to the dressing room for treatment.

Then after 34 minutes Rovers stunned Villa by taking the lead through Givet's powerful strike.

Pedersen's throw was headed out by Ciaran Clark to Givet whose powerful drive flew through a crowd of players into the corner of the net.

Blackburn were finding plenty of space and Steven Nzonzi was allowed to move forward unchallenged but his shot was wide of the mark.

Carew was brought down by Nelsen just outside the box in first half injury-time but Young curled the free-kick over the crossbar.

It needed a fine save from Guzan to prevent Blackburn from doubling their lead early in the second period.

Pedersen's long throw was cleared back to him and the resulting curling low shot from the edge of the box was turned aside by the United States goalkeeper.

Houllier brought on Emile Heskey, whom he signed for Liverpool from Leicester a decade ago, in place of Carew after 58 minutes.

It proved a masterstroke move with Heskey bringing Villa level with his first touch of the ball inside 60 seconds.

Young sent the former England player clear of the Rovers defence and he clinically beat Bunn with a low drive.

Villa were now in the ascendancy and Bunn finger-tipped away a powerful Bannan drive.

Then Cuellar should have done better when he headed wide when well placed from a Young corner.

But with 14 minutes left, Young put Villa ahead.

Delfouneso supplied the near-post cross and Young was able to head past Bunn.

Before the restart the injured Villa defender Ciaran Clark was replaced by Curtis Davies.

But within 60 seconds Young doubled Villa's lead.

Heskey won the ball on the right and surged into the Rovers box before delivering an inch-perfect cross which Young converted from close range.

Young came close to completing a hat-trick when his 20-yard drive was only just too high.

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all