Young seals perfect start for Houllier

Aston Villa 3 Blackburn Rovers 1

Gerard Houllier has already pleaded for patience and needed it in abundance last night as Emile Heskey and Ashley Young's late contributions prevented their new manager from an uncomfortable welcome to Villa Park.

In front of the lowest crowd for well over four years, the air of negativity that has greeted Houllier's appointment dissipated a little after a late second-half fightback that his Blackburn counterpart, Sam Allardyce, cannot possibly have envisaged.

The 63-year-old appeared on course for a disastrous first night in charge after a fellow Frenchman, Gaël Givet, had given Blackburn a glimmer of hope in their attempt to exact revenge for last season's defeat in the semi-final.

But his decision to introduce Heskey swung the game and ensured his mission to win silverware in his first campaign remains alive. Heskey equalised with his first touch and then Young delivered two quality finishes.

Houllier said: "With Emile it is a matter of confidence. He knows I like him and the game now is more about 13 players than 11 or 12. The attitude of the substitutes is very important and what I liked about the substitutes today is they changed the game and showed desire. Emile came on with that attitude and he can repeat that. But it's just not about Emile, the team played well."

Houllier has revealed that the Villa owner, Randy Lerner, still harbours hopes of silverware, so it was a peculiar decision for the new manager to make eight changes to the team that drew with Bolton. Out of the Europa League, and with Houllier insistent the club should be aiming for between seventh and 12th in the Premier League, his team selection in his first official game was indeed a surprise.

Villa were second best for large portions of the first half, with Gabriel Agbonlahor's withdrawal on the half-hour, with a suspected recurrence of a calf injury, only adding to the subdued atmosphere around Villa Park. The air of tension only increased 11 minutes before half-time when Blackburn took a deserved lead, Givet arrowing an excellent volley through a crowded penalty area.

But Heskey made a quite stunning entrance as a substitute. The forward produced a deadly finish that has been seldom seen since his arrival 18 months ago. And Young's clever header, from Nathan Delfouneso's perfect cross, turned the game in Villa's favour before the England international swept home a third.

* Wigan staged a late fightback to snatch a place in the fourth round at the expense of Preston. Jordi Gomez and Charles N'Zogbia scored in the closing three minutes as the Premier League side won 2-1 at the DW Stadium.

Aston Villa 4-4-2: Guzan; Lichaj, Clark, Cuellar, Warnock; Bannan, Reo-Coker, Sidwell, A Young; Carew (Heskey, 59), Agbonlahor (Delfouneso, 32). Substitutes not used Friedel (gk), Davies, Salifou, Beye, Osbourne.

Blackburn 4-5-1: Bunn; Chimbonda, Nelsen (Samba, 67), Givet, Olsson; Emerton, Nzonzi, Jones, Hoilett, Pedersen; Benjani (M Diouf, 63). Substitutes not used Fielding (gk), Kalinic, E Diouf, Linganzi, Morris.

Man of the match E Heskey.

Referee C Foy (Merseyside).

Attendance 18,753.

Match rating 4/10.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones