Dunn finally exorcises his Villa demons

Blackburn Rovers 2 Aston Villa 1
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The Independent Football

October has always had an image problem: dark nights; colder days; a time for battening down the hatches ready for winter. Sam Allardyce, the Blackburn Rovers manager, has four additional reasons to dislike the month.

Not only does his side face arduous tasks away at Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, they also host the first Premier League meeting with east Lancashire neighbours Burnley.

A point at home to Aston Villa, who arrived at Ewood Park as one of the most in-form teams in the country, would have seemed decent on paper, particularly after the shambolic defeat at Everton the previous weekend.

Yet with a horrendous month ahead, it would have done little to improve Blackburn's position near the foot of the table. So the home fans went wild when David Dunn sent his former Blackburn team-mate Brad Friedel the wrong way after the referee Mark Clattenburg awarded an 88th-minute penalty after harshly ruling Richard Dunne had handled.

To secure three points after coming from behind against a Villa team who had won their last four league games was impressive enough. That they achieved this having been reduced to 10 men, when Vince Grella was sent off for two bookable offences, made it more striking. "This is one of the best victories we will get in the league this season," Allardyce said.

Dunn had an added incentive when he took the penalty. It was against Villa that he suffered the most embarrassing moment of his career. Playing for Birmingham in 2003, Dunn fell flat on his backside attempting some Ronaldo-style trickery. The clip has been viewed more than 250,000 times on YouTube while Sky TV used it to promote a product. "Sky+ didn't do me any favours," Dunn said. "That was a bit of a blow for me. I could have retired if I got royalties for every time that has been shown. I have to live with it, but this has helped a little bit."

The Villa manager, Martin O'Neill, was unhappy with the late penalty, arguing that his side should have been awarded a free-kick instead as Franco Di Santo's feet were too high and too close to Dunne.

But he can have few complaints about the overall performance of his side after they failed to build on the early lead given to them by Gabriel Agbonlahor's fifth goal in as many games. Christopher Samba levelled before half-time while Friedel saved his side with outstanding stops to frustrate Dunn and Brett Emerton.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-1-1): Robinson; Jacobsen, Nelsen, Samba (Salgado, 89), Chimbonda; Diouf (Andrews, 71), Grella, Nzonzi, Pedersen (Emerton, 56); Dunn; Di Santo. Substitutes not used: Brown (gk), Hoilett, Kalinic, McCarthy.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Friedel; Cuellar, Dunne, Collins, Warnock; A Young, Milner, Delph (Heskey, 57), Petrov; Agbonlahor, Carew. Substitutes not used: Reo-Coker, Gardner, Guzan (gk), Delfouneso, Shorey, Beye.

Referee: M Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear).

Booked: Blackburn Rovers Dunn, Grella; Aston Villa Delph, Petrov.

Sent off: Grella (68).

Man of the match: Dunn.

Attendance: 25,172.