Fast-acting Heskey catches Burnley cold

Burnley 1 Aston Villa 1

Stewart Downing stepped off the bench for his long-delayed debut but it was the second of Martin O'Neill's substitutes, Emile Heskey, who popped up to salvage a point for Aston Villa and take the shine off another stylish performance from Burnley.

Owen Coyle's team, whose reputation for elegant football did not suffer even on a filthy afternoon of driving rain, were close to a sixth home win from seven when Heskey stooped to nod home James Milner's cross.

The England striker, for all the qualities that continue to earn him admirers at the highest level, still cannot improve on his modest strike rate. This was his first goal of the season, although at least it took him only six minutes to score it after replacing Luke Young with 10 minutes remaining.

Burnley had been under increasing pressure as Villa, ordinary in the first half, looked for a way to cancel out the Steven Caldwell header that had given Burnley the lead after nine minutes.

Coyle, looking for positives, suggested it might be an important point as Burnley seek to establish themselves in the Premier League but wished his side had taken more of their chances, most of which stemmed from Robbie Blake's excellent work in the playmaker role.

Steven Fletcher and Andre Bikey (twice) might have increased their lead before half-time. Later, two fine saves from Brad Friedel, denying Blake and then substitute Kevin McDonald, kept Villa in it.

"On another day we might have had more goals," Coyle said. "But Friedel was outstanding and in the end we have paid for not dealing with a cross properly.

"But if a couple of years ago you had said that we'd be in a position to be disappointed about only drawing with Aston Villa we would have taken it. They are a quality side who will be competing for a top-four finish."

If blame could be levelled at anyone it might be Brian Jensen, the Burnley goalkeeper, whose decision to punch away a cross allowed Milner to play the ball back in as the home defenders moved away from their goal, giving Heskey an unchallenged header.

Downing, who has been out of action since suffering a broken foot in his last action for Middlesbrough in May, played the final 20 minutes, although O'Neill believes it will be Christmas before Villa begin to see the best of his £12 million signing. "He is a very decent player and it was pleasing to see him on the field but he is a distance away from match fitness," he said.

Richard Dunne took his place in Villa's defence despite suggestions he would miss the game after the Republic of Ireland's controversial World Cup elimination by France in midweek. "There was never a question of his not wanting to play," O'Neill said.

Attendance: 21,178

Referee: Howard Webb

Man of the match: Blake

Match rating: 7/10

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
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

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on