Heskey's blow-out tells of Villa pressure

Aston Villa 1 Wigan 1

Wigan remain in the relegation zone entering their final two games. Yet the bizarre over-reaction by Emile Heskey to the kind of rugged defending he faces every week, along with the likelihood of Stewart Downing joining Ashley Young as a target for rival clubs, left Aston Villa looking more like a club at the crossroads.

Heskey ran to referee Mike Jones and barged into him when what he perceived as an elbow to the neck went unpunished after an aerial challenge with Wigan's Antolin Alcaraz. The former England striker was still incensed as he went down the tunnel at half-time – when he was prevented by team-mates and caretaker manager Gary McAllister from confronting the official – and could face Football Association charges if Jones includes the latter incident in his report.

McAllister, having seen Ashley Young's free-kick earn a point after Charles N'Zogbia's stylish finish rewarded a slick start by Wigan, was asked whether Heskey's behaviour was symptomatic of the pressure the club were under even before Gérard Houllier was hospitalised. "I think so, of course. These things all add to that," conceded the Scot, resisting the invitation to criticise his old Liverpool team-mate for leaving the stadium after being substituted.

"Maybe [going home] was the best thing. It's not a good message for someone to leave at half-time, but there was obviously red mist there. I caught Emile's eye late in the half and got the assurance that he'd get himself to half-time. Then I had to make sure Villa stayed with 11 players on the pitch."

The watching Fabio Capello would have been forgiven for wondering why Heskey seldom became so animated on the international stage. The England coach must have been impressed, however, by the performance of Downing, who excelled on either wing and showed the passing range that could address Villa's lack of midfield creativity – provided he stays.



Scorers: Aston Villa A Young 17 Wigan Athletic N'Zogbia 10

Substitutes: Aston Villa Albrighton 6 (Heskey, h-t). Wigan Di Santo 5 (N'Zogbia, 70), McArthur (Moses, 82).

Booked: Aston Villa Heskey, A Young.

Man of the match Downing. Match rating 6/10.

Possession: Aston Villa 57% Wigan 43%.

Attempts on target: Aston Villa 7 Wigan 4.

Referee M Jones (Cheshire).

Attendance 36,293.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before