Villa add to Chelsea's away-day blues

Aston Villa 2 Chelsea 1

Defender James Collins scored his first goal for Aston Villa to condemn Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea to a second successive away defeat.

Martin O'Neill's £5 million capture from West Ham took advantage of slack marking to head the winner after 52 minutes.

Didier Drogba had given the Blues the lead after 15 minutes but Collins' defensive partner Richard Dunne levelled before the interval.

Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti will be frustrated with his side's defending as two corners from Ashley Young presented Dunne and Collins with free far-post headers for the goals.

It completely undermined the threat posed by his side going forward, with Deco shining in a free role behind the strikers.

But Chelsea found Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel in inspired form with a series of excellent saves making amends for gifting Drogba the opening goal.

And Collins and Stephen Warnock also played their part in thwarting Chelsea with a series of excellent blocks.

Skipper Stiliyan Petrov was effective in the centre of the park as Villa maintained their push for a European spot. The kick off was delayed for five minutes after referee Steve Bennett was taken ill and fourth official Keith Friend stepped into the breach.

Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor had the first effort on goal and his shot on the turn was deflected wide.

The home side had claims for a penalty rejected when Jose Boswinga wrestled with Agbonlahor in the box in attempting to get on the end of a first time cross from Petrov.

James Milner then made a superb tackle inside his own box to deny Florent Malouda.

But after 15 minutes a rare mistake by Friedel, in his 198th consecutive Premier League appearance, allowed Drogba to put Chelsea ahead.

Drogba fired in a hopeful 30-yard drive but Friedel allowed the ball to bounce over his dive and into the corner of the net. It was Drogba's seventh goal of the campaign.

Villa tried to retaliate and Chelsea skipper John Terry made a crucial interception to cut out a low centre from Milner with John Carew and Agbonlahor unmarked in the danger area.

Chelsea were now looking the more likely to score and Ashley Cole was only just too high with a rising drive after a powerful surge forward.

But after 32 minutes Dunne struck for the second successive match to bring Villa back on level terms.

Essien was forced to concede a corner after good link up play between Agbonlahor and Petrov. Young's centre flicked off the head of Frank Lampard and Dunne was on hand to head home at the far past.

The Republic of Ireland international celebrated in a way he had declined to do when netting against his former club Manchester City 12 days ago.

Agbonlahor became the first player to be booked after 35 minutes for a challenge on Essien.

Friedel redeemed himself for his earlier error when tipping over a chip from Deco at full stretch and then made another crucial stop to deny Drogba at point-blank range.

Villa took the lead early in the second half when Collins was left completely unmarked at the far post to power a header past Cech from Young's inswinging corner.

Lampard was only a couple of feet wide with a low 20-yard drive as Chelsea tried to respond, but Friedel showed he had fully recovered from his first-half error with another excellent block on a shot from Deco, who had been put clear by Drogba.

Malouda was then denied by Friedel who beat out his fierce 20-yard shot as Chelsea searched for the equaliser.

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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?