Villa left bereft by Dunne's error

Aston Villa 0 Blackburn Rovers 1

A textbook glancing header by the Aston Villa players' player of the year, Richard Dunne, broke the deadlock in the closing minutes at Villa Park. Unhappily for the vast majority of a near-42,000 crowd, the defender's intervention was an own goal, gifting Blackburn only a third away victory and a top-ten finish to boot.

For Villa, who won only two of their nine Premier League home matches after the turn of the year, it was an anticlimactic end to another season of unfulfilled promise. Having trailed in six points behind the final Champions' League place, they will doubtless reflect that it might have been different had they not started and finished with home defeats by Wigan and Blackburn respectively. The only consolation was that Liverpool's failure to beat relegated Hull meant that Martin O'Neill's side clung on to sixth place. Seventh spot would have forced them to play a two-leg Europa League qualifying tie in July, whereas they will now enter the competition in mid-August.

Although the manner of their goal was fortuitous, Blackburn just about deserved their first success outside what might loosely be termed the black-pudding triangle, their previous away wins having come at Burnley and Bolton. After a first half in which they were grateful for the saving grace of Paul Robinson, Sam Allardyce adjusted his personnel and tactics with the result that Robinson's predecessor at Ewood Park, Brad Friedel, became busier as the contest wore on. Allardyce, sporting an unfamiliar white and navy tracksuit, had additional cause for satisfaction in that he gave debuts to two players, defender Grant Hanley, 18, and Algerian midfielder Amine Linganzi, 20. Hanley acquitted himself well against John Carew and Gabriel Agbonlahor, although Linganzi gave way to Morten Gamst Pedersen in a re-jig that allowed David Dunn to forage in support of lone striker Jason Roberts.

Dunn should have won a penalty when James Collins tripped him in the 58th minute, only for Steve Bennett to book him for diving. When Christopher Samba toppled Carew with 16 minutes left, the referee evened up his mistakes by giving the defender the benefit of negligible doubt. With six minutes left, Martin Olsson raced down the Blackburn left; his cross pitted the diminutive Junior Hoillet against the towering Dunne, who applied the decisive touch to leave Villa bereft.

Aston Villa (4-4-2): Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Warnock (L Young, 41); A Young, Petrov, Milner, Downing; Carew (Heskey, 76), Agbonlahor (Delfouneso, 78). Substitutes not used Guzan (gk), Sidwell, Reo-Coker, Beye

Blackburn Rovers (4-5-1): Robinson; Salgado, Hanley, Samba, Givet (Jones, 63); Hoillet, Linganzi (Pedersen, h-t), Andrews, Dunn, Olsson; Roberts (Kalinic, 85). Substitutes not used Brown (gk), Jacobsen, Emerton, Grella

Referee S Bennett (Kent)

Booked: Villa Dunne, A Young. Blackburn Dunn

Man of the match Robinson

Attendance 41,799.

England watch

Seven contenders for Fabio Capello's squad were on view, six in Villa colours, but Blackburn's Paul Robinson stole the show. The former England No 1 – behind Robert Green, David James and Joe Hart in the Italian's plans – made several fine saves, showing safe handling and sharp reflexes. James Milner looked tired after a magnificent season, while Stephen Warnock limped out of the fray.

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

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders