Young sparks rampage as Blackburnfall to pieces

Aston Villa 4 Blackburn Rovers 1: Downing turns on 'international class' display to expose extent of problems for Rovers manager

How to lose a match in two simple steps. Keith Andrews, the Blackburn midfielder making only his fourth appearance in seven months, had the ball in his possession facing his own goal, inside his own penalty area, four minutes into the second half. The score at the time was 0-0 and while Villa had perked up late in the first half, there was no real evidence to suggest that Blackburn were not capable of getting at least a point from the game.

Andrews had ample opportunity to clear but rather than boot the ball to safety, the Irish international attempted to play his way out of trouble, and gave Ashley Young the opportunity to dispossess him. Villa's excellent captain took it and if that was not bad enough from Andrews' point of view, he then tugged at Young's shirt. Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot and Young kept his cool to stroke the ball low to Paul Robinson's right, after the goalkeeperhad dived left.

It was the moment that changed the afternoon. The edginess around Villa Park, on and off the pitch, dissipated and the home side's attacking threat, virtually invisible before that, suddenly showed its teeth. On 62 minutes, after a succession of threatening corners, Marc Albrighton picked the ball up on left of the penalty area, created some space for himself and fired a cross into the six-yard box that Grant Hanley prodded into this own net. Then, two minutes later, Young released Stewart Downing on the halfway line as Villa broke at pace and the former Middlesbrough winger – who put in an "international class" performance, according to Gérard Houllier – kept his calm to cut in from the right and curl the ball past Robinson from 12 yards. Eight minutes before the end, after Nikola Kalinic had looped a shot off Richard Dunne and into the Villa net to offer Blackburn a crumb of consolation, an unmarked Young made it four with a curled finish from 15 yards, having been teed up by Downing.

"We're in between now, we're in the middle," the relieved Villa manager said. "Some people may have been disappointed with the first half but I was not. I told the players to keep their heads up. I told them that once they got into the final third, to keep passing, not to be decisive too early. That's what we did in the second half. More important than the result for me is the quality of our play. Our fluency was also there in the second half."

Would all this have happened in Sam Allardyce's time? Well, for starters, Andrews would probably have smashed the ball into the stands rather than attempt to play his way out of trouble under the previous Ewood Park regime, and even after that, it is unlikely that any side under Big Sam's charge would have surrendered so meekly after going a goal down. Steve Kean was, ostensibly, appointed to make his Blackburn side a little easier on the eye but on yesterday's evidence, the Scot has not managed even that. Blackburn may not get the ball forward as quickly as they previously did, but passing the ball around without any real purpose does not exactly make them entertaining. Their misery was complete when Ryan Nelsen was sent off for a second booking, both awarded for fouls on Young, in injury-time.

"We set up to try to nullify them through the middle and we managed that in the first half," Kean said. "Then we find ourselves a goal down through a penalty after a bit of play we could have cleared and prevented. Just as it was one, it was two and then you're chasing the game. And when you're two down, that gameplan goes out the window."

Now in a relegation battle, Kean is going to have to hatch a new plan for survival as a matter of urgency.

Attendance: 34,309

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Man of the match: Downing

Match rating: 6/10

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Life and Style
tech

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Life and Style
health

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
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

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album