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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Britons buy more than 30 million handsets each year, keeping them for an average of 18 months
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
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

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain