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

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
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

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform