Southgate has the final word

Aston Villa 1 Blackburn Rovers 0

It may take more than the odd Premiership goal for Gareth Southgate to purge the memory of his miserable end to Euro 96, but the Aston Villa defender certainly imposed a severe penalty on Blackburn at Villa Park last night.

Southgate, so tame from 12 yards in that fateful shoot-out against the Germans at Wembley, proved altogether more deadly from long range after 64 minutes of stalemate. His instinctive strike brought Villa their first points, leaving Blackburn bereft of both goals and points and wondering whether the England man has it in for them. His only previous League goal for Villa came at the same end against the same opponents in February.

Both sides began tentatively, as if suffering hangovers from their opening- day defeats.

Villa's Steve Staunton set up the first moment of menace, after eight minutes, dummying past a defender before crossing. Ian Taylor, rising above Jeff Kenna by the far post, saw his header tipped over by Tim Flowers.

Tim Sherwood, newly re-signed to Blackburn, responded by weaving his way along the edge of the Villa area. His goal-bound shot was deflected over, though Lars Bohinen had no such excuse while firing wide after Kevin Gallacher's back-heeled pass gave him a free shot.

The Holte End's response to such profligacy was to taunt the visiting contingent over the defection of Alan Shearer. Their own top scorer last season, Dwight Yorke, received a rare caution for a badly timed challenge which felled Colin Hendry.

As half-time approached, Yorke curled a shot into the side-netting which many spectators thought had crept in. There were more vociferous claims for a goal when Gallacher, attempting to clear Taylor's header from an Andy Townsend corner, hacked the ball against the underside of the bar. The referee ruled that it had not crossed the line.

The tempo was noticeably quicker after the interval. Georgios Donis, Blackburn's Athenian winger, started to take on Alan Wright, once of Ewood Park himself. From one centre, the unmarked Gallacher's wayward effort suggested that heading was Greek to him.

The Scot had no sooner given way to a former Villan, Graham Fenton, than another Townsend corner forced a clearing header from Kenna. Southgate, lurking just outside the 18-yard box, gave Flowers no chance with a ferocious halfvolley.

Julian Joachim, betrayed by a poor first touch, and Stuart Ripley, wasting a chance to break his goal drought, both had opportunities to embellish the scoreline. But it was somehow fitting that Southgate, given a sympathetic ovation before the match, should have had the final word.

Aston Villa (3-4-1-2): Oakes; Ehiogu, Southgate, Staunton; Taylor, Draper, Townsend, Wright; Johnson (Scimeca, 85); Joachim, Yorke. Substitutes not used: McGrath, Nelson, Farrelly, Rachel (gk).

Blackburn Rovers (4-3-2-1): Flowers; Berg, Hendry, Coleman, Kenna; Sherwood, Bohinen, Flitcroft (Ripley, 76); Donis, Gallacher (Fenton, 60); Warhurst. Substitutes not used: Pearce, Croft, Given (gk).

Referee: A Wilkie (Chester-le-Street).

David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Administrative Assistant

£60 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Administrative Assitant Hertford...

Web Application Support Manager

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reigate...

** Secondary History Teacher Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £165 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

** Secondary Geography Teacher Required In Liverpool **

£120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments