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Premier League

  • 3 March 2012
  • • 15:00
  • • Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire
  • Referee: H. Webb
  • • Attendance: 20717
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Blackburn 1-1 Aston Villa: Late Dunn strike earns point for Rovers after N'Zogbia opener

Blackburn 1-1 Aston Villa: Late Dunn strike earns point for Rovers after N'Zogbia opener

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A dominant first-half showing from the visitors was not enough to claim the win as Steve Kean's men recover to leave both clubs still in trouble at the bottom of the table

A late David Dunn header saw Blackburn Rovers snatch a valuable point against Aston Villa at Ewood Park after Charles N'Zogbia had opened the scoring for the visitors.

The hosts recalled Stephen N’Zonzi for the game with Marcus Olsson dropping to the bench following the heavy defeat to Manchester City while Chris Herd, Stiliyan Petrov and Stephen Ireland were all included in the Aston Villa starting XI following last week’s disappointing draw away at Wigan.

Aston Villa started brightly and had an early chance spurned by Mark Albrighton as he flashed a shot over the bar. A poor clearance from Grant Hanley fell straight to N'Zogbia who cut back for the winger 10 yards out but his effort was deflected just over.

In start contrast Blackburn looked subdued in the early stage and they were punished by Villa in the 24th minute with a fine strike by Charles N'Zogbia. Carlos Cuellar somehow found himself in the right-wing position before shrugging off one challenge, cutting in and passing to N'Zogbia 12 yards out who smashed his effort into the roof of the net.

The French winger has been in and out of the starting line-up this season but was taking his opportunity with both hands as he was a constant thorn in the Blackburn side and nearly doubled his and Villa's tally for the afternoon late in the first-half. 

Another much-maligned member of the Villa team, Stephen Ireland intercepted a loose pass in midfield before spraying out wide to N’Zogbia who cut inside Grant Hanley before firing an effort goalwards that was saved spectacularly by the right-arm of Paul Robinson.

Aston Villa, usually so highly criticised for their reluctance to attack were by far the better side during the opening period and fully deserved their half-time lead. Rovers, meanwhile, had failed to register a single meaningful effort on goal in the opening 45 minutes and simply had not got going.

Steve Kean must have been livid with his side's first-half showing and proceeded to make two changes at the break with Radoslav Petrovic and Mauro Formica being replaced by Marcus Olsson and David Dunn. However,  it was Aston Villa who returned for the second period looking the better of the two sides as Paul Robinson saved down low from an effort from Ireland.

Indeed it took until almost the hour mark for Blackburn to have a real opening which fell to Scott Dann. A long punt from their own-half was nodded on by N’Zonzi and when Dann rose highest the Blackburn hopeful expected a goal though the defender angled his header just over.

Dunn was making Blackburn much more direct side in the second-half and some neat interplay around the Villa defence found its way to Junior Hoilett whose first-time effort from the edge of the area was parried away nervously by Shay Given before a scramble was eventually cleared by Alan Hutton.

Blackburn were starting to take control of the second-half and forced Given into another parried save, this time from a volley from Morten Gamst Pedersen. Bradley Orr’s lofted cross was headed clear by Collins but only to Pedersen who set himself before striking a fine first-time volley goalwards that was well saved by the former Blackburn goalkeeper.

Villa were containing the threat of Blackburn as they continued to pile men forward and in almost trademark fashion they nearly snatched another as a Gabby Agbonlahor header was clawed out by Robinson. Ireland found a yard on the left-wing before whipping in a superb cross that was met by Agbonlahor but the ever-reliable Robinson was at hand to keep the deficit at just one.

Blackburn were not be discouraged though and were awarded for their bravery as Dunn scored a header in the 85th minute to bring them back level in dramatic fashion. N’Zonzi sprayed out-wide to Bradley Orr who dinked a precise cross to the far post where Dunn was at hand to power his header in spark incredible relief.

Blackburn had been dire in the first-half but some much-needed bravery and leadership by Steve Kean at half-time proved the masterstroke as Villa’s poor form continued. The home side really needed all three points, but the character on show will give their fans belief that they can escape the drop.

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