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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 March 2006, 19:08 GMT
Blackburn 2-0 Aston Villa
Blackburn congratulate captain Andy Todd after his opener against Aston Villa
A joyful Blackburn after taking the lead against Aston Villa
Blackburn moved up to fifth place in the Premiership after beating Aston Villa at Ewood Park.

Villa had some gilt-edged chances but went behind when Andy Todd pounced to poke in a shot after keeper Thomas Sorensen failed to gather a corner.

Milan Baros was Villa's main culprit as he twice failed to convert one-on-one's with Rovers keeper Brad Friedel.

Blackburn added a second firmly against the run of play when a Sorensen mistake let Craig Bellamy sidefoot home.

The match had got off to a promising start with both sides going close to taking the lead in the opening minutes.

A misunderstanding in the Blackburn defence allowed Gareth Barry through on goal but he was sent wide by on-rushing Friedel before shooting wide of the near post from a tight angle.

Blackburn captain Andy Todd scrambles the ball home to put his side ahead
Todd scrambles in to put Blackburn on the road to victory

Bellamy was narrowly beaten to a low Florent Sinama-Pongolle cross by Sorensen but it was the visitors who posed the greater early threat.

Villa overwhelmed a lethargic home side and gave their opponents little respite as they created a flurry of chances.

The influential Kevin Phillips looked certain to give the visitors the lead only for a last-ditch Ryan Nelsen tackle to stop him tapping in Luke Moore's pull-back.

Almost immediately, Baros had only Friedel to beat but shot too tamely and too close to the Rovers keeper, who saved low to his right.

The overworked Friedel then saved an Olof Mellberg header before Rovers were given a chance to catch their breath.

Villa were then made to pay for their missed chances shortly after the break when Todd scored after Villa failed to clear a corner.

Sorensen was angry Steven Reid had not been penalised for handball in the build-up to the goal before Todd was given the benefit of the doubt at the other end when a Barry shot struck his arm.

Villa breathed a sigh of relief when Nelsen had a header cleared off the line by Moore but emotions quickly turned to disbelief at Baros missing two glorious openings.

Baros again failed to convert a one-on-one with Friedel as well as heading high.

Villa had produced an impressive performance but went two behind when Sorensen spilled the ball after sliding out to gather and Bellamy sidefooted home.

  • Blackburn boss Mark Hughes:
    "We've got nine or so games to go this season and we've got to take something out of every game we play.

    "If we can keep our home form going then we will go very close to a European spot.

    "A lot of teams in and around us will have a say in who gets the European place. But we just have to concentrate on what we are doing."

  • Aston Villa manager David O'Leary:
    "To sum it up Blackburn had two chances and scored while we had about 10 and missed them all.

    "Our players are complaining about a handball before their first goal and a handball at the other end.

    "But overall we should have won it by a mile if we had taken our chances."

    Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Todd, Nelsen, Gray (Mokoena 64), Bentley (Emerton 69), Savage, Reid, Pedersen, Bellamy, Sinama Pongolle (Dickov 79).
    Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Kuqi.

    Goals: Todd 49, Bellamy 71.

    Aston Villa: Sorensen, Hughes, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Bouma, Moore, McCann, Davis, Barry, Phillips (Angel 82), Baros (Hendrie 81).
    Subs Not Used: Taylor, Samuel, Whittingham.

    Booked: McCann.

    Att: 21,932

    Ref: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).

    Interview: Blackburn Rovers boss Mark Hughes

    Interview: Aston Villa manager David O'Leary


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