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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 October, 2004, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Blackburn 2-2 Aston Villa

Villa goalscorer Olof Mellberg
Olof Mellberg's goal 10 minutes from time gave Aston Villa a share of the points after a lively encounter.

Juan Pablo Angel slid home Ulises de la Cruz's pass to give the visitors the lead on 25 minutes.

Blackburn hit back when Barry Ferguson tucked in Paul Dickov's cross and took the lead when Brett Emerton converted debutant Youri Djorkaeff's clever pass.

But Mellberg bundled in Mark Delaney's knockdown to give Villa their fourth straight draw in the Premiership.

David O'Leary's side are still without an away win this season, but it would have been harsh on Blackburn if they had registered it at Ewood Park.

Blackburn boss Mark Hughes elected to throw new signing Djorkaeff straight into the action, despite not having played a competitive game this season.

But the decision looked completely justified as the 36-year-old was at the heart of most of Blackburn's best work during an entertaining first half.

But though the hosts were always threatening going forward, they looked vulnerable at the back and they were made to pay when Villa took the lead against the run of play.

De la Cruz slid a perfect pass through to find fellow South American Angel, who fired a low strike into the bottom right hand corner for his side's second away goal of the season.

But Blackburn were level five minutes later as this time Villa's defence was exposed.

The impressive Dickov hustled his way to the byline and crossed into the six-yard box where Villa allowed Ferguson to sneak in unmarked at the near post to tap home.

The visitors were inches away from retaking the lead 10 minutes after the break when Lee Hendrie saw his curling effort come back off the post.

Worse was to come for Villa when Angel headed in Nolberto Solano's free-kick only for the linesman to flag for offside.

And the visitors' misery was complete moments later when they gave the ball away in midfield and Blackburn took full advantage.

Djorkaeff capped an excellent debut by feeding Emerton, who put his side ahead with a neat right-foot finish.

Villa continued to create chances, with Angel hitting the post and Brad Friedel making a sharp stop from Carlton Cole's drive.

And they eventually grabbed the equaliser on 80 minutes when Delaney knocked down a corner for Mellberg to tap in.


Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Amoruso, Matteo, Gray, Emerton, Ferguson, Tugay, Jansen (Flitcroft 58), Djorkaeff (Stead 71), Dickov.
Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Johansson, Bothroyd.

Booked: Emerton, Neill.

Goals: Ferguson 30, Emerton 63.

Aston Villa: Sorensen, De la Cruz, Mellberg, Delaney, Samuel, Solano (Vassell 76), McCann, Hendrie, Barry (Hitzlsperger 76), Angel, Cole.
Subs Not Used: Postma, Whittingham, Davis.

Booked: McCann, Solano.

Goals: Angel 25, Mellberg 80.

Att: 20,502.

Ref: P Walton (Northamptonshire).




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