Championship
Blackburn1Aston Villa0

Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Aston Villa

Danny Graham
Danny Graham's 13th goal of the season moved Blackburn level on points with Nottingham Forest

Blackburn Rovers boosted their hopes of staying in the Championship with a narrow win against Aston Villa.

After dominating the first half, Rovers led when Danny Graham converted a Jason Lowe cross to lift Ewood Park.

Villa's Sam Johnstone had earlier saved well from Ryan Nyambe, while the hosts' David Raya denied Jonathan Kodjia.

Rovers remain in the drop zone on goal difference, but will stay up if they better Nottingham Forest's final-day result, after the Reds lost at QPR.

Tony Mowbray's 22nd-placed Rovers travel to Brentford on Sunday, 7 May, while 21st-placed Forest host Ipswich in their final game and 20th-placed Birmingham - who are not yet safe - travel to Bristol City.

Blackburn could survive even with a defeat at Brentford, should Forest lose by two goals more than Rovers, while victories for both sides would leave Birmingham needing a win to avoid the drop.

News of Birmingham's opening first-half goal against Huddersfield had dampened the mood around the ground at the end of an impressive first half for Rovers, in which Nyambe, Graham and Jason Lowe all had chances.

Villa came into the game on the back of a derby win against Birmingham, and having conceded, brought on Gabriel Agbonlahor in a bid to change the game and they rallied, despite losing Kodjia to injury.

However, Blackburn showed their mettle to keep Steve Bruce's side at bay and they survived the five minutes of added time to given themselves significant hope for the final day.

Mowbray's Teesside grit

Mowbray's upbringing in the steel town of Redcar has long been a source of personal inspiration as a player and a manager, and he has sought to spread some of that grit and effort throughout his squad.

After leading his side on a seven-game unbeaten run since his arrival in late February, Rovers then lost three games in a row to dent their hopes.

However, they have regrouped to record two wins and two draws to give their survival bid a huge lift.

Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray:

"Danny Graham has been unavailable for most of my time at the football club and is way off fitness-wise where he should be, but players like Graham, when you need a goal and you need to win a football match, you have to have him on the pitch.

"The last couple of home games have been nervous for us, but I thought we started really well today on the front foot, played a lot of the first half in their half, asked questions of them.

"Whilst it didn't get us a goal first half, it gave us a momentum that we took into the second half, got the goal and saw the game out."

Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce:

"That's arguably the worst we've played since I've been here, but a big club like ours, away from home, four wins all season, is nowhere near good enough to where we should be.

"Too many times I've seen us play the way we did today, where we haven't done enough in every department.

"We were absolutely hopeless. Hopeless. And unfortunately away from home I've seen that too many times. Not good enough and I've been here the best part of six months and too many times I've come away like that and thought, 'Dear oh dear, that was inept'."

Line-ups

Blackburn

  • 33Raya
  • 26Lenihan
  • 15Ward
  • 14Mulgrew
  • 24Nyambe
  • 6LoweSubstituted forAkpanat 87'minutes
  • 23Guthrie
  • 5Williams
  • 19GallagherSubstituted forLucas Joãoat 90+2'minutes
  • 12GrahamSubstituted forConwayat 75'minutes
  • 31Bennett

Substitutes

  • 1Steele
  • 4Hoban
  • 17Emnes
  • 18Lucas João
  • 21Akpan
  • 28Mahoney
  • 32Conway

Aston Villa

  • 34Johnstone
  • 21Hutton
  • 12Chester
  • 2Baker
  • 3Taylor
  • 7Bacuna
  • 14HourihaneSubstituted forAdomahat 72'minutes
  • 22Gardner
  • 5LansburySubstituted forAgbonlahorat 64'minutes
  • 26KodjiaSubstituted forGrealishat 72'minutes
  • 9Hogan

Substitutes

  • 6Elphick
  • 11Agbonlahor
  • 16Bree
  • 23Amavi
  • 31Bunn
  • 37Adomah
  • 40Grealish
Referee:
Geoff Eltringham
Attendance:
21,884

Match Stats

Home TeamBlackburnAway TeamAston Villa
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home14
Away8
Shots on Target
Home4
Away2
Corners
Home7
Away1
Fouls
Home11
Away5

Live Text

Match ends, Blackburn Rovers 1, Aston Villa 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Blackburn Rovers 1, Aston Villa 0.

Attempt missed. Lucas João (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Craig Conway.

Gary Gardner (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Danny Guthrie (Blackburn Rovers).

Substitution

Substitution, Blackburn Rovers. Lucas João replaces Sam Gallagher.

Alan Hutton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Elliott Bennett (Blackburn Rovers).

Alan Hutton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Elliott Bennett (Blackburn Rovers).

Corner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Jack Grealish.

Substitution

Substitution, Blackburn Rovers. Hope Akpan replaces Jason Lowe.

Attempt blocked. Craig Conway (Blackburn Rovers) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Charlie Mulgrew.

Attempt missed. Albert Adomah (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

Alan Hutton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Elliott Bennett (Blackburn Rovers).

Corner, Blackburn Rovers. Conceded by Jack Grealish.

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Blackburn Rovers. Craig Conway replaces Danny Graham.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Elliott Bennett.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Albert Adomah replaces Conor Hourihane.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Jack Grealish replaces Jonathan Kodjia because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Derrick Williams (Blackburn Rovers) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left misses to the left. Assisted by Sam Gallagher with a cross.

Attempt blocked. Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alan Hutton.

Attempt blocked. Gary Gardner (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Scott Hogan.

Nathan Baker (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Sam Gallagher (Blackburn Rovers).

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Gabriel Agbonlahor replaces Henri Lansbury.

Attempt blocked. Henri Lansbury (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Leandro Bacuna.

Goal!

Goal! Blackburn Rovers 1, Aston Villa 0. Danny Graham (Blackburn Rovers) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jason Lowe.

Offside, Aston Villa. Henri Lansbury tries a through ball, but James Chester is caught offside.

Foul by Ryan Nyambe (Blackburn Rovers).

Neil Taylor (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Offside, Aston Villa. Leandro Bacuna tries a through ball, but Scott Hogan is caught offside.

Elliott Bennett (Blackburn Rovers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Nathan Baker (Aston Villa).

Second Half

Second Half begins Blackburn Rovers 0, Aston Villa 0.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Brighton45288973393492
2Newcastle452871082404291
3Reading45257136462282
4Sheff Wed452491259431681
5Huddersfield45256145655181
6Fulham4521141083562777
7Leeds452281560461474
8Norwich4519101681691267
9Derby451812155349466
10Brentford4518101774621264
11Preston451614156462262
12Aston Villa451613164647-161
13Cardiff451611185761-459
14Barnsley451513176464058
15Wolves451510205358-555
16Ipswich451316164855-755
17Bristol City45159216065-554
18QPR45158225262-1053
19Burton451313194759-1252
20Birmingham451214194464-2050
21Nottm Forest45139235972-1348
22Blackburn451115195064-1448
23Wigan451011243956-1741
24Rotherham4557333997-5822
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