Aston Villa 3-1 Blackburn

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport
Gabby Agbonlahor
Gabby Agbonlahor scored his 50th Premier League goal for Villa

Goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor, Emile Heskey and Darren Bent gave Aston Villa victory in manager Alex McLeish's first home game in charge at Villa Park.

Agbonlahor opened the scoring with his 50th Premier League goal, a fine curling strike.

Heskey made it 2-0 with his low shot from 20 yards out before Morten Gamst Pedersen pulled one back for Blackburn heading home Junior Hoilett's cross.

But Bent made the game safe beating keeper Paul Robinson from close range.

Kean points to 'inexperience' after Villa defeat

It has not been a good few days for Blackburn manager Steve Kean, who earlier in the week failed in his attempt to sign former Real Madrid forward Raul and was also .

The beleaguered Rovers boss was already the pre-season favourite to become the first Premier League manager to lose his job and on the evidence of his side's opening two games, there is every reason to think the bookies have made an accurate prediction.

Beaten 2-1 by Wolves on the opening day, they were easily defeated by Villa on Saturday, lacking leadership on and off the pitch. While individually they could not be faulted for effort, they played like a team of strangers.

They simply could not handle Villa's lively attacking quartet of Agbonlahor, Charles N'Zogbia, Heskey and Bent and offered very little going forward themselves.

Villa threatened through Bent early on and Agbonlahor opened the scoring in stunning fashion.

The Villa forward cut inside Michel Salgado far too easily and curled the ball right-footed into the top left-hand corner of the net from 12 yards out.

Next it was Heskey who opened his account for the season, beating Robinson with a low strike from the edge of the area following Agbonlahor's lay-off.

Villa were forced to replace Agbonlahor with Marc Albrighton and, to their credit, Blackburn were much improved after the break.

They took the game to Villa and were soon back in it through Pedersen's header from close range after Hoilett sent in a fine cross following his blistering run down the left wing.

The goal stunted Villa's fluidity while also breathing new life into Blackburn, with Jason Roberts leading the line in uncompromising fashion.

McLeish praises talented Delph

Albrighton saw his low shot whistle just wide of Robinson's post in a game that was becoming increasingly stretched.

But just when it seemed Blackburn might get back into the game, Bent poached a goal to restore their cushion.

Stylian Petrov's initial shot was blocked by Grant Hanley but the ball squirmed its way into the path of Bent who made no mistake with just Robinson to beat.

The goal took the sting out of the game as Villa earned their first victory of the season, with Blackburn rock-bottom of the Premier League.

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish:

"It was a great result for us, with some very good moments in the game. I was very pleased with the players, and getting three goals as well was terrific.

"It's early days. We have four good points from the first two games, and if we can keep that kind of progress going then we can have a good season.

"We know there are a lot of tough challenges ahead, but we're up for it."

Blackburn manager Steve Kean:

"I thought we started the game well. If we look back at the goal we gave away, the first was fantastic from

Agbonlahor, but we're disappointed with the second because it took an unfortunate deflection off Pedersen.

"We then spoke at half-time about how we would come out for the second half, and I thought we were excellent, we scored the goal and Villa were on the back foot.

"The third goal then killed us because once we scored we were in the ascendancy."

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