Blackburn 1-1 Aston Villa

Blackburn's Bradley Orr is tackled by Aston Villa's Marc Albrighton
Blackburn's Bradley Orr is tackled by Aston Villa's Marc Albrighton

David Dunn's late header gave Blackburn a vital point as Aston Villa missed the chance to ease their fears of being dragged into a survival scrap.

Villa dominated before the break and led when Charles N'Zogbia slammed home after Carlos Cuellar's fine solo run.

Blackburn improved after half-time and Shay Given had to keep out a thunderous volley from Morten Gamst Pedersen.

With five minutes left, Rovers' pressure told when Bradley Orr's cross found Dunn to nod home at the far post.

It was a breathless finish to a game that Villa should have wrapped up before the break, such was their dominance.

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Kean praises goalkeeper Robinson

The draw means Alex McLeish's men remain 15th and eight points clear of the cluster of sides at the bottom of the table after a run of five Premier League games without a win.

Villa's poor form was not the only reason for their fans' concern ahead of their trip to Ewood Park, with their side having to cope without key strikers Darren Bent, through injury, and Robbie Keane, who has returned to the United States after his loan spell.

But they made the most of a slow start by Blackburn, who saw another protest against owners, the Venky's, and manager Steve Kean outside the ground before kick-off.

Gabriel Agbonlahor brought a couple of early stops from Paul Robinson and it was no surprise when N'Zogbia broke the deadlock after 24 minutes.

Cuellar kept going after picking up the ball on the left flank, cutting inside before feeding the Frenchman, who swivelled to slam an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.

Blackburn, despite the backing of their fans inside the stadium, remained surprisingly subdued and Villa should have increased their lead before the break when Stephen Ireland's cut-back found N'Zogbia, but this time his effort was pushed away by Robinson.

Rovers were booed off at the break but they were much improved at the start of the second half, following a double change by Kean that saw Marcus Olsson and Dunn replace Mauro Formica and Radosav Petrovic.

Marcus Olsson immediately linked up with his twin brother Martin down the left to send over a cross that only just eluded Yakubu and set the tone for an anxious final 45 minutes for the visitors.

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Villa need to be ruthless - McLeish

A rare foray forward saw Stephen Ireland force a fine low stop from Robinson, who also kept out Alan Hutton's follow up without the knowledge that the linesman had already flagged from offside.

But it was Blackburn who were flooding forward, with Scott Dann heading over from Steven Nzonzi's flick on and Junior Hoilett bringing a smart stop from Shay Given before he pushed away Pedersen's stinging effort.

Villa had one final chance to make sure of the points when Agbonlahor's bouncing header was clawed to safety by Robinson.

And Rovers got the draw their persistence deserved when Orr bent in a cross from the right that found Dunn unmarked to head home their equaliser.

Blackburn boss Steve Kean: "If it wasn't for Paul Robinson's performance in the first half today the game could have been beyond us. He made crucial saves in the first half and played his part in getting us back to our usual standards.

"The first half was probably as poor as we've been for a number of months. But we had a few choice words at half-time and in the second half we were much better.

"We got closer to Villa's midfield because we were miles off it in the first half. I'm just disappointed we didn't get our goal earlier because, if we did, we might have gone on to win it."

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish: "We lacked the ruthlessness that has maybe blighted us a bit this season. You could certainly talk about the amount of chances we've passed up in games.

"Charles N'Zogbia could have had a hat-trick. He was looking very dangerous cutting in from wide on the right and he had a chance to put us 2-0 up when Robinson saved point blank.

"We've got to move on and try to build on our performance in the first half. Paul Robinson made some fantastic saves, but in the second half Blackburn bullied us a bit."

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