Belfast Telegraph

Villa edge past gutsy Blackpool

James Collins grabbed an 89th-minute winner to finally see off gutsy Blackpool 3-2 and end Aston Villa's five-match winless run in the Barclays Premier League.

Tangerines boss Ian Holloway made 10 changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Everton at the weekend but they were arguably the better team before Stewart Downing put the hosts ahead with a deflected shot in the 28th minute.

Villa old boy Marlon Harewood levelled just before half-time and, after Nathan Delfouneso had netted his first of the season on the hour mark, DJ Campbell stunned Villa Park with Blackpool's second three minutes from time. But Villa went straight down the other end and secured the three points through Collins' header.

The hosts had their chances in an open start to the game and Luke Young might have done better than fire over the angle of post and bar.

Blackpool ramped up the pressure again and it needed a good challenge from Luke Young to deny Harewood, but in the 28th minute it was Villa who took the lead through Downing.

The winger played a one-two with Ashley Young before turning on the edge of the area and sending in a shot that flew past Richard Kingson with the help of a deflection off Dekel Keinan.

Blackpool grabbed an equaliser on the stroke of half-time. A brilliant back-heel from Matt Phillips played in Harewood and the former Villa man calmly slotted past Brad Friedel and just inside the far post.

Villa regained their lead when Delfouneso seized on a precision pass from Young and tucked away his shot. And the hosts should have made the game safe with 10 minutes to go as Downing tore down the left flank before picking out the unmarked Marc Albrighton at the far post, but he shot into the ground and over the bar.

It looked like they would be made to regret that miss with three minutes left when, out of nothing, substitute Campbell equalised with a shot from the edge of the box that caught Collins and looped up and over Friedel.

But less than two minutes later the Blackpool's fans were silenced as Collins squeezed his header just inside the post from Downing's corner, and this time there was to be no comeback from the visitors.

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