Premier League: Aston Villa 4 Blackburn 1

Aston Villa struck four second-half goals to secure their first league victory in over a month and three precious points in their relegation battle.

All the early pressure came from Villa, with Robert Pires blasting the first shot of the game safely over the Rovers crossbar.

Darren Bent had their first shot on target, forcing Blackburn keeper Paul Robinson into making a good low save.

There were appeals for a penalty from the home side when Bent went down under a challenge from Grant Hanley.

But as the striker turned away he appeared to fall under his own momentum and referee Martin Atkinson waved play on.

Just before the break both Pires and Kyle Walker forced Robinson into making a string of excellent saves.

On three occasions he could only palm the ball back into danger areas, and had to make a double save to stop Bent from scoring on the third.

Ryan Nelsen also made a key interception off Bent when the forward received the ball just a few yards from goal during added time in the first half.

Blackburn could have gone ahead moments after the restart, but keeper Brad Friedel denied Jermaine Jones who was given a clear shot on goal by the Villa defence.

However, moments later, it was the home side that took the lead from a penalty.

Keith Andrews hauled down Ashley Young after losing the ball to the Villa captain in his own area.

Young then fired in his own spot kick.

Just after the hour some sustained pressure from Gerard Houllier’s men resulted in their second goal, although it came with an element of good fortune.

Marc Albrighton crossed low into a crowded box and the ball deflected off Hanley’s knee into his own net.

The game was put beyond Rovers a minute later when Villa broke clear. Young was brought down on the half-way line but play was waved on, allowing Stewart Downing to collect the ball deep on the right, cut inside and score past Robinson.

Substitute Nikola Kalinic scored a consolation goal for Steve Kean’s men when his shot deflected off Richard Dunne and looped over Friedel, but a minute later Young restored the three-goal lead with his second of the afternoon.

In injury time Nelsen was given a red card for a second bookable offence to compound a miserable day for Blackburn at Villa Park.