Premier League - Last-gasp Villa down Blackpool
Wed, 10 Nov 21:47:00 2010
James Collins headed a 90th-minute winner to seal a dramatic 3-2 win for Aston Villa over Blackpool in the Premier League at Villa Park.
Stewart Downing's deflected shot gave Villa the lead after 29 minutes but Marlon Harewood hit back on the stroke of half-time to level against his old club.
Nathan Delfouneso struck on the hour to edge Villa back in front before DJ Campbell looked to have earned a point with three minutes remaining only for Collins to steal a dramatic win for Gerard Houllier's side.
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway made an astonishing 10 changes to the side which drew 2-2 with Everton on Saturday; midfielder Keith Southern the only survivor.
But the visitors needed little time to work into their stride, with Harewood wasting a glorious early opportunity, blazing over from 12 yards with eight minutes on the clock after Matt Phillips's lay-off.
Tricky winger Phillips, signed from League Two Wycombe Wanderers in August, was the key architect for Blackpool but shot high and wide two minutes later when, with three team-mates in the box, a cross was the better option.
Blackpool went into the match having conceded the most goals in the division this season and Ludovic Sylvestre gave up possession too easily to allow Marc Albrighton to ghost in and shoot straight at Richard Kingson.
But Kingson, who played in goal for Ghana at the World Cup in South Africa, was left with no chance when Downing exchanged passes with Ashley Young before his shot deflected off Dekel Keinan and flew into the top corner.
The hosts almost doubled their lead when Downing's floated cross was met on the volley by Albrighton at the back post but Jason Euell was on hand to clear off the line.
But Blackpool refused to cut their losses with half-time approaching and drew level when Phillips's superb back heel released Harewood and the 31-year-old made no mistake in coolly slotting past Brad Friedel.
Aston Villa were without a win in five before the visit of Blackpool and emerged for the second half determined to end that run.
Young saw his 20-yard strike unconvincingly pushed wide by Kingson after the restart before a Collins header from the resulting corner was hooked off the line by David Carney.
Blackpool continued to struggle at set-pieces and Richard Dunne failed to hit the target with a free header.
And Holloway's side continued to ride their luck when Delfouneso's headed goal was ruled out for an alleged push on Keinan after Young broke on the right and swung in a lofted cross.
But England U21 international Delfouneso was not to be denied and latched onto Young's central through-ball before sprinting clear and finishing past Kingson.
As Blackpool pressed for an equaliser they left themselves short at the back and Albrighton should have done better when firing over after a swift counter-attack by Villa.
But the Tangerines fought back for a second time when substitute Charlie Adam found Brett Ormerod who in turn laid off for Campbell, whose shot from the edge of the area deflected off Collins and looped over Friedel.
That looked to be enough to earn a share of the spoils but Collins's glancing header from a Downing corner ended Villa's winless run and left Blackpool with nothing for their efforts.George Scott / Eurosport