Blackpool 1-1 Aston Villa: Report
Ian Holloway saw his Blackpool side end a run of five straight defeats
with a stirring display in a 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Bloomfield
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When Gabriel Agbonlahor opened the scoring for Villa after 10 minutes it could have opened the floodgates.
Instead Blackpool regrouped quickly and equalised four minutes later thanks to Elliot Grandin.
Villa were reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute when Jean Makoun was given a straight red card after a challenge on DJ Campbell.
But they had lacked drive before then and that must be a concern to manager Gerard Houllier.
Villa were as poor in the second half as they were bright in the first half. Darren Bent had sight of goal inside the first minute after Agbonlahor picked him out but his effort was blocked.
Blackpool again found themselves on the back foot moments later when Ashley Young released Stuart Downing but his cross was scrambled away.
Villa made the breakthrough in the 10th minute following a swift counter attack that left the home side exposed.
Bent laid the ball off to Agbonlahor and he showed a blistering turn of pace before going around Richard Kingson and firing a shot into the corner.
However not for the first time this time this season Holloway's side stormed back and equalised in the 14th minute.
Grandin got a vital touch at the near post after Villa failed to deal with a corner from Charlie Adam.
Two minutes later Luke Varney should have put Blackpool ahead only to head wide from six yards following a cross from Marlon Harewood.
Play switched back down the other end and Stewart Downing came close to regaining the lead for the visitors in the 30th minute.
The former Middlesbrough winger carved out an opening for himself on the edge of the area only to see his curler come back off the outside of the post.
Bent, however, was not getting things all his own way at this stage but the England striker was happy to track back if needed.
Blackpool hit back in the 54th minute and almost took the lead with Adam at the heart of the move.
The Scotland midfielder released Varney on the left wing and he skipped to the byline before delivering the cross.
Campbell got on the end of it at the near post but clipped his effort wide of the target when it seemed easier to score.
Houllier then decided to freshen things up in attack with Emile Heskey replacing Bent in the 57th minute.
Blackpool were growing in confidence and Adam swung in a free-kick six minutes later but Villa managed to scramble the ball to safety.
Then Varney laid the ball into the path of Harewood on the edge of the area. However he blazed a shot high over the bar before Puncheon sent his effort wide.
Villa were then reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute when Makoun was sent off for a challenge on Campbell.
Adam was pulling the strings in the middle of the park and released substitute Matt Phillips with a glorious ball in the 80th minute.
Phillips got a good touch but then then found himself crowded out as he attempted to get in a shot.
Back came Villa and Young had an appeal for penalty turned down in stoppage time after he went to ground following Ian Evatt's challenge before scuffing a shot wide.
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