Calamitous Clarets crushed by Villa

The Clarets had silenced Villa Park by scoring a well-worked

10th-minute opener through Steven Fletcher, but once Ashley Young

netted a fortunate equaliser just after the half-hour mark, there

was no halting them and second-half strikes through Stewart Downing

(56, 58), Emile Heskey (61) and Gabriel Agbonlahor (68) earned them

a comprehensive win. Burnley stunned Villa by taking the lead after

10 minutes through Fletcher’s 11th goal of the campaign. David

Nugent broke into the Villa box and his low centre was turned home

at the far post by the Scotsman, who did well to remain onside. It

was Burnley’s first away league goal in 550 minutes since Chris

Eagles scored in the 5-3 defeat at West Ham on November 28. Villa

were struggling to get going and when Heskey headed just wide of

the far post, it seemed it wasn’t going to be their day. But

lacklustre Villa finally drew level after 33 minutes through

Young’s seventh goal of the campaign. Young played a short corner

to James Milner, received the return pass and then cut inside

before firing a ball into the box which clipped Daniel Fox before

entering the net with Brian Jensen unsighted. The goal appeared to

galvanise Villa and they came out for the second half in a

determined mood. It wasn’t long before they took the lead with

Downing slotting in his first goal for the club on 56 minutes, the

midfielder turning the ball home in-off the post with his right

foot. And the England star didn’t have long to wait for his second

as just two minutes later he was celebrating again when his shot

from the edge of the box took a deflection en-route to goal to

leave Jensen flat-footed. Villa scored their third goal in six

minutes when Young again broke down the left and his precise ball

into the box was steered into the corner by Heskey. And on 68

minutes, Villa bagged their fourth goal in 12 minutes when a smart

move saw Milner cross to the near post and Agbonlahor stole a march

on the Clarets defence to tap in from three yards. Martin

Paterson’s tap-in in stoppage time following Jack Cork’s fine cross

served as nothing more than scant consolation. The win temporarily

lifts Villa back up to fourth and firmly back in the hunt for a

top-four finish, while the Clarets remains firmly entrenched in the

bottom three in 19th place.