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Blackburn Rovers 1 - 1 Aston Villa: Conor Hourihane emerges to save Villa

Hourihane's late free kick saved Steve Bruce and saved Aston Villa

Burton Albion v Aston Villa - Carabao Cup Second Round Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

If Villa were hoping for relief and a return to order following a devestating loss against Sheffield United, then they will have to continue their search after drawing against Blackburn at Ewood Park.

Blackburn quickly set the stage with a rapid attack that required Ørjan Nyland to pull off a last gasp reflex save on the goal line. However, it wasn’t just the keeper coming to their rescue. Villa were saved by the offside flag in the first half on two occasions, once when Blackburn had a free break after the ball bounced loose following an Axel Tuanzebe challenge, and again when Bradley Dack buried the ball into the net from an offside position. Unfortunately it seems they paid the price for these favourable decisions as John McGinn’s strong claim for a penalty was waved away after the Scottish midfielder was hacked down in the box. Despite Villa coming close from a Tammy Abraham header, Steve Bruce’s side didn’t look at all comfortable on the ball, with Blackburn happy to defend comfortably before launching spring loaded attacks. A breathless first half ended with the scoreline lacking a goal.

Villa quickly asserted dominance in the second half, but their early chance in the face of goal could only be struck directly at the goalkeeper. Ørjan Nyland carried on his antics by deflecting Danny Graham’s header over before it was flagged for offside while Tammy Abraham again came close from a header.

Abraham once more came close to opening the scoreline up, but his snap shot after a neat link up with Jonathan Kodjia could only bounce wide.

It would be Blackburn that took the lead though, after Bradley Dack’s neat backheel restored order following a chaotic goalmouth scramble.

Villa attempted to find an equaliser, but the usual frustration set into the match. AVFC put their forward on an island and simply waited for ‘magic’ to happen. Steve Bruce’s glassy eyes stared across the pitch searching for answers.

Magic did happen. Of course Conor Hourihane would climb from the bench to bury home a 90th minute free kick. It's destiny. It's what he does. That's his story and there might be a deeper meaning there entirely, with Hourihane falling completely out of favour at Villa Park.

With that Steve Bruce may have a lot to think about - namely the fact that his time at Aston Villa may have been extended by a signing he has looked past on multiple occasions.