Heskey saves Villa

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Substitute Emile Heskey rescued a 1-1 for Aston Villa with his 86th-minute header against Burnley at Turf Moor.

Burnley captain Steven Caldwell had put his side ahead with a ninth-minute header from Robbie Blake's free-kick.

That looked like being enough until Heskey popped up with four minutes to go to convert James Milner's cross.

History, and there was a lot of it, had been against Villa from the start as they had not won at Burnley in their previous 22 league meetings - their last was in 1936 - and were without an away victory in four games going into this fixture.

Prior to the game, the home record of Owen Coyle's side was bettered only by Chelsea and Manchester United.

The Clarets were tenacious yet controlled - epitomised by veteran midfielder Graham Alexander - while striker Steven Fletcher proved a handful for experienced centre-back Richard Dunne all afternoon.

Backed by a strong wind Burnley took an early lead and looked like holding on to it until Heskey's intervention.

Blake's inch-perfect inswinging free-kick from wide on the right may have just skimmed off Dunne but Caldwell was up challenging and he headed powerfully into the net despite Brad Friedel getting a fingertip to it.

Republic of Ireland defender Dunne's week showed no signs of improving when he was booked for a late challenge on Fletcher as the striker threatened to burst through the inside-left channel.

Andre Bikey's dipping volley from Fletcher's lay-off was only marginally over the crossbar and when Steve Sidwell deflected Alexander's long-range effort for a corner the unmarked Bikey headed wide when he should have hit the target.

Ten minutes before the interval Chris Eagles received a few choice words from Alexander after needlessly giving the ball away in the opposition's half, allowing Villa to spring a counter-attack which almost caught out Burnley.

Moments later Clarets goalkeeper Brian Jensen was almost embarrassed after racing out to the left edge of his penalty area only to miss the ball under pressure from Gabriel Agbonlahor.

The Villa striker laid off a pass for Ashley Young but he curled his shot over as Clarke Carlisle desperately tried to get back.

Burnley replied with Bikey's rising drive clipping Sidwell for another corner, which this time Friedel punched clear.

Seconds before half-time Ashley Young's corner picked out Milner at the far post and his pass across the six-yard area was fortuitously sliced behind by Alexander.

Five minutes after the interval Dunne was lucky to escape a second yellow card for pulling Fletcher's shirt on the edge of the penalty area, with Carlos Cuellar instead cautioned for fouling the Scotland striker.

Agbonlahor should then have scored soon after Tyrone Mears had curled his 20-yard free-kick wide, after Friedel's long punt was flicked on by John Carew.

The striker had only Jensen to beat but as he shot for the far corner the slightest of touches from the Dane diverted it around the post.

Immediately down the other end Blake forced Friedel to parry his stinging shot as the game became increasingly open.

Sidwell had half a chance to score from Ashley Young's viciously inswinging free-kick with 20 minutes to go but the ball flashed past the far post before the former Reading midfielder could reach it.

Burnley replaced Eagles with the powerfully-built Kevin McDonald while #12million summer signing from Middlesbrough Stewart Downing finally made his debut for Villa after an ankle injury when he replaced Sidwell.

It was the Clarets substitute who made the first contribution, setting up Fletcher for a fierce shot which Friedel tipped over.

Villa manager Martin O'Neill also threw on Heskey for full-back Luke Young late in the game and the England international salvaged a point in the 86th minute.

Milner collected Jensen's weak punch and curled a cross to the far post where Heskey held off Caldwell to head home the equaliser.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Tyrone Mears
Stewart Downing
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Andre Amougou
Steven Caldwell
James Milner
John Carew
Emile Heskey
Graham Alexander
Brian Jensen
Premier League
Carlos Cuellar
Steven Fletcher
Luke Young
Manchester United
Ashley Young
Brad Friedel
Carlisle United
Richard Dunne
Chris Eagles
Aston Villa
Robbie Blake
Kevin McDonald
Steve Sidwell
Clarke Carlisle

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