Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill saw his side chalk up a club record seventh successive away win - a 2-0 victory over Blackburn - to keep the pressure on at the top of the Barclays Premier League.
James Milner and Gabriel Agbonlahor scored the goals either side of half-time to leave them daring to dream of Champions League football.
Blackburn, however, remain locked in a relegation battle after their first defeat since Sam Allardyce took charge 10 games ago.
Villa carved out the first chance in the second minute when England striker Emile Heskey saw his effort blocked after good link-up play between Gareth Barry and Milner.
Blackburn were finding Heskey hard to handle and he chested the ball into the net in the 16th minute following an inswinging free-kick from Barry.
Heskey was left bewildered, however, that his effort was disallowed after an apparent foul on Christopher Samba.
A minute later Blackburn came close when Morten Gamst Pedersen sent a close-range shot wide of the target. But Villa took the lead in the 26th minute when Milner played a clever one-two with Barry from a corner.
Blackburn failed to pick up Milner when he made the run and he rifled a shot into the corner beyond goalkeeper Paul Robinson.
Milner should have added a second for Villa in the 76th minute but somehow screwed a close-range shot wide following a surging run from Ashley Young.
Roque Santa Cruz almost pulled Blackburn level five minutes later, only to drag his effort the wrong side of the post. But the points were sealed when Agbonlahor's shot on the stroke of full time spun off Ryan Nelsen and past Robinson.
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