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17:07 21st November 2009


A late equaliser from Aston Villa substitute Emile Heskey dashed Owen Coyle's hopes of marking his second anniversary as Burnley boss with another famous victory.

Heskey came off the bench to head his first goal of the season four minutes from the end of another gripping Turf Moor clash after captain Steven Caldwell had given the Clarets an early lead in front of their biggest home gate of the season.

Caldwell's first goal for eight months looked as though it would be enough for maximum points as Burnley out-played Villa in the first half and then defended bravely after the break.

Steven Caldwell heads the opener

The pressure of fighting against the elements and Villa's all-star attack finally told - but Burnley's first home draw of the season earned them another valuable point as they extended their unbeaten run to three games and proved again that they have what it takes to live with the best in the business.

Coyle not surprisingly said same again following the Clarets' thrilling draw at Manchester City a fortnight earlier as an unchanged side looked to further enhance Burnley's impressive home record.

And they made the perfect start thanks to Caldwell's ninth-minute opener.

Villa had already been forced onto the back foot when Luke Young fouled Robbie Blake wide on the left-hand side and allowed Blake to swing in a dangerous free-kick.

Former Blackburn goalkeeper Brad Friedel came to punch but made no contact and as Caldwell, Clarke Carlisle and Richard Dunne rose together, Caldwell's head got the decisive touch.

On a wet and windy afternoon Villa were in danger of being blown away by Burnley's tigerish approach as they refused to let the visitors settle.

Chris Eagles typified Burnley's approach as he ran Stephen Warnock ragged in an impressive opening 45 minutes in which the winger was a constant threat.

It was a cross from Eagles which Steven Fletcher laid off for Andre Bikey to thump a volley over the bar after 24 minutes and the Cameroon international was to go close twice more before the break.

Again Eagles stretched the Villa defence with half an hour gone with a run and cross which ended with Graham Alexander forcing a corner with a deflected shot.

When Blake delivered the corner Bikey got free from his defensive marker but then lacked the power or direction with his header to make the most of the chance.

The powerful midfielder then tried his luck from further out with a fierce long-range drive but a touch off Steve Sidwell took the thunderbolt just wide.

Fletcher had also headed over from a Blake cross as Villa were made to look second best in their quest for the win that could have seen them break into the top four.

But the visitors did finally issue a warning shot eight minutes before half-time when a long ball forward from Stiliyan Petrov decieved Brian Jensen.

Gabriel Agbonlahor was able to take the ball away from the Clarets' keeper and tee up Ashley Young but with only defenders between him and the goal, the winger unleashed a shot which flew over the top.

Burnley resumed on the front foot after the break with the hard-working Fletcher again worrying the centre of the Villa defence and when he was felled by Carlos Cuellar, Tyrone Mears clipped a free-kick just too high.

Blake was next to find a way through following a slick move across midfield which ended with the little forward cutting in and cracking a shot which moved in the air and had Friedel at full stretch to parry away.

In dreadful conditions, the entertainment was top-classbut Villa showed it was not all one-way as they punctuated the latest two Clarets' attacks with a route-one move which gave Agbonlahor the perfect chance to equalise.

John Carew's flick-on from a Friedel kick saw the England international get behind the Clarets' defence but when he looked a certain scorer Jensen threw out a hand to touch the ball just past the post.

With the wind and rain driving into the Clarets' faces it was becoming a battle of attrition for Coyle's braves and after Sidwell had been unable to convert a fiercely struck free-kick to the far post it took a superb piece of defending from Stephen Jordan to dispossess Milner as the England man bore down on goal.

Coyle sent on Kevin McDonald in a bid to staunch the flow and he immediately relieved the pressure by setting up an opportunity for Fletcher, who worked the ball onto his left foot and let fly with a stunning shot which needed an equally impressive save from Friedel to keep his side in the hunt with 18 minutes to go.

And despite some heroic defending from Burnley, Villa grabbed that lifeline in the dying stages as the Clarets were finally breached.

Jensen tried to repel the danger with a punch from Stewart Downing's corner but the ball went only as far as Milner whose cross was headed in by Heskey to snatch away a sixth win in seven home games.

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Bikey, Eagles (McDonald 69), Elliott, Blake (Gudjonsson 81), Fletcher (Nugent 74). Substitutes: Penny, Duff, Thompson, Guerrero.

Aston Villa: Friedel, Young (Heskey 80), Sidwell (Downing 70), Dunne, Young, Milner, Carew, Agbonlahor, Petrov, Cuellar, Warnock. Substitutes: Delph, Heskey, Reo-Coker, Shorey, Guzan, Beye.

Referee: H Webb

Attendance: 21,179

    Data provided by Press Association