FA Cup: Aston Villa 1-0 Blackpool

Christian Benteke scored two minutes from the end to save Aston Villa from embarrassment against Championship strugglers Blackpool.

The 24-year-old controlled Carlos Sanchez’s pass on his chest and rifled a shot past Joe Lewis from 18 yards.

But an under-par Villa had to dig deep to reach the fourth round against a Blackpool team nine points from safety at the bottom of the Championship.

The visitors were denied a goal when Shay Given saved Ishmael Miller’s shot.

Villa’s only other previous wins at Villa Park this term had been 2-1 league victories over Leicester last month and against Hull in August.

In what has been a tough season, Paul Lambert’s side were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Leyton Orient at home and the manager warned his players not to make the same mistake against a Blackpool side without an away win all season.

But the Seasiders, who last met Villa in the Premier League in 2010, proved tough opposition and will feel they deserved a replay.

Before Benteke’s late strike – the Belgian’s third goal of the season – the visitors had the best chance to go ahead, but substitute Miller’s rasping drive was tipped over by Given.

Given, 38, was making only his second start of the season with number one Brad Guzan given the day off – one of five changes made by Lambert.

The clubs last met in the FA Cup in January 1938, when Villa ran out 4-0 winners.

It was never going to be a goal fest this time with neither side showing much cutting edge.

Indeed Villa were on course for a third successive goalless draw at Villa Park – after sharing the points with Sunderland and Crystal Palace over the festive period – until Benteke’s moment of magic.

While the result will be a relief for Lambert, it means more misery for Lee Clark, who took over at Blackpool in October but has guided them to only one win in 11 outings.

Read more at BBC Sport