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Big Sam furious at referee

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce pointed an accusing finger at referee Martin Atkinson following his side's failure to reach the Carling Cup final.

With Blackburn 2-1 ahead and Villa all at sea, Atkinson failed to spot a push from Gabriel Agbonlahor on captain Ryan Nelsen, allowing former Rovers defender Stephen Warnock to rifle the home side level on the half-hour.

From then on the momentum shifted Villa's way, and when James Milner scored from the spot 10 minutes later after Chris Samba was dismissed for a foul on Agbonlahor, the writing was on the wall for Blackburn.

Blackburn at least restored some pride via a stunning overhead kick from Martin Olsson and a volley from Brett Emerton, only for Ashley Young to finish matters in injury time for a 6-4 win, 7-4 on aggregate.

Allardyce, though, was far from happy with Atkinson.

"It's a bit difficult to take, scoring four goals and not getting through to the final," reflected Allardyce.

"We were in complete control of the game, and if anybody was going to score again it was us.

"But then the referee allows a blatant foul on Ryan Nelsen to go unpunished, and at this level you have to make sure the referee gets those decisions right."