• Date: Sat 30 January 2010
  • Venue: Craven Cottage
  • Ref: Mason, L
  • Attendance: 25,408
0 - 2
Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Agbonlahor (40)

Agbonlahor (44)

Fulham vs Aston Villa

Team Lineups

Fulham

Mark Schwarzer
Stephen Kelly (Bjorn Helge Riise, 74)
Brede Hangeland
Chris Baird
Aaron Hughes
Chris Smalling
Danny Murphy
Damien Duff
Simon Davies (Zoltan Gera, 25)
Erik Nevland (David Elm, 65)
Bobby Zamora

Aston Villa

Brad Friedel
Luke Young, L
Richard Dunne
Carlos Cuellar
James Collins
Stewart Downing
Ashley Young, A
James Milner
Stiliyan Petrov
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Emile Heskey

Match Report
Gabriel Agbonlahor netted a brace to help Aston Villa get their Champions League hopes back on track and inflict more misery on a struggling Fulham side that have now lost five on the spin after Martin O'Neill's side won 2-0 at Craven Cottage. Despite reaching the Carling Cup Final, Villa had seen their league form take a slump in their previous four games as they failed to score a goal and only picked up two points. But Agbonlahor ensured they got back to winning ways with a stunning display which keeps alive their hopes of challenging for a top-four finish. In stark contrast, Fulham's season is taking a major downward spiral and they could yet face a relegation dogfight if they don't improve their form in the next few weeks. Villa came close to breaking the deadlock on 33 minutes when Ashley Young crossed for Luke Young whose close-range header produced a superb save from Mark Schwarzer who did well to tip the ball over the bar. The away side continued to create the best openings and Stiliyan Petrov blew a golden chance to get on the scoresheet on 35 minutes when he was clean through inside the box but fired his shot over the bar. Villa finally got their just rewards when Agbonlahor fired them into the lead on 40 minutes. Petrov's cross picked out the Villa striker who rose above Chris Smalling in the box and flashed a close-range header past Schwarzer. It was his first league goal since he netted the winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford in December and could not have impressed Sir Alex Ferguson who was watching his latest new recruit from the stands. Agbonlahor grabbed his second of the game on the stroke of half-time. Carlos Cuellar played the ball into the England forward and he curled a superb shot past Schwarzer into the corner of the net. Fulham refused to lie down and almost pulled a goal back on 67 minutes when Smalling's header was kept out by Brad Friedel. The home side finally had the ball in the back of the net on 76 minutes when substitute David Elm slotted a shot past Friedel but his effort was ruled out for offside. Villa held on to record a comfortable win which gives them plenty of confidence as they prepare to face Tottenham and Manchester United at the start of February.
Live Text Commentary
Full time
 

The final whistle goes to confirm a comfortable three points for Villa.

90
Yellow Card
 

Luke Young is booked for a foul on Bjorn Helge Riise.

90

Three minutes of stoppage time will be played.

89

Downing takes a corner short to eat up time - this match is well and truly over as a contest.

87

Villa get a free-kick in Fulham's half to get some respite, but in truth they have hardly been under siege at the back.

85

Villa are getting most of their men behind the ball, knowing they have nearly done their job.

83

ime is running out for the Cottagers. Villa have defended well in the second half but Roy Hodgson will be concerned by his team's lack of cutting edge.

81

Elm nearly fiinds room with a header at the back post, but the excellent Richard Dunne intervenes.

79

Fulham have a couple of corners but they just can't turn pressure into chances.

77
Yellow Card
 

Emile Heskey is booked for dissent.

76

David Elm finds the net from Gera's pass, but the flag is up for offside.

74
Substitution
 

Bjorn Helge Riise comes on for Stephen Kelly.

72

Ashley Young and James Milner havea good chance to break for Villa, but the latter's pass goes out of play with Fulham stretched.

70

Hangeland stays forward after a Fulham set-piece but his header loops harmlessly wide.

68

Stewart Downing breaks at pace down the Villa left, but Ashley Young can't get his effort on goal from a well-directed cross.

67

Bobby Zamora sets up Zoltan Gera on the edge of Villa's area, but the Hungarian's shot is deflected just wide.

65
Substitution
 

David Elm replaces Erik Nevland.

63

The visitors prove their threat on the break, Smalling hacking clear with Heskey ready to pounce.

61

Fulham are building the pressure with a sustained spell of possession, but Villa are happy to play on the break, knowing they have some dangerous pace in attack.

59

Murphy does well to pick out Zamora in the Villa box, but the forward can't direct his effort goalwards.

57

Brede Hangeland heads Damien Duff's corner wide under pressure from two Villa defenders.

56

The hosts are trying to up the tempo in the search for a way back into this match, Gera forcing Friedel into a decent low save.

53

Zoltan Gera whips in a decent cross for Bobby Zamora, but James Collins heads clear.

51

Fulham rely on Danny Murphy's creativity but the former England man has not got into the game today.

49

Stewart Downing scuffs a shot with his weaker right foot, Schwarzer saves easily.

47

Fulham need to get Bobby Zamora into the game in the same way Villa's frontmen have.

Second half
 

The second half starts with the onus on Fulham to attack.

Half time
 

The half-time whistle goes with Villa suddenly in charge thanks to Agbonlahor.

44
Goal
 

Gabriel Agbonlahor puts Villa in firm control of this match, turning past Hangeland and curling a neat finish past the keeper. The big defender should have done better.

42

Villa are finishing the half strongly at Craven Cottage.

40
Goal
 

Gabriel Agbonlahor opens the scoring, beating Chris Smalling to a Stiliyan Petrov cross to head past Schwarzer.

36

Gera has a shot well-blocked by Richard Dunne.

34

Stiliyan Petrov bursts into the Fulham box but fizzes his shot over from a tight angle.

32

Villa have a succession of corners but they cannot create a clear-cut chance.

30

Nevland and Richard Dunne have a shoving match after a collision, but no cards are shown.

28

Gera has a chance to shoot but the effort is blocked and Nevland heads over after Gera returned the ball into the box.

26

Villa are having success in getting the ball to Downing and Luke Young in wide areas, but Heskey and Gabriel Agbonlahor have not yet been found in space.

24
Substitution
 

Simon Davies has picked up a knock and is replaced by Zoltan Gera.

23

Milner releases Ashley Young down the Fulham right flank but the England's winner lacks the power to beat Schwarzer at his near post.

21

The visitors are gradually taking charge, with Stiliyan Petrov and James Milner to the fore in midfield.

18

Heskey's snap-shot tests Mark Schwarzer, but the keeper didn't have to move far to gather.

15

Villa are improving and the match is becoming a slightly scrappy midfield affair.

13

Villa have their first corner of the match, but Stewart Downing's delivery is poor and Aaron Hughes clears at the near post.

10

Brede Hangeland and Heskey get in a tangle, with the defender getting penalised by the referee - the pair will have a heavyweight battle today.

8

Friedel saves again, this time from Simon Davies - Villa are hanging on and need to get a foothold in the game.

6

Fulham are on the front foot in the early stages, Brad Friedel saving well from Damien Duff after Collins blocked a shot by the Irish winger.

5

Bobby Zamora finds space to shoot on the edge of Villa's box, but James Collins gets a block in.

2

The first chance of the game is Villa's, Emile Heskey heading over from 12 yards out.

Kickoff
 

Referee Lee Mason gets play underway at Craven Cottage.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

Aston Villa are unchanged from the team that shared a goalless draw with Arsenal in midweek, whilst Roy Hodgson makes three changes to the team that lost at Spurs, with Simon Davies, Stephen Kelly and Erik Nevland coming in.

Awaiting Kickoff
 

These teams have met 51 times in the league, with 17 wins apiece and 17 draws.