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  • Agbonlahor (40), Agbonlahor (44)
  • Date:2010-01-30
  • Kick-off:15:00
  • Venue:Craven Cottage
  • Attendance:25408
  • Referee:Mason, L

Live Commentary

90mins

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

90mins

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

90mins

Three minutes of stoppage time will be played.

89mins

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

87mins

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.

85mins

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

83mins

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.

81mins

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

79mins

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

77mins

Emile Heskey is booked for dissent.

76mins

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

74mins

Bjorn Helge Riise comes on for Stephen Kelly.

72mins

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

70mins

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

68mins

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

67mins

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

65mins

David Elm replaces Erik Nevland.

63mins

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

61mins

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.

59mins

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

57mins

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

56mins

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.

53mins

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

51mins

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

49mins

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

47mins

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

45mins

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

45mins

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

44mins

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.

42mins

Villa are finishing the half strongly at Craven Cottage.

40mins

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

36mins

Gera has a shot well-blocked by Richard Dunne.

34mins

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

32mins

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

30mins

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

28mins

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

26mins

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.

24mins

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

23mins

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

21mins

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

18mins

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

15mins

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

13mins

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

10mins

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

8mins

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

6mins

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.

5mins

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

2mins

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

0mins

Referee Lee Mason gets play underway at Craven Cottage.

0mins

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.

0mins

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

Match Preview

Aston Villa make the trip to capital on Saturday to face Roy Hodgson's Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The visitors will be looking for a much-needed three points if they are to continue their unrealistic top-four charge, but after picking up a draw at Villa Park against Arsenal on Wednesday evening, Martin O'Neill's men could be confident.

Villa are four points adrift of Tottenham Hotspur, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League place, although they do have a game in hand over their London rivals.

Fulham will not be an easy conquest for the Midlands outfit, especially with a fine home record that has steered them into top-half contention.

They have not lost at Craven Cottage since the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on September 26 and 11 games has passed since this setback.

Fulham will proudly look back knowing they have put Liverpool and champions Manchester United handsomely to the sword in this sequence.

Despite this, Fulham's last four Premier League fixtures have all been away from home, and they have lost each one to Chelsea, Stoke City, Blackburn Rovers and Spurs and it is a mini-slump that Hodgson will want to arrest.

Fulham's progress has been hindered with the loss of several key first-team players in recent times.

American star Clint Dempsey, Andrew Johnson and John Paintsil (all knee) will be missing with Paul Konchesky (ankle) struggling to shake off his problem.

Villa currently have few injury concerns which must delight O'Neill at this crucial stage of the season, although midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker has been ruled out for three months with an ankle problem.

The Villans have secured their place in the final of the Carling Cup after semi-final wins against Blackburn and it was the same side they knocked out of the FA Cup.


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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.

Fulham

Aston Villa

Corners

93

Fouls

1115

Goal attempts

910

Shots off target

54

Offsides

51

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