Sunday, January 31, 2010

Aston Villa beat Fulham 2-0 : Agbonlahor brace demolishes Cottagers‎

Fulham 0

Aston Villa 2
- Agbonlahor 40,
- Agbonlahor 44

Aston Villa beat Fulham 2-0 in the Barclays Premier League at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon courtesy of two first-half goals by England World Cup hopeful Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Villa had an excellent chance around the half-hour mark, when Ashley Young sent a cross towards Stiliyan Petrov, who had an excellent header superb saved by Schwarzer. A few minutes later, Fulham put the Villans under pressure for a brief spell which involved several half-chances and scrappy clearances by the Villa defenders, but it amounted to nothing in the end. The turning point of the match came in the 40th minute, when a corner taken by Petrov was met with a thumping header by Agbonlahor, rising ahead of Manchester bound Chris Smalling (with Sir Alex Ferguson in attendance at Craven Cottage). Schwarzer managed to get his fingers to the ball but the power in the header was too much for him to deal with, and Villa were ahead five minutes before half-time.

The hosts had a good chance to equalize when their captain Danny Murphy took a free-kick from an excellent position, but he sent his effort wide. Then just a minute before half-time, Agbonlahor received Carlos Cuellar's pass with a silky turn to fox Brede Hangeland, and sent a fantastic swerving shot into the far corner to bag his second goal. One could sense that the game was beyond Fulham even before the first-half was over.

The second half saw the Cottagers try hard to fight their way back into the game with Murphy wielding greater influence over the evening's proceedings. He often won the ball in the middle of the park and fed the forwards with pin-point accuracy. Gera also looked lively and was heavily involved, while Duff worked tirelessly to try and make something happen for his side. However, an airtight Villa defence led by Richard Dunne and ably supported by James Collins had a near flawless day at the office.

Some fifteen minutes into the second half, Gera was set up by Murphy and produced a decent effort but was denied by Friedel. In the 75th minute, a well executed cross by Gera was met with an incredible volley by substitute David Elm, but he was correctly ruled offside and his efforts bore no fruit. Bjorn Helge Riise, who was brought on in place of Stephen Kelly, caused chaos in the Villa box with his cross. It was, however, finally dealt with by Dunne, for what seemed like the hundredth time this night, and went out for a corner.

No one can blame Roy Hodgon's team for not trying, but a clearly superior Aston Villa went home with a well deserved three points. Martin O'Neill will be pleased that a recent dry spell for his club has come to an end, and will hope that his side can replicate this form in their following fixtures. Tonight's result has sent Aston Villa to sixth place, while Fulham have dropped out of the top ten in the League table.


Aston Villa: Friedel, Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, L. Young, Downing, Milner, Petrov, A. Young, Heskey, Agbonlahor.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Kelly (Riise 74'), Smalling, Hangeland, Hughes, Davies (Gera 24'), Murphy, Baird, Duff, Nevland (Elm 65'), Zamora.

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