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Aston Villa 3 Fulham 0 - Match Report

last updated Saturday 09th November 2002, 8:15 PM
Aston Villa (1) 3 Fulham 1 (0)
Marcus Allback finally made an impact in the Premiership for Aston Villa as he came off the substitutes' bench to send Fulham crashing to a fourth successive league defeat.

The Swedish international has had to be content with only a bit part in manager Graham Taylor's plans since moving from Heerenveen for £2million in the summer.

Fulham striker Luis Boa Morte
Fulham striker Luis Boa Morte gets Fulham's only goal
But an injury to first half goalscorer Juan Pablo Angel gave him his opportunity - and he took it with a vengeance.

Allback restored Villa's lead after they had somehow survived a spell of intense pressure and then just for good measure he set up the third goal for Oyvind Leonhardsen.

Fulham may consider themselves unlucky not to have earned a share of the spoils and they often played the more purposeful football with Luis Boa Morte a lively customer who deservedly scored his first Premiership goal of the season.

But Villa boss Graham Taylor has bemoaned his side's luck in matches early this season they have dominated without earning any tangible reward so he will feel little sympathy for the visitors.

Skipper Steve Staunton turned in another impressive performance in defence and deserved his standing ovation when he was substituted because of a knock in the closing stages.

Keeper Peter Enckelman also produced several fine saves to earn his side three precious points but Taylor will know there has to be a distinct improvement if Villa are to climb much further up the table.

But they have at least stopped the rot after the last home performance against Southampton when supporters were calling for Taylor's head.

In terms of quality the opening 45 minutes was one of the poorest seen at Villa Park this season.

Fulham enjoyed the majority of the early possession and it came out of the blue when Villa went ahead through Angel after 19 minutes.

Fulham 'keeper Edwin van der Sar produced a superb save to turn a 20 yard volley around the post from Ian Taylor at full stretch.

But he had no chance from the resulting corner by Mark Kinsella which was flicked on by Taylor to Villa's record signing who headed home at the far post even though van der Sar got a hand to the ball.

Leonhardsen became the first player to be yellow carded for a challenge on the lively Luis Boa Morte.

Mark Delaney started to make more of an impact down the right flank and one low cross just eluded Dion Dublin.

Key moments
20 mins
Juan Pablo Angel opens the scoring
51 mins
Luis Boa Morte grabs an equaliser just after half-time
66 mins
Marcus Allback restores the Villa lead
83 mins
Leonhardsen secures the three points for Villa
Then Jlloyd Samuel burst into the Fulham penalty area after getting past two challenges and his left-footed shot contained plenty of power but was beaten out by van der Sar.

Taylor followed Leonhardsen into the note-book after 40 minutes for a challenge on Martin Djetou.

Fulham did have the ball in the net a minute before the interval through a far post header from Steve Marlet following a cross from Steed Malbranque but it was ruled out for offside.

Villa 'keeper Peter Enckelman, back in the side after serving a one match ban for his sending-off against Southampton, was called into meaningful action for the first time in injury-time.

Boa Morte produced a decent enough left footed effort but the Finnish international was equal to the task.

But after 51 minutes Fulham deservedly got back on level terms through the impressive Boa Morte although there was a slice of good fortune involved.

Steve Finnan's shot was charged down by Samuel but the ball ricocheted to Boa Morte who shrugged off the challenge of Staunton before firing a low left-footed effort into the corner of the net.

Before that Malbranque had squandered a golden chance when he lofted the ball over the bar from eight yards out.

Then after Boa Morte's strike, Enckelman twice kept his side on level terms with excellent saves, turning aside a low effort from Finnan and beating out a pile-driver from half-time substitute Junichi Inamoto.

Match Stats A. Villa

Fulham

Goal attempts 9 8
On Target 5 4
Offsides 0 0
Corners 4 6
Fouls 12 10
Yellows 3 2
Reds 0 0
source: www.sportinglife.com
But Villa somehow rode the storm and after 66 minutes they went back in front through Allback. Samuel started the move with a long ball into the path of Barry who sent over a low cross.

Leonhardsen was first to react and the ball broke off him to Allback who toe-poked his effort past van der Sar from 12 yards out before celebrating in front of the Holte End.

Fulham tried to retaliate and that man Enckelman again earned his spurs with a superb far post save to block Andy Stolcers' volley.

That was a pivotal moment and a minute later Leonhardsen gave Villa breathing space. A deep cross by Barry was headed back by Allback to the Norwegian international who volleyed in from ten yards out.

Aston Villa:
Enckelman, Delaney, Samuel, Mellberg, Staunton (Johnsen 76), Barry, Taylor, Kinsella (Hitzlsperger 62), Leonhardsen, Angel (Allback 45), Dublin.

Subs Not Used: Postma, Moore.

Booked: Leonhardsen, Taylor, Allback.

Goals: Angel 20, Allback 66, Leonhardsen 83.

Fulham:
Van der Sar, Finnan, Melville, Goma, Brevett, Malbranque, Djetou (Inamoto 45), Legwinski, Ouaddou (Stolcers 72), Marlet, Boa Morte (Sava 78).

Subs Not Used: Taylor, Knight.

Booked: Melville, Boa Morte.

Goals: Boa Morte 51.

Att: 29,563 Ref: A D'Urso (Essex).





Source PA Sport by John Curtis

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