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Aston Villa 1-0 Fulham Prem28 Daily Telegraph

last updated Tuesday 13th March 2012, 12:27 PM
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David McVay at Daily Telegraph

Aston Villa (0) 1 Fulham (0) 0

Aston Villa stood on the brink of a historic milestone on Sunday.

Thankfully a trio of rookie substitutes teamed up to prevent it and allow Alex McLeish more time to establish his own legacy at the famous old West Midlands club.

During the Villa manager's nine months tenure he has seldom enjoyed a harmonious relationship with supporters who have been as critical of his tactics as much as his roots, having previously managed second city rivals Birmingham City.

This would have been Villa's eighth home game without a victory but for Andreas Weimann's dramatic late intervention, thus emulating a record dating back 91 years.

The last time Villa were so inept at home, Liberal PM Lloyd George headed a coalition government dependant on a Conservative majority and for much of this meandering encounter, destiny seemed intent on securing a perverse symmetry of sorts.

However, with seconds remaining, a pass from Barry Bannan created space for Gary Gardner whose fierce left foot shot was fumbled by Mark Schwarzer and even though the Fulham goalkeeper denied Weimann's rebound header, the 20-year Austrian scrambled the ball over the line for his first senior goal.

"I knew at some stage we must get this boy involved because he is prolific," said McLeish of the former Rapid Vienna youngster who has scored two hat-tricks in recent reserve games after returning from a second loan spell with Watford.

"He's a hungry young man who links up well, he's not just a trick in the box.

" Indicative of the precarious rapport he endures with the terraces, the Scot was booed and told he was clueless when Charles N'Zogbia made way for his pivotal replacement.

"You will get that but sometimes these substitutions come off," added the Villa manager.

"But I'll take it on the chin.

" The impressive Marc Albrighton had earlier seen a right foot shot bounce off the top of the crossbar though Fulham captain Danny Murphy's half time withdrawal with two stitches in a bruised cheekbone following an aerial tussle with Stephen Ireland scarcely helped the Londoners' cause.

Still they were a shadow of the side that had won their last three league games and Damien Duff's left foot effort that clipped the outside of a post was a close as they came.

Aston Villa Given, Hutton, Cuellar, Collins, Warnock, Albrighton, Herd (Bannan 82), Petrov (Gardner 90), N'Zogbia (Weimann 71), Ireland, Agbonlahor.
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Heskey, Lichaj, Baker.

Booked: Petrov, Herd.

Goals: Weimann 90.

Fulham Schwarzer, Kelly, Senderos, Hangeland, John Arne Riise, Duff, Dembele, Murphy (Diarra 46), Dempsey, Pogrebnyak, Johnson (Ruiz 67).
Subs Not Used: Stockdale, Baird, Orlando Sa, Etuhu, Davies.

Att: 32, 372

Ref: Jon Moss (W Yorkshire).

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