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Aston Villa 1-1 Fulham Prem32 The Sun

last updated Monday 15th April 2013, 2:33 PM

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Vikki Orvice at The Sun

Aston Villa (0) 1 Fulham (0) 1

FABIAN DELPH has never scored a Premier League goal.

Well, not at the right end.

The midfielder flicked a header into his own net to cancel out Charles N'Zogbia's opener and cost Aston Villa a vital win.

It leaves the Midlanders just three points above the drop zone, with Sunderland playing today and Wigan having two matches in hand.

To make matters worse, Delph - one of the most coveted youngsters in the game when Martin O'Neill signed him from Leeds for £8million in 2009 - then missed the perfect chance to make amends, shooting high over the bar from close range at the other end.

Ironically, the gaffes could not have come from a more committed player.

Before kick-off, the 23-year-old admitted he was prepared to miss the birth of his first child if his girlfriend Natalie's labour was to coincide with any of the team's remaining fixtures.

Last weekend he put in a fine display in the victory over Stoke, despite just three hours' sleep the night before due to illness.

Villa boss Paul Lambert insisted: "He made an honest mistake.

He tried to head the ball away, which is what we asked him to do.

He was just unlucky.

"That point could be absolutely massive for us and pull others right into it.

We've put a lot of pressure on other teams.

"A few games ago there were not as many teams down there as there are now.

I'm not too disappointed with the performance.

We played really well.

" Villa came into this boosted by three wins from their last four fixtures.

Delph saw an early effort blocked by Brede Hangeland while Christian Benteke fired a volley wide on 24 minutes.

N'Zogbia came close two minutes later before Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer made two great saves to deny the French schemer before the break.

But N'Zogbia, back in the starting line-up after being dropped for the previous four games, was finally rewarded on 55 minutes.

Andreas Weimann cut the ball back for N'Zogbia, whose left-foot shot flew into the top corner.

Villa seemed on course for victory.

But in the 66th minute, Bryan Ruiz swung in a corner and, with no Fulham striker in sight, Delph headed the ball past Ashley Westwood on the line.

It was Villa's 60th Premier League goal conceded this season - an unwanted club record.

Delph had a chance to make amends soon after but, when the ball fell to him, he could only blast it high into the stand.

Fulham boss Martin Jol, whose team are virtually secure, said: "I'm happy we have 40 points.

I think Villa would like to swap that with us.

It's a big club but they need a couple of wins.

" As if Villa don't already know that.


ASTON VILLA: Guzan 6, Lowton 7, Vlaar 7, Baker 8, Bennett 6, Westwood 6, Delph 5, Bowery 6 (Holman 5), Weimann 7 (Bent 5), N'Zogbia 8 (Sylla 6), Benteke 6.
Subs not used: Given, Clark, El Ahmadi, Dawkins.

Booked: Sylla.

FULHAM: Schwarzer 7, Riether 6, Senderos 7, Hangeland 7, Richardson 7 (Riise 4), Emanuelson 6, Enoh 6, Karagounis 5 (Petric 6), Duff 3 (Manolev 7), Ruiz 7, Berbatov 7.
Subs not used: Etheridge, Frimpong, Hughes, Rodallega.

Booked: Enoh, Richardson.

REF: P Dowd 6


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