0 users online

Fulham 1-0 Aston Villa Prem08 1213 The Sun

last updated Monday 22nd October 2012, 10:51 AM

The Sun Logo
David Coverdale at SunSport

Fulham (0) 1 Aston Villa (0) 0

They may have to start calling it Fortress Fulham.

Martin Jol is beginning to build something quite special down by the Thames.

The Dutchman gloated that visiting teams do not like coming to Craven Cottage in his programme notes.

And having taken 32 of 42 points at home in 2012, nobody is going to argue otherwise.

Only Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City have won more in front of their own fans this year.

The Cottagers' only dropped points this season came against the champions - and even then Roberto Mancini's men were run close.

After goalfests against West Brom and Norwich, the home fans were kept waiting this time.

But they were not complaining as Chris Baird capped his 200th league appearance with just the third goal of his Fulham career.

The Northern Ireland star - 'Bairdinho' to his fans - nipped in front of Fabian Delph and Eric Lichaj to poke home John Arne Riise's corner and rocket Fulham up to eighth.

Boss Jol said: "We've talked about it with Chris.

He's very good at attacking the near post, but never scores.

"It was probably the worst corner ever but because he attacked the ball he can score.

"It's not always about delivery.

It's about being at the end of it."

Jol had to do without Damien Duff, who fell ill before the game, and Bryan Ruiz who was crocked on duty with Costa Rica.

But with Hugo Rodallega, Mladen Petric and Dimitar Berbatov available, Jol went for a three-man attack that had not even played together in training.

Darren Bent, who Jol signed for Tottenham, was back in the Villa starting line-up.

But there was only one winner in the battle of the former Spurs frontmen.

Berbatov was a class apart and at the heart of every Cottagers move.

He drew Brad Guzan into the first save after three minutes with a sharp shot from the left.

And then some neat flicks and tricks led to Kieran Richardson, on his home debut, firing at Guzan who did well to clear.

Villa could not contain the Bulgarian and Petric should have done better than head wide from Berbatov's ball into the box.

Paul Lambert's men showed little early promise and their diamond formation offered little width.

John Arne Riise was a useful outlet for the hosts and swung in some dangerous crosses - Petric heading one straight at Guzan and Rodallega nodding wide with another.

The only threat Villa posed was through Gabby Agbonlahor who twice worked himself into decent positions but never threatened.

And strike partner Bent barely had a kick and it looked like Lambert had given his troops a half-time hairdryer as they came out looking a different side.

Berbatov was seeing less of the ball but as both sides began to ring the changes, the most sparkling substitute was Fulham debutant Ashkan Dejagah.

The Iranian gave an inspirational 20-minute cameo and his strike brought the corner that led to Baird's late winner.

Christian Benteke missed from six yards as Villa - now 13 away games without a win in the league - tried to rally.

Lambert said: "It was disappointing to lose from a set-piece when we coped really well throughout the game.

"I won't have a blame culture but as a team we never dealt with it."

Source .
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"