0 users online

Fulham 3-1 Aston Villa Cham 43 1617 - Daily Mail

last updated Tuesday 18th April 2017, 11:41 PM

Daily Mail Logo
Adam Shergold at Daily Mail

Fulham (1) 3-1 (0) Aston Villa

Slavisa Jokanovic's Fulham pride themselves on being the Championship's 'Great Entertainers', but at this stage of the season it doesn't matter how the wins come.

This was far from a vintage performance against 10-man Aston Villa but there won't be too many complaints as goals from Ryan Sessegnon, Sone Aluko and Neeskens Kebano kept them firmly in the play-off hunt.

But it wasn't all as straightforward as the scoreline might suggest, and when Jack Grealish scored a screamer just after half-time it looked as though Villa might make light of Jonathan Kodjia's stupid red card for kicking out at Ryan Fredericks.

In the end, Fulham's third consecutive 3-1 victory keeps them on track to prolong their season.

They are playing very well, but Jokanovic will know there are no guarantees, with a tough trip to Huddersfield next followed by a home derby with Brentford and a final day trip to Sheffield Wednesday that could well determine their fate.

Fulham are certainly a team that strive to entertain and their side is packed with youthful, skilful players, three of whom made the difference here in the end.

Initially it looked as though Fulham would miss the cut and thrust of target man Chris Martin, suspended after his red card at Norwich City on Good Friday, with their attacking options here all possessing pace but little variation in style.

They needn't have worried, for their fast show soon had the Villa defence rattled. Scott Malone on the left and Fredericks on the right made the running and their speedsters up front flowed off it.

Aluko drew the first save from Villa keeper Sam Johnstone on 17 minutes and just a few moments later, Fulham had the lead they craved.

It was Fredericks who again stretched Villa on his flank and his cross picked out Sessegnon at the far post. The teenager met it sweetly enough but saw the effort crash back off the crossbar. But with Villa's defenders slow to react, Sessegnon forced it home at the second attempt.

This was the 16-year-old tyro's seventh goal of what has become a breakthrough season, and with that sharpness in front of the target, it's little wonder big clubs are circling.

Having seized the lead, things got even better for Fulham when Kodjia saw red a few minutes later. The Villa forward tried to get beyond Fredericks but was behind play and dragged the Fulham defender down.

Fredericks inadvertently brushed Kodjia with his boot as he hit the turf and the Villa man reacted with an ill-advised kick to the ribs. It was a senseless decision and, after consulting the fourth official, referee David Coote flashed the red card.

Both Villa manager Steve Bruce and their 5,000 travelling fans were furious, though equally with Kodjia's immaturity than the referee's call.

Fulham now had little excuse and they set about a second goal, with a long-range Fredericks effort just clearing the bar, and Tim Ream firing across goal and wide when the ball presented itself inside the Villa box.

At the beginning of the second-half, it was hard to see beyond Fulham, but Villa had other ideas. Grealish was the Sessegnon figure not too long ago, the mercurial talent destined for the very top.

His ascent has been delayed, at best, but he reminded us of his qualities here as he stepped inside onto his right-foot at the corner of the Fulham box and curled a stunning shot beyond Marcus Bettinelli.

Alarm bells were ringing for Fulham and Jokanovic threw on Kebano - his go-to man off the bench when a goal is needed - in place of Malone.

But the panic was unwarranted. From their next attack, Floyd Ayite crossed from the left and Aluko, who'd darted to the near post, acrobatically hooked the ball towards goal. With the aid of a deflection it flashed beyond Johnstone and restored the promotion-chasers' lead.

Aluko would have scored again but for a vital James Bree block right in front of goal and the striker should have done better when well-placed 12 minutes from time.

Kebano is another of Fulham's exciting young players and he made sure of the points when he took in a pass from Stefan Johansen on the right-hand side of the box and drilled a shot into the far corner.

For the first time all afternoon, Fulham could relax. But there is plenty of hard work required yet this season.

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