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Fulham beat Aston Villa again- Match Report FA Cup 3rd Rnd

last updated Friday 01st January 2021, 6:29 PM
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Match Report

Fulham (0) 2-1 (0) Aston Villa -

FA Cup 3rd Round 1920 at Craven Cottage

Saturday 4th January 2020    KO: 15:00pm

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

Midfielder Harry Arter
Harry Arter
Harry Arter
His Wiki page
Harry Arter had not scored since November 2017 and nor, by any measure, had he been a roaring success since joining Fulham on loan from Bournemouth in August.

The impression has been one of a career in decline and when he replaced Kevin McDonald in the 72nd minute for his first appearance since a calf injury in mid-October there was little expectation he might avert the outcome nobody wanted.

Within 120 seconds Arter, receiving Stefan Johansen’s square pass 25 yards out, took a touch and beat Orjan Nyland all ends up with a scorching, dipping left-footer that may not be bettered all weekend.

It ensured a goal of similar merit by Anthony Knockaert, cancelled out by Anwar El Ghazi, was not in vain and handed Fulham the minor scalp of Aston Villa in a tie that improved immeasurably after an awful opening period.

“Both goals were pretty special,” said the Fulham manager, Scott Parker, before settling on Arter’s as his slight favourite.

Fulham Striker Anthony Knockaert
Fulham Striker
Anthony Knockaert
Anthony Knockaert
His Wiki page
Arter happens to be his brother-in-law, but it was a fair call: the shot had found the one spot Villa’s keeper had no chance of reaching and may also have the longer-term effect of kick-starting the midfielder back into form.

“It’s a big shame he had a bit of a setback with injury, but he’s a character and we all understand the player we’ve got,” said Parker, who also added that Bournemouth have no option to recall Arter this month.

“It’s moments like this, for Harry and the team, that you need to build on and get a bit of a lift.”

Parker now hopes Arter can help wrench Fulham back out of the Championship.

They had succeeded in a similar quest the last time these clubs met, winning the play-off final in May 2018, and although their respective fortunes have made 180 degree turns since then it is perfectly feasible that they may switch places again in four months’ time.

Match Stats Fulham Aston Villa
Goals (0) 2 1 (0)
Scorers Knockaert 54 El Ghazi 63
Arter 74
Goal attempts 17 9
On target 5 3
Shooting Accuracy 29% 33%
Possession 57% 43%
Passes 556 422
Passes Success 83% 81%
Crosses 20 15
Crosses Success 25% 13%
Corners 3 3
Tackles 14 6
Tackles Success 71% 50%
Saves 2 3
Fouls 9 9
Offsides 3 4
Yellows 3 3
Reds 0 0
source: SkySports
That possibility was at the front of both managers’ minds, Parker making six changes from Fulham’s previous league outing and the Aston Villa manager, Dean Smith, nine, and the result was a game whose general level of quality was wildly at odds with the goals that settled it.

Knockaert’s strike, nine minutes into the second half, came as a blessed relief.

There had barely been a chance to speak of until Marek Rodak saved from an unmarked El Ghazi just before half-time; almost anything that occurred after the restart would constitute an improvement and Knockaert, a loan signing from Brighton and another player whose stint at Fulham had yet to ignite, quickly delivered.

He had already arrowed a shot just wide when the ball reached him on the right touchline with open grass to exploit.

Marvelous Nakamba’s presence required him to check inside and, moving away from goal, seek a shooting angle a few yards outside the D. His effort flew across Nyland and prompted Parker to wonder whether he, too, might be clicking at the right time.

“We brought him in and he’s got off to a slowish start,” he said. “But in the last three games you’ve seen the Knockaert we’re more familiar with.”

Given the visitors’ hectic schedule, the next instalment of which is a League Cup semi-final first leg at Leicester on Wednesday, it was fair to wonder what kind of Villa we would see after they went behind.

A replay was at the bottom of their wishlist but they did rally and El Ghazi equalised after Jonathan Kodjia, capitalising on a missed clearance by Michael Hector, knocked the ball past Rodak.

It looked as if Villa might effect a complete turnaround but Arter then unleashed his thunderbolt.

Smith was keen to highlight the poverty of the overall spectacle and his lack of apology for fielding a second-string side came with a measure of regret.

“For whatever reason it’s lost its sparkle and it wasn’t top of our priorities,” he said of the FA Cup.

There is an element of chicken-and-egg about that attitude but, on a week when Villa lost Tom Heaton and Wesley to long-term injuries, he could be forgiven for feeling distracted. Fulham, for their part, hope this win has recharged two key players for the season’s business end.

Fulham: Rodak, Christie, Hector, Mawson, Odoi, Onomah (Stansfield 82), McDonald (Arter 72), Johansen, Knockaert, Cavaleiro (De La Torre 84), Bryan

Unused substitutes: Bettinelli, O'Riley, Harris, Jasper

Knockaert 54 (left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Joe Bryan.)
Arter 74 (left footed shot from outside the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Stefan Johansen.)

Booked: McDonald (47,f), Knockaert (88,f), Hector (90+7,arg),

Aston Villa: Nyland, El Mohamady, Engels, Chester, Taylor, Lansbury, Nakamba (Vassilev 80), Hourihane, Jota (Trezeguet 76), Kodjia, El Ghazi (Ramsey 86)

Unused substitutes: Kalinic, Ngoyo, Guilbert, Hause

El Ghazi 63 (right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jonathan Kodjia.)

Booked: Nakamba (6,f), Taylor (21,f), Lansbury (90+6,arg),

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)

Attendance: 12,980

Source Nick Ames at The Guardian
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