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Fulham and Aston Villa Cancel Each Other Out In Tight Season Opener
In the 23rd minute Heskey put Bent through who slid the ball into the back of the net only to see the linesmans flag raised to cancel out the goal.
After 26 minutes an Nzogbia cross from the right was sent over the bar by a Heskey header when he could have done better.
Following a Riise free kick Dempsey found himself in space in the box and only a tremendous defensive block from Warnock stopped Fulham from taking the lead in the 29th minute.
In the 36th minute Warnock played a free kick out wide right to Nzogbia who crossed only to see Collins miss a free header from 8 yards out.
Villa continued to press and after a short Warnock free kick to Petrov the Villa skipper saw his powerful drive go just over the bar in the 38th minute.
The last five minutes of the first half saw Fulham start to get a grip on the game and in the 40th minute a Johnson shot from the left produced a good Given save.
On the stroke of half time Duff did well to create space on the right and he went on to cut inside and fire over Givens crossbar.
Villa impressed in the first half with Fabian Delph stroking some majestic passes across the midfield and Heskey was always a handful for the Fulham defence.
The second half was a different story with Fulham showing their intent by dominating the first 25 minutes. Fulham were fast out of the blocks and in the 46nd minute Zamora should have opened the scoring but Given was on hand with a fine save.
Riise started to rise to the occasion of his BPL Fulham debut by making some good runs and crosses down the left. In the 49th minute Riise again made a good run and cross only to see Zamora present Given with an easy save after out jumping Wanock at the back post.
Murphy, Dempsey and Riise were all impressive for Fulham during this period and an incisive Murphy through ball saw Zamora cut inside and forced another great save from Given in the 63rd minute.
A minute later a half chance for Johnson produced an easy save for Given when he could have done better.
In the 69th minute a Villa break down the left from Warnock ended in a Warnock cross that Schwarzer did well to prevent reaching the goal hungry boots of Darren Bent.
Five minutes later Bent did well to cut the ball back from the byline only to see Albrightons shot hit the side netting.
The game levelled out for the remaining 15 minutes with both teams probing without creating any real cutting edge chances.
Aston Villa just edged the first half but Fulham pressed hard for a winner in the 2nd period only to meet the impenetrable barrier of Shay Given deny them the 3 points.
Fulham vs Aston Villa Aug 13th 2011
Fulham vs Aston Villa Aug 13th 2011
Aston Villa just edged the first half but Fulham pressed hard for a winner in the 2nd period only to see the impenetrable barrier of Shay Given deny them the 3 points.
Alex McLeish will be happy with the point as Villa played a steady if unspectacular start to the season. Martin Jol will reflect on missed chances and maybe demand his strikers sharpen up after drawing a blank for Fulham in this Craven Cottage opener.
Aston Villa Rating:
Fulham Line Up
GK Mark Schwarzer
RB Aaron Hughes
LB John Arne Riise
CH Philippe Senderos
CH Brede Hangeland
RM Clint Dempsey
LM Damien Duff
CM Danny Murphy
CM Dickson Etuhu
CF Andrew Johnson
CF Bobby Zamora*
Sub Neil Etheridge
Sub Chris Baird
Sub Matthew Briggs
Sub Steven Kelly
Sub Steve Sidwell
Sub Pajtim Kasami
Sub Moussa Dembele*
Aston Villa Line Up
GK Shay Given
RB Luke Young
LB Stephen Warnock
CH Richard Dunne
CH James Collins
RM Charles N'Zogbia**
LM Gabriel Agbonlahor
CM Stylian Petrov*
CM Fabian Delph
CF Emile Heskey
CF Darren Bent
Sub Brad Guzan
Sub Ciaran Clark*
Sub Jean Makoun
Sub Marc Albrighton**
Sub Steven Ireland
Sub Nathan Delfouneso
Sub Barry Bannan