Premier League
Aston Villa1Fulham2

Aston Villa 1-2 Fulham

Fulham celebrate

Hugo Rodallega's late header consigned Aston Villa to defeat and kept alive Fulham's slim hopes of avoiding Premier League relegation.

Rodallega flicked in Lewis Holtby's cross four minutes from time to move the Cottagers five points from safety.

Kieran Richardson had given Fulham the lead from the edge of the area before Grant Holt headed level.

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Lambert 'angry' after Villa defeat

Matthew Lowton's clearance off the line looked to have denied Fulham victory, only for Rodallega to intervene.

In netting for the first time in the league since January of last year, Rodallega - who scored the goal that kept Wigan up in 2011 - completed the first stage of a revival that Fulham hope will match their escape of 2008.

Six years ago, the Cottagers won four of their final six games to stay in the Premier League on goal difference. Just as then, Fulham travelled to Villa Park with only 24 points from their opening 32 games.

For much of the opening period, Fulham created little to suggest that a repeat would be possible but, on the strength of their second-half showing, deserved their first league victory at Villa since 1973.

However, their situation remains precarious. At 18th in the table, their pursuit of 17th-placed Norwich is made all the harder by a -41 goal difference that is comfortably the worst in the division.

Still, the manner in which they inflicted a 10th home defeat of the season on Villa should provide more belief that they can earn the minimum of three victories they are likely to require from their final five fixtures.

Last weekend, they were level with Everton before sliding to defeat but here they responded to Villa's equaliser with renewed gusto to earn victory in a breathless second half far removed from the ponderous opening period.

With both sides lacking the guile to work goalscoring opportunities, early chances only came through individual brilliance or defensive mistakes - the run of Villa's Leandro Bacuna ended in a low save by David Stockdale, while, at the other end, Cauley Woodrow pounced on a home defensive error to call Brad Guzan into action.

But, with both sides improving after the break - the lively Bacuna forced Stockdale to tip onto the post - Richardson's brilliant strike brought the game to life.

With the ball moved from the right by Ashkan Dejagah, Richardson's first-time, left-footed strike flew past the outstretched hand of Guzan and high into the net.

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Magath 'proud' after Fulham win

Fulham's lead, though, would last for only nine minutes as Holt, recalled after a long-term Achilles tendon injury to Christian Benteke and illness to Gabriel Agbonlahor, marked his return with his first Villa goal.

With marking befitting the worst defence in the Premier League, Fulham left Holt unguarded at the back post from Marc Albrighton's corner, with the on-loan Wigan striker nodding in.

Fulham, though, were not subdued by the Villa equaliser and Holtby should have restored the lead soon after.

On rounding Guzan, the on-loan Tottenham midfielder appeared to have an empty net to roll the ball into, only for Lowton's brilliant last-ditch clearance, with the goalline technology replay confirming that the smallest amount of the ball had not crossed the line.

Still Fulham came and, when Holtby floated in a cross from the right, Rodallega rose to glance in to the far corner and maintain his side's battle for survival.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "Looking at the table and fixtures, there are some real hard games for everyone. You have to go and get over that line as quickly as you can.

"I'd rather be in our position than a lot of teams. You have to look after yourself."

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Line-ups

Aston Villa

  • 1Guzan
  • 34Lowton
  • 3BennettBooked at 59minsSubstituted forTonevat 66'minutes
  • 15WestwoodBooked at 67mins
  • 4Vlaar
  • 2Baker
  • 7Bacuna
  • 23Bertrand
  • 29Holt
  • 12AlbrightonBooked at 90minsSubstituted forBoweryat 90+1'minutes
  • 10Weimann

Substitutes

  • 6Clark
  • 13Steer
  • 14Luna
  • 18Sylla
  • 21Bowery
  • 24Tonev
  • 37Robinson

Fulham

  • 13Stockdale
  • 4HeitingaSubstituted forRiiseat 83'minutes
  • 15Richardson
  • 27Riether
  • 5Hangeland
  • 35Amorebieta
  • 10HoltbyBooked at 87mins
  • 9Diarra
  • 25WoodrowSubstituted forRodallegaat 45'minutes
  • 7SidwellBooked at 84mins
  • 8KasamiSubstituted forDejagahat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Stekelenburg
  • 3Riise
  • 6Kvist
  • 11Kacaniklic
  • 20Rodallega
  • 24Dejagah
  • 26Roberts
Referee:
Michael Oliver
Attendance:
33,532

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamFulham
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home12
Away16
Shots on Target
Home6
Away8
Corners
Home2
Away7
Fouls
Home10
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Fulham 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Fulham 2.

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ryan Bertrand.

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ryan Bertrand.

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ryan Bertrand.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Jordan Bowery replaces Marc Albrighton.

Booking

Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Lewis Holtby (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa).

Foul by John Arne Riise (Fulham).

Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham).

Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Grant Holt (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Andreas Weimann.

Booking

Lewis Holtby (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

Goal!

Goal! Aston Villa 1, Fulham 2. Hugo Rodallega (Fulham) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lewis Holtby with a cross.

Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa).

Booking

Steve Sidwell (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Steve Sidwell (Fulham).

Grant Holt (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ashley Westwood.

Attempt blocked. Lewis Holtby (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Brede Hangeland.

Attempt saved. Hugo Rodallega (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lewis Holtby.

Substitution

Substitution, Fulham. John Arne Riise replaces Johnny Heitinga.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Johnny Heitinga (Fulham) because of an injury.

Foul by Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham).

Grant Holt (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa).

Attempt missed. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross.

Foul by Steve Sidwell (Fulham).

Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Andreas Weimann.

Attempt blocked. Lewis Holtby (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Hugo Rodallega.

Attempt saved. Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.

Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Chelsea3322654172
2Liverpool3222554971
3Man City3122455570
4Arsenal3219761964
5Everton3117951860
6Man Utd33176101857
7Tottenham3217510-456
8Southampton3313911648
9Newcastle3314415-1346
10Stoke33101013-1140
11West Ham3210715-637
12Hull3310617-636
13Aston Villa329716-1334
14Crystal Palace3210418-1634
15Swansea338916-433
16West Brom3261412-1132
17Norwich338817-2632
18Fulham338322-4127
19Cardiff336819-3526
20Sunderland306717-2025
View full Premier League table

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