Saturday 2 February 2002, 3:00pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
Aston Villa

41' Yellow Card

Louis Saha Card was given for a foul

63' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Bjarne Goldbaek
Off:Zat Knight

40' Yellow Card

Mustapha Hadji Card was given for a foul

69' Yellow Card

George Boateng Card was given for a foul

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Hassan Kachloul
Off:Juan Pablo Angel

85' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Steve Stone
Off:Lee Hendrie

Fulham put in a solid defensive display to hold high-flying Aston Villa to a goalless draw at Craven Cottage on Saturday afternoon.
Aston Villa fans were left to rue to absence of John Gregory as their team had to settle for a frustrating 0-0 draw at Fulham's Craven Cottage on Saturday.

While the visiting supporters continued to vent their fury over the manager's departure on chairman 'Deadly' Doug Ellis, Gregory's influence was clearly evident at Pride Park as struggling Derby beat Tottenham 1-0 in his first match in charge.

The first half at Fulham was noteable only for Villa goalkeeper Peter Enckelman's smart parry from Louis Saha's close-range attempted lob in the 34th minute.

The second period was far more entertaining, with Zat Knight's thrashed 22-yard drive shaving the Villa post early on and Cottagers keeper Edwin van der Sar making a great block from Darius Vassell after his one-two with Juan Pablo Angel.

Fulham's Barry Hayles also lobbed the ball onto the roof of the Villa net and Vassell summed up the poor finishing on display when he shot straight at van der Sar when clean through late on.

John Deehan and Stuart Gray took temporary charge of Villa again on the banks of the River Thames.

The caretaker duo - standing in until Gregory's full-time successor is appointed - were dealt an injury blow as goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was ruled out for a second match with a finger problem.

Finnish international Enckelman continued to deputise for him, in the side that included striker Darius Vassell, back after suffering a stomach upset in midweek.

For the hosts, Lee Clark missed out again with the Achilles problem which has sidelined him since Boxing Day - while broken nose victim Sean Davis faces another week on the sidelines.

The visitors made an encouraging start - but the vocal travelling supporters were far more concerned with calling for the head of Ellis.

Colombian forward Angel sliced wastefully wide from seven yards, after Paul Merson's midfield industry had created a crossing opportunity for Mustapha Hadji.

The home side came into the game mid-way through the first half, with Alain Goma thumping a powerful header over the crossbar from a Steed Malbranque corner.

And a swift move by the Cottagers came agonisingly close to their opener in the 34th minute.

Knight lofted the ball into the Villa box and Steve Marlet headed it into the path of Louis Saha. Last season's top-scorer tried to lob Enckelman, but the keeper just managed to palm the ball away.

Referee Matt Messias continued the clampdown on diving just before ther interval as Saha threw himself theatrically to the ground under a challenge from Mellberg on the edge of the Villa area. The Frenchman was booked.

Two minutes after the break, Knight emphasised Fulham's determination to move their game up a gear as he let rip with a 22-yard strike and forced Enckelman to make a fine diving save, tipping the ball onto his left-hand post.

But Villa hit back three minutes later with Vassell and Angel combining neatly to put the former through on goal. Van der Sar made a brilliant block with his legs.

It seemed the deadlock was about to be broken in the 68th minute when Hayles had a clear shooting opportunity 16 yards from goal. However, Enckelman made an excellent save and Mark Delaney crucially stepped in to clear the loose ball behind for a corner. The home fans' frustration was increasing by the minute - and their feelings were heightened when Hayles chased after a monstrous van der Sar clearance and lobbed Enckelman, only for the ball to land on the roof of his net.

Vassell had a wonderful chance eight minutes from time when Merson skilfully played him into space behind the Fulham back four.

But, in keeping with the finishing on display this afternoon, he shot tamely straight at van der Sar.

Enckelman made a great block at the feet of Hayles in the last minute.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 2 February 2002
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 20,041

Referee: Matt Messias


Line-up: Van der Sar; Finnan, Knight (Goldbaek 63'), Melville, Harley; Marlet, Goma, Legwinski, Malbranque; Hayles, Saha

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Ouaddou, Trollope, Willock

Aston Villa

Line-up: Enckelman; Delaney, Mellberg, Staunton, Samuel; Hendrie (Stone 85'), Merson, Boateng, Hadji; Angel (Kachloul 77'), Vassell

Unused substitutes: Henderson, Wright, Dublin

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Manchester United 26 51
2 Newcastle United 25 49
3 Arsenal 25 48
4 Liverpool 25 46
5 Chelsea 25 43
6 Leeds United 24 42
7 Aston Villa 25 37
8 Tottenham Hotspur 25 32
9 Charlton Athletic 24 32
10 Fulham 24 32
11 West Ham United 25 31
12 Ipswich Town 25 30
13 Southampton 25 30
14 Everton 25 28
15 Sunderland 25 28
16 Middlesbrough 23 26
17 Blackburn Rovers 25 25
18 Bolton Wanderers 25 25
19 Derby County 25 22
20 Leicester City 25 17
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Steve Finnan
  • 16Zat Knight
  • 4Andy Melville
  • 7Jon Harley
  • 7Steve Marlet
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 18Sylvain Legwinski
  • 14Steed Malbranque
  • 15Barry Hayles
  • 20Louis Saha
  • 12Maik Taylor
  • 25Abdeslam Ouaddou
  • 19Bjarne Goldbaek
  • 29Paul Trollope
  • 33Callum Willock
Aston Villa (4-4-2)
  • 1Peter Enckelman
  • 2Mark Delaney
  • 4Olof Mellberg
  • 11Steve Staunton
  • 31Jlloyd Samuel
  • 17Lee Hendrie
  • 10Paul Merson
  • 6George Boateng
  • 20Mustapha Hadji
  • 8Juan Pablo Angel
  • 22Darius Vassell
  • 39Wayne Henderson
  • 3Alan Wright
  • 18Steve Stone
  • 30Hassan Kachloul
  • 9Dion Dublin