Wednesday 28 December 2005, 7:45pm at Craven Cottage, London
Barclays Premier League
Fulham FC
McBride 13', 61'; Helguson (pen) 32'
Aston Villa
Moore 29'; Ridgewell 60', 76'

13' Goal

Brian McBride

32' Penalty

Heidar Helguson

61' Goal

Brian McBride

57' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Niclas Jensen
Off:Dean Leacock

78' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Ahmad Elrich
Off:Sylvain Legwinski

84' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Collins John
Off:Heidar Helguson

29' Goal

Luke Moore

60' Goal

Liam Ridgewell

76' Goal

Liam Ridgewell

32' Yellow Card

Milan Baros Card was given for a foul

67' Yellow Card

Luke Moore Card was given for a foul

81' Yellow Card

Aaron Hughes Card was given for a foul

86' Yellow Card

Liam Ridgewell Card was given for a foul

70' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Juan Pablo Angel
Off:Luke Moore

Fulham and Aston Villa served up a spectacular encounter at Craven Cottage on Wednesday evening as the Whites took the lead three times before allowing the visitors back into the game.

Fulham’s injury-hit side were dealt another blow before the game when Alain Goma joined Steed Malbranque, Papa Bouba Diop and Claus Jensen on the treatment table.  With Goma missing, Carlos Bocanegra returned to the starting line-up.

Fulham were not the only ones to be feeling the brunt of the hectic festive schedule as Referee Beeby pulled up during his pre-match warm-up routine.  The official’s injury delayed the Kick Off by ten minutes.

Backed by a vociferous Craven Cottage crowd, the Whites got off to a flying start, keeping the visitors under persistent pressure during the opening stages of the encounter.  With both Brian McBride and Heidar Helguson giving Villa back line plenty to think about, Fulham’s attacking midfielders were able to take advantage and join in with the front men on a regular basis.

Despite Fulham’s positive opening, Villa caused the first flutter when Luke Moore was allowed to shoot from ten yards.  Thankfully for the Whites, the young Villa striker fired high and over.

Fulham took the lead in the 12th minute through a typical Brian McBride goal.  Luis Boa Morte fed the ball into the path of Radzinski, who streaked away from his marker before chipping in a delicate cross.  The ball was too high for the leaping Helguson, but McBride was following up to nod home.

Villa fought back immediately and almost equalised when a Wilfred Bouma shot took a wicked deflection and sailed wide of the post.

A wonderful one-touch passing move from Fulham on the edge of Villa’s area almost freed Radzinski on 20 minutes as Fulham continued to look dangerous. 

But Villa soon hit back on 28 minutes after Fulham surrendered possession on the left and Baros set off on a run across the face of Fulham’s defence.  Zat Knight’s deep position behind the line of his fellow defenders allowed Moore to run through and receive Baros’ diagonal pass.  The Villa academy graduate made no mistake from close range.

The scores were only level for a few minutes before Radzinski was brought down by Delaney.  The referee initially ruled no penalty but, after consulting his assistant, who had a better view, he pointed to the spot.

Heidar Helguson stepped up and, for the second time in two games, calmly rolled the ball to the keeper’s wrong side.

Once more, Villa came back and could have netted a second equaliser when McCann managed to get his knee to a cross that evaded Crossley only to see the ball bounce off the post.

Fulham continued to press for the third as the first half drew to a close and Brian McBride was just inches away from connecting when Helguson flicked his header on.

The second half got under way at a ferocious pace. Villa, no doubt with the harsh words of manager David O’Leary ringing in their ears, started with real purpose.  However, Heidar Helguson should have further extended Fulham’s lead when Dean Leacock sent him through on goal with only the keeper to beat.  Unfortunately, the Icelandic striker ran the ball into Sorensen.

Villa equalised just before the hour mark when Liam Ridgewell ran into the space between Niclas Jensen and Carlos Bocanegra and prodded the ball under Crossley.

Fulham were not to be denied however, as they went straight up the other end and retook the lead with a glorious McBride header from Boa Morte’s cross.  The American international simply waited for the ball and expertly guided a looping effort over Sorensen.

Villa came close to getting the equaliser on 68 minutes but a last ditch block from Knight cleared the danger.  Sensing blood, O’Leary sent of Juan Pablo Angel.  The change gave the visitors the upper hand as they pressed hard for the equaliser.  There was little surprise when the leveller eventually came as Villa had kept Fulham on the ropes for long periods.

The game continued to balance on a knife edge thereafter and although both sides threatened, the stakes were too high for either Fulham or Villa to risk committing too much in attack.  

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Wednesday 28 December 2005
Kick-off: 7:45pm

Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Attendance: 20,446

Referee: Andy D'Urso


Line-up: Crossley; Leacock (Jensen 57'), Knight, Bocanegra, Rosenior; Radzinski, Christanval, Legwinski (Elrich 78'), Boa Morte; McBride, Helguson (John 84')

Unused substitutes: Warner, Pearce

Aston Villa

Line-up: Sørensen; Delaney, Ridgewell, Hughes, Bouma; Milner, Barry, Steven Davis, McCann; Baros, Moore (Angel 70')

Unused substitutes: Taylor, Whittingham, Berson, Gardner

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 19 52
2 Manchester United 19 41
3 Liverpool 16 34
4 Tottenham Hotspur 19 34
5 Wigan Athletic 19 34
6 Arsenal 18 32
7 Bolton Wanderers 17 31
8 Manchester City 19 27
9 West Ham United 19 26
10 Newcastle United 18 25
11 Blackburn Rovers 18 24
12 Charlton Athletic 17 22
13 Aston Villa 19 21
14 Fulham 19 20
15 Middlesbrough 18 20
16 West Bromwich Albion 19 19
17 Everton 18 17
18 Portsmouth 19 14
19 Birmingham City 18 13
20 Sunderland 18 6
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Mark Crossley
  • 22Dean Leacock
  • 6Zat Knight
  • 3Carlos Bocanegra
  • 17Liam Rosenior
  • 13Tomasz Radzinski
  • 19Philippe Christanval
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 20Brian McBride
  • 10Heidar Helguson
  • 12Tony Warner
  • 33Niclas Jensen
  • 35Ian Pearce
  • 27Ahmad Elrich
  • 15Collins John
Aston Villa (4-4-2)
  • 29Thomas Sørensen
  • 2Mark Delaney
  • 19Liam Ridgewell
  • 18Aaron Hughes
  • 3Wilfred Bouma
  • 11James Milner
  • 6Gareth Barry
  • 12Steven Davis
  • 8Gavin McCann
  • 9Milan Baros
  • 8Luke Moore
  • 13Stuart Taylor
  • 7Peter Whittingham
  • 16Mathieu Berson
  • 26Craig Gardner
  • 9Juan Pablo Angel