Vassell has struggled to reproduce the form he has shown for England and he had been left out of the starting line-up for the previous two games. But his personal drought was finally ended after 67 minutes when he turned home a cross from the outstanding Jlloyd Samuel.
That was the cue for wild celebrations in front of the Holte End and then for good measure the 23--year-old added a second to round off a comprehensivevictory. Fulham started brightly but after the first 10 minutes they seldom produced the form which had lifted them in to fourth spot in the Premiership. Villa dominated proceedings as they took their points tally to 10 from the last four games and they are now well clear of relegation trouble.
Vassell looked sharp and Samuel excelled with his runs forward on the left flank while the home side bossed the midfield. Only Louis Saha looked capable of pulling the game out of the fire for the visitors as speculation continues to mount over a possible move to ManchesterUnited. It required a goal-line clearance from Villa midfielder Lee Hendrie after three minutes to prevent Fulham from taking the lead.
Junichi Inamoto's corner was met by the head of Alain Goma and his effort looked destined for the corner of the net until Hendrie intervened. Villa keeper Thomas Sorensen then produced a superb reflex save to turn over a close-range shot from Steed Malbranque after 12-goal Saha had provided thetelling ball across the area. The home side responded and it was the turn of Edwin Van Der Sar to earn his spurs as he parried a close-range volley from Juan Pablo Angel around the postafter connecting with a chip from Vassell.
Then after 32 minutes the impressive Angel brought the game to life with a typical poacher's finish for his 13th goal of the campaign and his sixth in thelast seven games. Samuel was the creator with a run which took him past the challenges of Malbranque and Moritz Voltz before delivering an inviting low cross - and Angeldid the rest at the far post. Fulham came out for the second half in a positive fashion and Saha tried his luck from 35 yards with a well-struck volley but it flew straight at Sorensen. But Villa quickly retaliated and Vassell came within inches of connecting with a low cross from Gareth Barry which carried just too much pace. Villa midfielder Peter Whittingham had a chance to double his side's lead but Van Der Sar was able to parry his low left-footed drive. Then at the other end the sharp Saha was only a foot wide after quickfire turn and shot from the edge of the Villa penalty area. Villa were forced to make a substitution after 62 minutes when Delaney, who is carrying a knee injury, limped out of the action to be replaced by LiamRidgewell. Then after 67 minutes Villa Park erupted as Vassell scored his first Premiership goal of the season and his first at home since New Year's Day. Samuel was again the creator with a deep centre and Vassell kept his eye on the ball before volleying under the body of Van der Sar.