|Jimmy Bullard controlled the tempo of Fulham's game against Aston Villa at Villa Park, and made sure the team headed back to SW6 with a point.|
Clint Dempsey Card was given for a foul
John Pantsil Card was given for a foul
Player was substituted for tactical reasons
Fulham got Saturday's game underway on a bitterly cold afternoon in Birmingham and the Whites made a lively start to the game, dominating possession in the opening exchanges.
Clint Dempsey was in the thick of it early on and picked up a booking from Referee Mike Jones after two minutes of play following a late challenge on Gareth Barry.
All the action for the home side during the first half came down the left flank in the form of Ashley Young. After 12 minutes of play the winger muscled past John Pantsil on the left by-line and skipped into the area before Clint Dempsey blocked the winger's path to goal. The home fans called for a penalty but Mike Jones was unmoved.
The home side constantly looked to utilise the pace of Young and Agbonlahor on the break but Fulhams defence coped admirably. Aaron Hughes put in a faultless performance and kept Agbonlahor at bay all afternoon.
After 20 minutes of play Villa's pressure mounted and Gareth Barry looked to have put the home side ahead but his far post header from six yards fell wide of Schwarzer's far post.
Five minutes before the break Villa earned a free-kick 30 yards from goal and Ashley Young's delivery found Steve Sidwell unmarked eight yards from goal. Fortunately the midfielder sent his headed effort over the bar and the score remained level.
Fulham had two efforts on goal during the first period of play and almost grabbed the lead right before the break. Brad Friedel was untroubled by Simon Davies early effort from distance but was required to pull off a first class save to deny Clint Dempsey before the break.
A cross from the left flew across Villa's box and Dempsey beat his marker Laursen to fire in a superb left footed volley. Dipping under the post Friedel stretched to tip the ball over and keep the scores level going into the break.
Villa got the second half underway and created their third chance of the game from close range five minutes into the second half but centre back Laursen failed to capitalise. Laursen met Ashley Young's inswinging corner at the near post but sent his headed effort wide six yards from goal.
As the hour mark approached Villa stepped up a gear and Mark Schwarzer was forced to make several first class clearances under pressure as the home side went on the attack. The home crowd were becoming increasingly frustrated by the deadlock as the game wore on but were almost celebrating the opener when Gareth Barry's headed effort hit the cross bar. Ashley Young sent in a pinpoint cross from the left to Barry eight yards from goal. The midfielder sent his effort low to Schwarzer's left but the keeper's instinctive save kept the ball out of the net with the aid of the cross bar.
Fulham almost caught Villa cold on the counter attack 15 minutes from time and Brad Friedel was required to save his side with a superb save to deny Dempsey. Fulham broke with pace and the ball found Dempsey on the right hand side of the area. The Amercian sent in a fierce right-footed drive to the far corner but Villa's keeper was equal to his effort.
In the 83rd John Pantsil was booked for bringing down Ashley Young on the left flank as Villa continued to porbe but there was no way through Fulham's defensive ranks on Saturday afternoon. Five minutes from time Roy Hodgson replaced Zamora with Gera as the Whites comfortably saw out the closing stages to earn another point on their travels.
Competition: Barclays Premier League
Date: Saturday 29 November 2008
Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee: Michael Jones
Line-up: Friedel; Cuéllar, Young; Sidwell; Laursen, Davies; Milner, Petrov; Agbonlahor; Barry, Young
Unused substitutes: Guzan, Knight, Shorey, Gardner, Harewood, Delfouneso, Williams
Line-up: Schwarzer; Pantsil, Konchesky; Murphy; Hangeland, Hughes; Davies, Bullard; Johnson, Zamora (Gera 85'); Dempsey
Unused substitutes: Zuberbühler, Stoor, Kallio, Gray, Etuhu, Nevland
|15||West Ham United||14||17|
|20||West Bromwich Albion||15||11|