The honours were shared in an entertaining encounter at Villa Park this afternoon.
Mark Hughes made no changes to the eleven that had beaten Newcastle in the previous game. Gerrard Houllier made one change to the side that had served him in the previous game with Agbonlahor coming back into the mix. On the bench for Fulham were their two loan signings Kakuta and Gudjohnsen.
Villa started well and were unlucky to see a goal ruled out when Bent netted after six minutes. The chance coming after Downing went on a run down the left and Schwarzer could only push it away where Bent was lurking to pounce. Thankfully, an eagle-eyed assistant had his flag up for the narrowest of offside decisions.
Seven minutes later though the home side were in front when John Panstil managed to score the third own goal of his career, once again the creator being Downing. The ex-Middlesbrough winger delivering a cross that Pantsil contrived to, under pressure, head into his own net.
Downing was proving to be a thorn in Fulham`s side but the visitors did create some half chances. Sidwell, playing against his former side, saw Freidel gratefully claim a long distance shot at the second attempt. Another chance saw Fulham break three on two but Duffs shot hit a defender before Sidwell drove another effort, from distance, a yard wide of the post.
Half Time – Aston Villa 1 Fulham 0
Villa again started brightly, Agbonlahor unleashing a shot from twenty-five yards that Schwarzer saves and then when Young put Bent through the striker shot wide with his weaker foot.
Seven minutes into the half Fulham were level, Sidwell unleashed another shot from distance, Freidel could only push it out and there was Johnson diving to head it down and over Freidel into the net.
Unfortunately, for Fulham, Villa were to take the lead again when Kyle Walker unleashed a shot from thirty yards out that fairly flew into the bottom corner of Schwarzer`s goal.
Fulham were only behind for six minutes though, drawing level again when Dempsey rose high to powerfully head home a corner from Murphy. As the final whistle beckoned, Fulham could even have won it when a Fulham break saw Murphy engineer a chance for Johnson but Freidel pulled off a good save.
Full Time – Aston Villa 2 Fulham 2
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