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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 December 2005, 21:50 GMT
Fulham 3-3 Aston Villa
Aston Villa came from behind three times to earn a point from a thrilling match at Craven Cottage.

Fulham's Brian McBride struck first but Luke Moore's goal meant the sides were level at 1-1 after 30 minutes.

A Heidar Helguson penalty saw Fulham back in front and when Liam Ridgewell made it 2-2, McBride grabbed his second within a minute to restore the lead.

Ridgewell was not to be outdone and the Villa defender completed his brace after 76 minutes to make it 3-3.

Kick-off was delayed after referee Richard Beeby was injured in the warm-up, with fourth official Andy D'Urso taking his place.

Once the game got underway Fulham started brightly and took the lead when Tomasz Radzinski escaped down the left after 13 minutes and floated the ball across for leading scorer McBride to bullet home a header from near the penalty spot.

Villa levelled after 29 minutes when Milan Baros drifted inside from the right and slipped a neat reverse pass into the run of Moore, who shot across Crossley and into the far corner to make it 1-1.

Villa's celebrations were cruelly cut short three minutes later when Mark Delaney was harshly adjudged to have brought down Radzinski in the area despite the Villa player appearing to win the ball.

D'Urso initially appeared to indicate a goal kick before giving the penalty on the advice of the assistant referee.

Helguson, so cool against Chelsea from the spot, once again had ice in his veins as he waited for Thomas Sorsensen to move before rolling the ball to the Dane's left to make it 2-1.

Villa equalised for the second time soon after the re-start when James Milner whipped in an enticing cross and Ridgewell reacted quickly to beat Crossley to the ball and poke it through his legs.

After their first-half disappointment Villa should have been on red alert for a swift Fulham reply, but the hosts were back in front after 57 seconds.

Luis Boa Morte flung across a deep cross and McBride planted his feet before sending the ball looping back over Sorensen and into the far corner for his eighth league goal of the season.

Villa equalised for the third time after 76 minutes when Milner crossed from the left and Ridgewell was on hand once again to score from all of a yard.

McBride could have won it in injury-time for the hosts but his shot drifted just past the far post.


  • Aston Villa assistant manager Roy Aitken:
    "We're a bit disappointed we didn't get the whole three points. The thing that cost us the three points was a major decision by the referee.

    "The only person who seemed to think it was a penalty was the linesman because Andy (the referee) signalled two or three times it was not a penalty."

  • Fulham assistant manager Steve Kean:
    "If you score five goals in two games you should have more than one point, so we're disappointed. I don't think we dealt with the quality of James Milner's crosses.

    "We've got to settle. We get a bit nervous and give the ball away too cheaply which invites wave after waves of attack."


    Fulham: Crossley, Leacock (Niclas Jensen 57), Knight, Bocanegra, Rosenior, Christanval, Legwinski (Elrich 78), Boa Morte, Radzinski, McBride, Helguson (John 84).
    Subs Not Used: Warner, Pearce.

    Goals: McBride 13, Helguson 32 pen, McBride 61.

    Aston Villa: Sorensen, Hughes, Delaney, Ridgewell, Bouma (Bakke 76), Milner, McCann, Davis, Barry, Baros, Moore (Angel 70).
    Subs Not Used: Taylor, Whittingham, Gardner.

    Booked: Baros, Moore, Hughes, Ridgewell.

    Goals: Moore 29, Ridgewell 60, 76.

    Att: 20,446.

    Ref: A D'Urso (Essex).




  • WATCH AND LISTEN
    Interview: Aston Villa's Liam Ridgewell


    Interview: Fulham assistant manager Steve Kean


    Interview: Aston Villa assistant boss Roy Aitken



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