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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 March 2006, 16:53 GMT
Aston Villa 0-0 Fulham
Villa's Kevin Phillips (right) tussles for the ball with Fulham's Liam Rosenior
Neither side was able to get on top in a scrappy game
Aston Villa and Fulham remain bogged down in the lower reaches of the Premiership table after playing out a drab and uneventful draw.

Lee Hendrie had Villa's best chance in the first half, sending a right-foot volley narrowly over the top.

For Fulham, Steed Malbranque volleyed just wide when well-placed in the opening seconds of the second half.

Malbranque saw another shot gathered at the second attempt by Thomas Sorensen, but neither side looked like scoring.

The point will probably please Fulham more than Villa, although they are still seeking their first away league win this season.

The tone of the game was set early on with both sides struggling to create an opening.

It was not until the 22nd minute that either side seriously threatened, Hendrie's controlled volley flying inches over Mark Crossley's bar with the keeper seemingly beaten.

Villa had the better of the first half and should have taken the lead just before the half-hour mark during a frenzied goalmouth scramble.

Gavin McCann managed to fire in a low effort despite almost standing on the ball - only to see Zat Knight block on the line.

Gareth Barry then tried his luck as the loose ball came to him, only for Volz to block.

The visitors offered little in the opening period, although Steed Malbranque will be disappointed not to have made more of a half-chance during a rare breakaway, the striker's shot being comfortably saved by Sorensen.

Within seconds of the restart, Malbranque had another chance, but his agonised expression as he volleyed wide despite having plenty of time to steady himself inside the area told its own story.

At the other end Steven Davis diverted Wilfred Bouma's cross goalwards at the near post, but Crossley was alert to the danger.

Malbranque's low volley was gathered by Thomas Sorensen at the second attempt as Fulham began to impose themselves on the game.

Fulham looked stronger towards the end, but in truth their play lacked the passion and guile they displayed when beating Chelsea last weekend.


  • Aston Villa boss David O'Leary on fan banners at the ground calling for him to quit:
    "I've been told about the banners. That comes with football now. It can happen to any of us at any time.

    "There were 32,000 people in the ground and the vast majority of them, like myself, want to take Villa forward.

    "We can't complain about the fans today. If there are one or two banners out of 32,000 people, then I am big enough to take that on the chin."

  • Fulham boss Chris Coleman:
    "There was lots of hype after our win over Chelsea last week. It was crucial we didn't fall flat.

    "If we did that then the bubble was going to burst. But we showed the commitment and desire required.

    It was not always pretty and we have played better but we competed as a team and that's all we asked for."


    Aston Villa: Sorensen, De la Cruz, Hughes, Ridgewell, Bouma, Hendrie (Agbonlahor 58), McCann, Davis, Barry, Phillips, Moore (Angel 73).
    Subs Not Used: Taylor, Cahill, Gardner.

    Fulham: Crossley, Volz, Pearce, Knight, Rosenior, Malbranque, Brown, Pembridge, Boa Morte, McBride, John (Radzinski 62).
    Subs Not Used: Warner, Goma, Niclas Jensen, Christanval.

    Att: 32,605

    Ref: L Mason (Lancashire).


  • WATCH AND LISTEN
    Interview: Aston Villa manager David O'Leary


    Interview: Fulham manager Chris Coleman



    SEE ALSO
    Saturday's football photos
    25 Mar 06 |  Photo Galleries


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