Villa hit back with win over sorry Cottagers

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Football News

Gabriel Agbonlahor helped Aston Villa bounce back from their European exit as they easily disposed of Fulham 2-0 to register their first home Barclays Premier League win of the campaign.

The England striker's pressure forced Fulham defender John Pantsil to head into his own net for the opening goal after three minutes.

Then Agbonlahor struck the decisive second goal 14 minutes after the restart - his first of the season - to wrap up the points for Martin O'Neill's side.

It was the perfect pick-up for Villa after failing to qualify for the group stages of the Europa League on Thursday having been beaten on away goals by Rapid Vienna.

The Cottagers struggled to cope with the pace of Agbonlahor and Ashley Young plus the accurate passing of James Milner, while Nigel Reo-Coker and Steve Sidwell offered good support from midfield.

Villa's territorial dominance was such that goalkeeper Brad Friedel was a virtual spectator for the entire 90 minutes and 19-year-old central defender Ciaran Clark was able to make an assured debut.

Fulham looked pedestrian and lethargic after their own European exertions against Amkar Perm in Russia in midweek and they missed the industry of injured midfielder Danny Murphy and front duo Andy Johnson and Bobby Zamora.

Villa were given a helping hand in their opener by former defender Aaron Hughes and Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer.

Hughes sent a careless back pass towards Schwarzer who could only slice the ball out for a corner.

Young's set-piece was flicked on by Carlos Cuellar and Cottagers defender Pantsil could only head the ball into his own net at the near post when under immense pressure from Agbonlahor. The hosts had the better of the chances afterwards and Agbonlahor wrapped up the points with a splendid second, beating Schwarzer with a fierce 20-yard drive.

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John Pantsil
Aaron Hughes
Mark Schwarzer
Bobby Zamora
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Nigel Reo-Coker
James Milner
Premier League
Carlos Cuellar
Ashley Young
Brad Friedel
Aston Villa
Ciaran Clark
Steve Sidwell

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