English Premiership

Villa remain in drop zone

2013-04-13 19:04
Charles N'Zogbia (AP Photo)

Birmingham - Aston Villa were forced to settle for just a point in their battle against relegation as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Fulham on Saturday.

Charles N'Zogbia handed Villa the lead 10 minutes after half-time only for Fabian Delph to put through his own net on 66 minutes as the hosts' defensive frailties saw their run without a clean sheet extended to 21 outings.

The result left Villa in 16th place, three points above the drop zone with fellow strugglers Sunderland set to face Newcastle in Sunday's Tyne-Wear derby.

Wigan, in 18th spot, are on FA Cup duty against Millwall later on Saturday, leaving Roberto Martinez's men with two games in hand.

N'Zogbia was the only change from Paul Lambert's side that won 3-1 at Stoke last weekend, as he was drafted in to replace the injured Gabriel Agbonlahor, and the Frenchman made his presence felt by forcing Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer into two fine first-half saves.

Christian Benteke and Dimitar Berbatov were guilty of spurning opportunities at either end in the opening period, with the latter then coming within inches of putting Fulham ahead five minutes after half-time.

The Bulgarian striker latched onto a Bryan Ruiz pass before shooting against the outside of the post despite suspicions of offside.

Villa capitalised on their good fortune five minutes later as N'Zogbia pounced on Andreas Weimann's half-cleared cross to curl past the despairing Schwarzer for just his second goal of the campaign.

The hosts' advantage proved to be short-lived though as the unfortunate Delph inadvertently steered a Ruiz corner beyond Brad Guzan to hand Fulham an equaliser on 66 minutes.

Mladen Petric fired wide as the visitors went in search of a winning goal, while Benteke missed a late chance to snatch all three points for Villa as he fired into the side-netting when well positioned.

Read more on:    fulham  |  aston villa  |  english premiership  |  soccer
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