FT: Aston Villa 1 Fulham 1

Thanks for all your comments today folks! Don't forget, you can always follow me on Twitter: @RazMirza to send me your views so speak to you all soon! Match Report to follow...

Paul Doherty adds: "To be honest, given our home form I'd have taken a draw, three more points keeps us up!"

Jordan Else says: "Great game although I believe we deserved the win since the match stats state that Fulham didn't even have a shot on target, a point will do but we must step it up vs Sunderland and Norwich."

Paul Lambert's men let a lead slip once again this season as it ends in stalemate between Aston Villa and Fulham at Villa Park. Charles N'Zogbia broke the deadlock ten minutes into the second half with a wonderful curler. But Fulham restored parity when Fabian Delph headed into his own net from a corner.

Darren Bent fails to find his strike partner Christian Benteke in the middle.

We're into THREE added minutes of stoppage time at Villa Park.

John Arne Riise comes on for Kieran Richardson as Martin Jol makes his final change.

CHANCE! Brett Holman's cross finds Christian Benteke who turns but fires his right-foot effort into the side netting.

Matt Lowton fails to find Brett Holman's run as we edge towards stoppage time.

Yacouba Sylla is hacked down by Kieran Richardson and the Fulham man goes into Phil Dowd's book.

Jordan Else is back in touch to say: "Glad to see Bent and Benteke up front together, hopefully it happens more often." They have gone to a 4-4-2, although the partnership hasn't flourished when they have played together Jordan.

Matt Lowton's ball into the box is just about punched clear by Mark Schwarzer.

Dimitar Berbatov is penalised for a foul on Yacouba Sylla on halfway.

Berbatov has excelled in loungewear this afternoon and his pass sets Mladen Petric on his way, but Nathan Baker gets back to make a solid tackle.

Meanwhile, Chaz Wilson says: "Sub Delph off! absolute horrorshow these last few minutes." Well, that's not possible Chaz because Paul Lambert has made all his changes.

Nikky Mellor emails in to say: "Hi Raz, a win for villa will lighten the day for me and my boyfriend Daouda Cisse, Milton Keynes, come on Benteke!"

Stan Manolev is well tackled by Joe Bennett, who has had a good game today.

So Bent will partner Benteke in this final quarter. Brett Holman's low drive deflects awat for a corner to the home side.

Darren Bent gets a big cheer as he replaces Andreas Weimann.

Villa have lost at home eight times, more than any other team bar Wigan, who have also lost eight.

SO CLOSE!! Andreas Weimann's cross almost finds Christian Benteke, but it does find Fabian Delph at the back post but he puts his foot through the ball and it lands in the top tier of the Holte End.

Adam Pritchard writes in to defend Joe Bennett: "Raz..I'm a villa fan..always watch your commentary an it's first class..don't fully agree with people messaging in about Bennett..he's a young kid learning his trade..I'm a big Ciaran Clarke fan but he's made costly mistakes with no one commenting about him..Bennett will be much better next season with more experience..UTV."

BAD MISS!! Bryan Ruiz drifts the ball into the box and Mladen Petric can only direct the ball wide of the far post with the goal at his mercy.

Brett Holman is next to come on for Villa replacing Jordan Bowery.

And within 60 seconds, the newcomer Sylla is booked by referee Phil Dowd for a late challenge.

Yacouba Sylla comes on for goalscorer Charles N'Zogbia.

CRUEL BLOW!!! Fulham win a corner and the left-footed inswinger by Bryan Ruiz is flicked into his own net at the near post by Delph, despite the best efforts of Ashley Westwood on the line.


Eyong Enoh is lucky not be shown a second yellow as he goes flying in on Joe Bennett.

Mladen Petric has come on for Fulham. The Croatian has replaced Giorgos Karagounis.

The goalscorer Charles N'Zogbia makes a good run forward, but his pull-back fails to finds an unmarked Christian Benteke on the edge of the area.

Brian Walker says: "Raz, first time that I have come across your commentary. Most enjoyable. To follow up a comment made by a previous e mailer. Bennett has made more mistakes than I care to count and is clearly Villa's worst player for the last two seasons. Can't believe there isn't better player on the ground staff."

Villa are pressing the Fulham backline and the Holte End are thorougly enjoying watching a confident Villa side.

Eyong Enoh is booked by referee Phil Dowd for a late challenge on Joe Bennett.

Jordan Else emails in to say: "What a goal by N'Zogbia, thoroughly deserved considering how well he's played so far today."

CLINICAL FINISH!!! Charles N'Zogbia marks his 50th game for the club with just his second league goal this season. Brede Hangeland's poor clearance falls to the playmaker who cleverly curls his left-footer into the far post past Mark Schwarzer.


Now, Giorgos Karagounis' strike deflects away for a corner which is played short before it comes out to Brede Hangeland who sends his mis-hit shot fly harmlessly wide.

That would have put the cat amongst the pigeons had that gone in. But that was an early second half warning to Villa!

GREAT CHANCE! Bryan Ruiz plays Dimitar Berbatov through, but his right-footer curls onto the far post and away for a goal kick. Replays show that the Bulgarian was standing in an OFFSIDE position when he received the pass.

Ashley Westwood's shot deflects off Brede Hangeland and past the far post for a corner.

Fabian Delph takes a heavy knock after colliding with Stan Manolev.

@DecPierce Tweets: "Enjoying your updates on sky website while doing my radio show! UP THE VILLA!! Going for 2-1 to the Villa."

Andreas Weimann's cross-cum-shot is tipped away from Christian Benteke's reach by that man again - Mark Schwarzer!

There have only been two goals scored in the last three clashes between Villa and Fulham combined and the hosts attack straight away.

Meanwhile, Paul Doherty says: "Hi there. Villa season ticket holder on holiday in Gran Canaria, unable to get the game or live audio commentary, eagerly watching your excellent text commentary. Come on you lions !!!!!" Hope you're enjoying your holiday Paul.

Don't be so pessimistic Jordan. Have some belief in what Paul Lambert is doing at the club! 45 minutes to go at Villa Park as the players come back out.

Jordan Else emails in to say: "Great first half, I think Villa deserved a goal after some of the chances we missed, but I can see an early goal coming in the second half from either team, with Bennett making a couple of mistakes that could of easily led to chances. It wouldn't surprise me if he slipped up again to cost us a goal."

If you'd like to air your views bef during the second half, email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.

Aston Villa are 11/8 to claim victory with our friends @Skybet now, who make Fulham are 3/1 and the draw is 11/8. Villa's last top-flight home defeat by Fulham came in March 1966 when they lost 5-2, so I went for a 2-1 home win, which was priced at 8/1 and is now 12/1. Right-click here SKYBET to open in a new tab and place your bets on this match.

It's stalemate between Aston Villa and Fulham. The hosts have dominated possession and chances with both Charles N'Zogbia and Christian Benteke coming close to breaking the deadlock but 40-year-old shot-stopper Mark Schwarzer has been in excellent form this afternoon.

We're into the TWO added minutes of stoppage time as Andreas Weimann drags his effort wide of the far post.

GOOD SAVE!! Charles N'Zogbia's thunderous drive from the edge of the area is parried over the crossbar by Mark Schwarzer.

CHANCE FULHAM! Urby Emanuelson leaves Jordan Bowery for dead before his pull-back is side-footed wide by Dimitar Berbatov.

At the other end Dimitar Berbatov's right-foot shot is well blocked by Nathan Baker for a corner to the visitors.

Rather worrying news for Villa fans and that is striker Christian Benteke is moving rather awkwardly after taking a knock.

Jordan Else has plenty of respect for goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer: "Have to give it to Schwarzer he's still got it at the age of 40." He's been excellent so far this afternoon Jordan.

It has started raining at Villa Park which should give the surface a bit of zip.

Kieran Richardson loses out on the throw, but it doesn't come to much. Sascha Riether fails to make a run to collect Dimitar Berbatov's pass.

Dimitar Berbatov shrugs his shoulders after failing to receive a pass. The Bulgarian just hasn't had any service so far today.

@rossbuet Tweets: "Sounds like villa are playing some good football. We could do with a goal before half time to calm the nerves." They are indeed Ross and certainly deserve to be ahead on this first-half performance!

The flag is up once again on the near side as Christian Benteke just creeps into an offside position.

Chris Brotherton is back in touch and he says: "If I were a gambling man I'd have a bet on Benteke scoring today after that, he always makes up for it if he misses a sitter." Replays suggest the ball came off his heel to be fair Chris.

SMART SAVE!! Christian Benteke's pull-back is met by Charles N'Zogbia at the near post but 40-year-old Mark Schwarzer makes a fine instinctive save.

Meanwhile, Andreas Weimann comes close to diverting a ball into the box past Mark Schwarzer, but he just stopped his run at a crucial time.

Villa have won just four games at home this season. They do like to play away.

Dimitar Berbatov is being well marshalled by Nathan Baker as he looks to play a one-two with Stan Manolev.

Matt Lowton finds Charles N'Zogbia on the left-edge of the penalty area but his left-foot curler doesn't have enough bend on it.

BAD MISS!!! Christian Benteke misses a sitter for Villa. Andreas Weimann whips the ball in from the left but the club's leading goalscorer can only direct his right-foot effort over the crossbar from just a few yards out. oh dear!

Fulham win a corner and Bryan Ruiz's cross comes out to Eyong Enoh who makes a complete hash of his attempted effort from 30 yards. That was a bit embarrassing!

Moments later Nathan Baker makes a crunching tackle in the middle of the park before Christian Benteke fails to break away from his marker.

Charles N'Zogbia fizzes his low cross from the left in for Jordan Bowery but Mark Schwarzer claims the ball.

Amazing ovation yet again by Villa Park for Stan Petrov. Great support!

Faiz kayani says: "Benteke will score a hat-trick and this game will pan out like the UFC survival edition 46 hopefully for Villa! Come on VILLA."

Suddenly the atmosphere picks up at Villa Park with the Holte End encouring their team forward.

Referee Phil Dowd has a firm word with Charles N'Zogbia after he takes a nibble at Giorgos Karagounis.

At the other end Bulgarian Stan Manolev fails to make proper contact with a deep cross and can only direct the ball well wide of goal.

Mark Schwarzer does well to hold Andreas Weimann's low drive from a tight angle.

Bryan Ruiz doesn't have the legs to catch Stan Manolev's through ball.

Joe Bennett gives the ball away but Eyong Enoh's pass drifts out of play on the far side.

Manolev is already getting involved in the action down the right, but Andreas Weimann soon wins the ball back for the hosts.

Stan Manolev - on loan from PSV Eindhoven comes in in place of the experienced Duff.

That is an early blow for the Cottagers. The 34-year-old was stretching and then grabbed his groin startight away.

Bad news for Fulham here because Damien Duff has gone down holding his groin.

Villa Park is pretty packed this afternoon which is always good to see. Now, Dimitar Berbatov is caught offside.

Paul Lambert is not a big fan of Ireland Brian and he has failed to show the form he was showing at Manchester City a few years back. Martin Jol's side are enjoying a bit of the ball now.

Brian A Cook says: "Bit worried Fulham not beaten us for years. We need a win to ease our worries. Why is Stephen Ireland still missing?"

Fabian Delph's long-range shot is well blocked but the home faithful are appreciating this fast start from their side.

Chris Brotherton emails in to say: "I predict 2-0 Villa, Fulham have struggled to get anything at Villa Park in recent years and with what Villa have on the line were surely gona take it to them. No one in the bottom half is safe and neither are Fulham. I can see them cracking with that 'one more point and were safe' mentality."

Jordan Bowery is beaten by Brede Hangeland to the ball, but the hosts have made a confident start to this match keeping possession.

The hosts have set-up in a 4-2-3-1 system, while Fulham are playing 4-4-2 with Dimitar Berbatov and Bryan Ruiz starting up front together as Martin Jol goes for goals this afternoon. They start the match in 10th place on 39 points.

Villa are wearing their traditional claret and blue kit while Fulham are in their white shirts, black shorts and white socks. The visitors get us underway then.

Gabby Agbonlahor picked up a thigh injury Villa fans, which is why he has not been included in today's matchday squad.

We're minutes away from kick-off, but keep those comments coming in during the game folks. Email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.

Meanwhile, Jordan Else says: "Hey Raz, Huge Villa fan here. I'm very surprised at Agbonlahor not even making the bench but I reckon we can pull off a 2-1 win today as long as we close down Berbatov, with Benteke and Weimann being involved with both goals." I think Gabby picked up a knock, which is why he has not been included in today's squad. I'll get confirmation for you as soon as I can.

Here we go! Villa fans Charles Wilson from Kent says: "Win would be huge for Villa today, although ever so slightly worried about Joe Bennett being in the starting line-up! always guarenteed goals when villa are playing. Let's just hope they get more!"

Great comments coming in before kick-off, but where are all the Villa fans this afternoon? Email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.

Max Cohen writes in to give us a prediction ahead of this clash. He says: "Hi Raz, big Fulham fan here. I reckon we can get a result here for the first time in a long time, but losing Dejagah is a big, big blow. If we can get an early goal and set the tempo we can beat Villa, but we need to be adventurous. We CANNOT sit back and put in our typical away performance like vs Newcastle last week. I fancy 1-2 to us, with Ruiz and Berba scoring. COYW!"

Chris Green from Huddersfield emails in to say: "This match is going to be a cracker as both teams need the points for different reasons... My prediction: Aston Villa 2-2 Fulham."

While @AllyAtherton also lays into Villa by Tweeting: "Hopefully they will get battered by Fulham! (For Wigan's sake anyway)."

@Louie_JW is confident ahead of this one. He Tweets: "Hopefully a rare away win for Fulham today. We should be better than Villa."

@JimmyDharda is first to Tweet in this afternoon and he says: "Wigan will appreciate a winning Fulham effort. Need to keep Villa pinned down the bottom. Break the trend and win!"

Aston Villa are 6/5 to claim victory with our friends @Skybet, who make Fulham are 23/10 and the draw is 9/4. Despite their improved form, Villa still remain perilously close to the drop zone and are 3/1 shots to be relegated. Goals have been at a premium in recent meetings between the sides with only two in the last three clashes and it's 9/4 for under 1.5 goals this time around. Christian Benteke has scored in his last four successive matches and is 7/2 to break the deadlock, while Dimitar Berbatov , who has scored five goals in his last five starts, is 6/1 to net first and 7/4 anytime. Villa's last top-flight home defeat by Fulham came in March 1966 when they lost 5-2, so I'm going for a 2-1 home win, which is priced at 8/1. Well worth a flutter in my book! Right-click here SKYBET to open in a new tab and place your bets on this match.

ASTON VILLA TEAM NEWS: Villa are without in-form forward Gabby Agbonlahor as they seek to climb further away from the Premier League relegation zone. Lambert's side take on Fulham having recorded three wins in their past four but are without Agbonlahor, who failed to make the squad. He is replaced by Charles N'Zogbia, with Jordan Bowery keeping his place in the side supporting Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann up front.

FULHAM TEAM NEWS: Martin Jol brings in Kieran Richardson and Urby Emanuelson while Eyong Enoh passes a fitness test to play.

ASTON VILLA TEAM: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett, Westwood, Delph, N'Zogbia, Weimann, Bowery, Benteke.

SUBSTITUTES: Given, Holman, Sylla, El Ahmadi, Bent, Dawkins, Clark.

FULHAM TEAM: Schwarzer, Riether, Senderos, Hangeland, Richardson, Duff, Karagounis, Enoh, Emanuelson, Ruiz; Berbatov.

SUBSTITUTES: Riise, Petric, Frimpong, Hughes, Rodallega, Manolev, Etheridge.

REFEREE: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire) - Matches: 20, R4 Y57. He has shown 3.05 cards per game if my maths are correct.

Here come the teams...

Fulham have never won a Premier League game at Villa Park, mustering just four points from 33 available in their 11 visits. In fact, Villa's last top-flight home defeat by Fulham came in March 1966 when they lost 5-2. Can the Cottagers do it today? Email razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish the best.

A home win against Fulham would see Villa move just three points below the Cottagers who currently sit in 11th. What are you thoughts ahead of the game Villa fans? Email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.

Martin Jol is full of admiration for the way Villa have stuck to their policy of playing with young unproven talent in the Premier League. He said: "Maybe the philosophy has changed there and they want to play with young players. They will develop and be better and better. We've probably got the oldest squad in the Premier League and it's still not easy. We've got experience. I always liked Aston Villa. It's a tough league. If you stay up then you do well. Unfortunately with Fulham, they look at us with different eyes. They probably think that we're a top 10 club, so we have to be in the top 10."

For Villa, Darren Bent is nearing a return to full fitness. The striker made a brief appearance from the bench last weekend in the 3-1 win over Stoke at the Britannia Stadium, but is still short of match sharpness. Lambert is also keeping an eye on the fitness of defender Ciaran Clark. He is back on the training ground following a shoulder injury while on international duty for the Republic of Ireland, and providing he suffers no reaction could feature in the travelling squad. Defender Chris Herd and winger Marc Albrighton (both foot) plus defender Richard Dunne (groin) remain on the casualty list.

Fulham midfielder Eyong Enoh will undergo a late fitness test after injuring his ankle against Newcastle last weekend. Cottagers boss Martin Jol is already without midfielders Steve Sidwell (suspension), Ashkan Dejagah (ankle) and Mahamadou Diarra (knee). Dejagah will undergo ankle ligament surgery next week, joining Diarra on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.

Villa claimed their third win in four games when right-back Matt Lowton thundering home a stunning goal at Stoke last weekend which saw them only just clamber out of the relegation mire. They have taken nine points out of a possible 12 and are a side in fine form of late. Meanwhile, Fulham are inching ever closer to that 40-point mark and mid-table mediocrity. This afternoon should certainly be a testing and nervous occasion for Paul Lambert's young lions. With Wigan not playing until midweek, Villa supporters will see this game as a chance to put distance between themselves and the team in 18th.

If you'd like to air your views before or during the match, email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.

Hello and welcome to our live minute-by-minute text commentary of this Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Fulham from Villa Park.

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