Aston Villa 1-0 Fulham: Kodjia comes to Villa rescue
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 22/10/16 7:00pm
Jonathan Kodjia came to Aston Villa's rescue with a vital 80th-minute goal to earn the midlands club a crucial 1-0 Sky Bet Championship home win over Fulham.
The mundane game had previously been drifting to a goalless draw but the win gives Villa a massive boost and means they have collected seven points from three games since the recent appointment of Steve Bruce.
Kodjia's third goal in successive games also inflicted Fulham's first away defeat of the season and gave Villa their first back-to-back wins for the since May 2015.
Villa, with three changes from their side which won at Reading, made their customary quick start but Fulham's defence retreated to avoid any real trouble.
It was not until the 18th minute that Villa managed to carve out an opening when Alan Hutton's high cross to the far post was headed wide of the post by Leandro Bacuna.
With Fulham content to lay back, some frustration began to creep into Villa's play. Their lack of sharpness up front played into the hands of Fulham who were quite content to play a waiting game.
All of Fulham's play continued to revolve around Parker who played with cool authority aided in no small way by Villa's apparent casual attitude.
In a miserable first half neither side appeared capable of breaking the deadlock to the frustration in particular of the home fans.
The second half continued in the same vein and required a vital spark to bring it to life. Villa's best chance of going ahead came in the 65th minute when David Button, under no real pressure, was able to fingertip Jordan Ayew's free-kick over the bar.
In an attempt to inject more strike power Villa drafted in their expensive signing Ross McCormack in the 73rd minute and it worked for Villa with Kodjia notching his fourth goal of the season.
On one of the few occasions Fulham's defence was caught wrong-footed substitute Albert Adomah produced a quick cross from the right which Kodjia hooked home from close range.
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce:
"We have made a decent start and I am delighted for the players. A week ago they were quiet. There have been huge changes throughout the club. We have tried to breathe a bit of life back into the players. Thankfully when they respond, and get a couple of good results, that does no harm.
"We have everything in place to try our best. It is going to be difficult but it is fair to say we can only get better."
Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic:
We were near to a point but paid the price for the mistake. I do not blame my goalkeeper. We played well for 45 minutes but Villa won without creating the move. We were not solid in the second half when we lost ambition. We started to play long, long ball and we lost on the challenges.
"We didn't play with enough personality in the second half and paid a heavy price for our mistake."