Fulham 2-0 Aston Villa: Ryan Sessegnon and Floyd Ayite end Villa's winning run
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 17/02/18 8:47pm
Fulham put an end to Aston Villa's winning run - and boosted their own chances of a push for automatic Sky Bet Championship promotion - with a 2-0 win at Craven Cottage.
Second-half goals from Ryan Sessegnon and Floyd Ayite proved to be the difference, with the west London side pulling themselves within four points of their opponents.
Villa manager Steve Bruce was forced to make two changes, with Albert Adomah and Jack Grealish missing. Birkir Bjarnason and Axel Tuanzebe took their places.
Matt Targett, who scored his first professional goal against Bolton last week, had the first opportunity after just two minutes for the hosts when he flashed his effort wide of the left-hand post of Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
Aleksandar Mitrovic headed wide two minutes later for Fulham, who started the game with a clear attacking intent.
The visitors earned their first effort of the game after eight minutes when after good work by Bjarnason, Scott Hogan fired wide from just outside the edge of the box.
The Iceland international almost turned goalscorer himself after 15 minutes, as he was able to make his way into the box and shoot off-target.
The game settled down into a holding pattern, with neither side making a serious threat on the opposition goal.
Bruce made a change for the visitors just before the restart, with Josh Onomah replacing Ahmed Elmohamady.
Hogan tested goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli four minutes after the restart when his looping header was collected after it broke loose during a scramble in the box.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 51st minute by the home side. Ryan Fredericks was able to find space down the right-hand flank and squared into the box for Sessegnon - who calmly connected first time to drill past the outstretched Johnstone.
Villa made their second substitution of the afternoon on 66 minutes when Mile Jedinak made way for Lewis Grabban.
However, an eighth straight victory looked out of reach for them after 71 minutes when Fulham doubled their lead - albeit with an awful mistake.
Johnstone was guilty of an appalling kick out which fell straight to Ayite just inside his own half, and he was able to direct his shot straight into an empty net.
Aboubakar Kamara replaced Mitrovic, while goalscorer Ayite was substituted for Lucas Piazon.
Keinan Davis came on for Robert Snodgrass late on, although the visitors left London without any points.
Slavisa Jokanovic: "We played with confidence but we cannot think the job is done. We must show solidarity and work together.
"All the squad will be needed, not just the players who started today but those on the bench and in the stand.
"In the second half we tried something a little bit different, we scored two goals and we could have scored some more. We must be satisfied with our performance, we played very good football (but) it is only three points."
Steve Bruce: "Losing Ahmed was a cruel blow, as well as losing Albert and Jack. They give us the penetration and the forward threat.
"Those two have been the catalyst for me for what we've achieved, especially Grealish in the middle of the pitch.
"We lacked that creativity today, which we've had in abundance in the last few weeks.
"They're a good side, Fulham, they've got some good players - they're one to beat, I predicted that at the start and I still think the same way.
"I always thought it was going to be whoever was going to get the first goal, but there was nothing in it and you could see a bit of quality from them in the wide area."