Moritz Volz’s first goal for Fulham ensured Chris Coleman’s side left Villa Park with a richly deserved point against the country’s last unbeaten side.
Villa went in front through Gareth Barry when he lashed a spot-kick after Liam Rosenior had pulled Stiliyan Petrov down inside the box. But Barry, looking to impress the watching Sven-Goran Eriksson, switched off at the end of the first half allowing Volz to tap home a cross from Tomasz Radzinski. The visitors finished the contest the stronger but couldn’t force a winner.
Chris Foy waved away early penalty shouts at both ends of the field before Liam Ridgewell completely missed his kick when he looked favourite to turn in Petrov’s free kick. Milan Baros and Gabby Agbonlahor were similar culpable on the quarter hour both failing to finish after Juan Pablo Angel had opened the Fulham defence.
Zat Knight, who outstanding at the back for Chris Coleman’s side, headed Claus Jensen’s corner narrowly wide before Barry drilled home the opener from twelve yards after lengthy Fulham protests. Michael Brown’s elbow on the England midfielder was not seen by referee Foy, although the television pictures looked particularly damning.
The Londoners kept pushing forward and Jensen miscued from close range after Brian McBride’s snapshot flashed across the area. Fulham got their reward in stoppage time with Volz on hand to roll home after Radzinski had got free down the left. Villa went much more route one after the break as Agbonlahor become the focal point of their attack, but Knight and Ian Pearce dealt well with an aerial bombardment. Niemi was largely untroubled in the Fulham goal but Radzinski had the chance to win it for the Cottagers as his late effort almost surprised Sorensen.
ASTON VILLA (4-4-2): Sorensen; Hughes, Mellberg, Laursen, Ridgewell; Agbonlahor, Davis (Osbourne 83), Petrov, Barry; Angel (Sutton 75), Baros (Agathe 45). Subs (not used): Taylor, Bouma.
GOAL: Barry (pen 26).
FULHAM (4-5-1): Niemi; Rosenior, Quedrue, Knight, Pearce; Brown, Bocanegra, Volz, C. Jensen, Radzinski; McBride (John 72).
Subs (not used): Lastuvka, Zakuani, Routledge, Helguson.
BOOKED: Knight (24), Queudrue (74).
GOAL: Volz (45).
REFEREE: Chris Foy (Merseyside).