Fulham into top six after win over 10-man Villa

Fulham 3 Aston Villa 1

Fulham moved back into play-off contention with a comfortable win over Aston Villa, who had top scorer Jonathan Kodjia sent-off.

Ryan Sessegnon scored the fifth goal of his first season in professional football to put the Whites in front before Kodjia was sent-off midway through the first half after a kick out at Ryan Fredericks.

Despite being down to 10 men, the visitors equalised shortly after the break thanks to Jack Grealish’s curling effort.

However, Sone Aluko struck via a deflection to restore Fulham’s lead and substitute Neeskens Kebano swept home late on.

Although long-time play-off rivals Sheffield Wednesday also won, 2-1 at QPR, defeat for Leeds at home to Wolves meant they slipped out of the top six.

With Chris Martin suspended following his red card on Friday, Aluko moved up front with Sessegnon – who does not turn 17 until next month – restored to the team in the left-wing position.

And the move paid dividends when a Fredericks cross found him at the far post, he crashed a shot back off the crossbar and then reacted quickest to slam in the rebound.

Kodjia’s dismissal not long afterwards blunted Villa’s attack so it came as a bolt from the blue when they equalised on 50 minutes – Grealish picking out the top corner after cutting in from the left.

Parity did not last long though with Fulham’s pace once again causing Villa problems. Floyd Ayite exchanged passes with Stefan Johansen and pulled the ball back for Aluko, whose deflected shot wrong-footed Villa keeper Sam Johnstone, who failed to keep it out.

The Whites kept the pressure on with a series of half chances before Kebano put the seal on the win with a crisp finish across Johnstone and in at the far post.

Fulham: Bettinelli; Fredericks, Kalas, Ream, Malone (Kebano 54); McDonald, Johansen; Aluko (Piazon 86), Cairney, Sessegnon; Ayite.
Subs not used: Button, Madl, Sigurdsson, Parker, Cyriac.