Kamara clicks twice to expose Villa's weakness

Fulham 3 Aston Villa 1

Pity Diomansy Kamara. After a season spent either in the treatment room or on the bench he scored twice yesterday on his first start of the campaign. Trouble is Fulham have only two games left for him to enjoy being in form and favour. Come August the whole picture may have changed.

That will be especially so if Fulham are in the Europa League, a prospect enhanced by Kamara's second-half brace. Given their slim squad reinforcements would be required, which will increase competition for places and make managing both the squad and the Premier League campaign more problematic.

Their opponents are proof of that. Aston Villa began their season in mid-summer in the Intertoto Cup. This led to the Uefa Cup but, when a place in the Champions' League looked feasible, they sacrificed that. In the event the Champions' League proved beyond their reach and what has been a good season is drifting to a close accompanied by a sense of what might have been.

"It is a tough old season and there are a few lessons to be learned," said their manager Martin O'Neill. "We need a squad capable of dealing not only with domestic football but the extra games in Europe."

Roy Hodgson, like O'Neill, has stuck to the same XI where possible and this was the first time neither Andrew Johnson nor Bobby Zamora were in attack. Given that their combined output is seven goals from 62 league starts this might seem overdue, but they were only omitted through injury. Johnson (knee) did not make the 18; Zamora (hip) was on the bench.

Hodgson has kept faith because of their contribution to Fulham's season cannot be measured in goals alone. Johnson and Zamora have been the first line of a very effective defence both showing a prodigious work-rate. The challenge, for Kamara and Erik Nevland, was to match their effort, and add a goal threat. This they did. Nevland had already tested Brad Friedel with a diving header when, in the fifth minute, he was involved in a move which ended with James Milner bundling over Kamara. Penalty but no other sanction for Milner who could have been sent off. Danny Murphy despatched the spot-kick but the value of Milner's escape became apparent nine minutes later when he delivered a cross which Ashley Young met at the back post to level.

The rest of the period was even, Friedel saving from Zoltan Gera and Ashley Young striking the post following a typical Villa counter-attack, but Fulham took command after the break. Kamara scored two contrasting goals in 13 minutes. His first was driven in from just inside the box after Gera launched an attack, the second was a delicate flick of the heel after Brede Hangeland headed down a Murphy corner. "He suffered a cruciate ligament injury in June playing for Senegal and has done well to get back to fitness," said Hodgson. "He took his chance with open arms today. It's given me some selection problems."

Martin O'Neill reacted boldly, replacing both full-backs to the displeasure of Nicky Shorey whose slow trudge off brought an angry rebuke from his manager. With four up front Villa chased a recovery but Hangeland was always in control of fellow Norwegian John Carew and Fulham were comfortable.

"It was one of our best performances," said Hodgson. "The two halves were day and night, and we were very poor in the second", admitted O'Neill.

Attendance: 25,660

Referee: Mark Halsey

Man of the match: Kamara

Match rating: 7/10

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger Jonas Gutierrez reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable
science

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week