Hugo Rodallega's late header consigned Aston Villa to defeat and kept alive Fulham's slim hopes of avoiding Premier League relegation.

Rodallega flicked in Lewis Holtby's cross four minutes from time to move the Cottagers five points from safety.

Kieran Richardson had given Fulham the lead from the edge of the area before Grant Holt headed level.

Lambert 'angry' after Villa defeat

Matthew Lowton's clearance off the line looked to have denied Fulham victory, only for Rodallega to intervene.

In netting for the first time in the league since January of last year, Rodallega - who scored the goal that kept Wigan up in 2011 - completed the first stage of a revival that Fulham hope will match their escape of 2008.

Six years ago, the Cottagers won four of their final six games to stay in the Premier League on goal difference. Just as then, Fulham travelled to Villa Park with only 24 points from their opening 32 games.

For much of the opening period, Fulham created little to suggest that a repeat would be possible but, on the strength of their second-half showing, deserved their first league victory at Villa since 1973.

However, their situation remains precarious. At 18th in the table , their pursuit of 17th-placed Norwich is made all the harder by a -41 goal difference that is comfortably the worst in the division.

The Great Escape II?

Fulham were the last team to avoid relegation from the Premier League after having 24 points from 32 games.

What's more, their final five fixtures of this season take place on the exact same days as those games in 2007-08.

Still, the manner in which they inflicted a 10th home defeat of the season on Villa should provide more belief that they can earn the minimum of three victories they are likely to require from their final five fixtures.

Last weekend, they were level with Everton before sliding to defeat but here they responded to Villa's equaliser with renewed gusto to earn victory in a breathless second half far removed from the ponderous opening period.

With both sides lacking the guile to work goalscoring opportunities, early chances only came through individual brilliance or defensive mistakes - the run of Villa's Leandro Bacuna ended in a low save by David Stockdale, while, at the other end, Cauley Woodrow pounced on a home defensive error to call Brad Guzan into action.

But, with both sides improving after the break - the lively Bacuna forced Stockdale to tip onto the post - Richardson's brilliant strike brought the game to life.

With the ball moved from the right by Ashkan Dejagah, Richardson's first-time, left-footed strike flew past the outstretched hand of Guzan and high into the net.

Magath 'proud' after Fulham win

Fulham's lead, though, would last for only nine minutes as Holt, recalled after a long-term Achilles tendon injury to Christian Benteke and illness to Gabriel Agbonlahor, marked his return with his first Villa goal.

With marking befitting the worst defence in the Premier League, Fulham left Holt unguarded at the back post from Marc Albrighton's corner, with the on-loan Wigan striker nodding in.

Fulham, though, were not subdued by the Villa equaliser and Holtby should have restored the lead soon after.

On rounding Guzan, the on-loan Tottenham midfielder appeared to have an empty net to roll the ball into, only for Lowton's brilliant last-ditch clearance, with the goalline technology replay confirming that the smallest amount of the ball had not crossed the line.

Still Fulham came and, when Holtby floated in a cross from the right, Rodallega rose to glance in to the far corner and maintain his side's battle for survival.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "Looking at the table and fixtures, there are some real hard games for everyone. You have to go and get over that line as quickly as you can.

"I'd rather be in our position than a lot of teams. You have to look after yourself."

For a photo gallery from Saturday's Premier League action, visit the BBC Sport Facebook page. 

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (5)

Aston Villa

  • 01 Guzan
  • 34 Lowton
  • 03 Bennett Booked (Tonev - 66' )
  • 15 Westwood Booked
  • 04 Vlaar
  • 02 Baker
  • 07 Bacuna
  • 23 Bertrand
  • 29 Holt
  • 12 Albrighton Booked (Bowery - 91' )
  • 10 Weimann

Substitutes

  • 06 Clark
  • 13 Steer
  • 14 Luna
  • 18 Sylla
  • 21 Bowery
  • 24 Tonev
  • 37 Robinson

Fulham

  • 13 Stockdale
  • 04 Heitinga (Riise - 83' )
  • 15 Richardson
  • 27 Riether
  • 05 Hangeland
  • 35 Amorebieta
  • 10 Holtby Booked
  • 09 Diarra
  • 25 Woodrow (Rodallega - 45' )
  • 07 Sidwell Booked
  • 08 Kasami (Dejagah - 45' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Stekelenburg
  • 03 Riise
  • 06 Kvist
  • 11 Kacaniklic
  • 20 Rodallega
  • 24 Dejagah
  • 26 Roberts
Ref: Michael Oliver
Att: 33,532

Match Stats

Shots

12 16

On target

6 8

Corners

2 7

Fouls

10 13

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Fulham 2.

90:00 +4:28 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Fulham 2.

90:00 +2:05

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ryan Bertrand.

90:00 +1:51

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ryan Bertrand.

90:00 +1:27

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ryan Bertrand.

90:00 +0:32 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Jordan Bowery replaces Marc Albrighton.

89:58 Booking

Booking Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

89:48

Lewis Holtby (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

89:48

Foul by Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa).

89:25

Foul by John Arne Riise (Fulham).

89:25

Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

89:04

Foul by Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham).

89:04

Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

86:27

Attempt missed. Grant Holt (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Andreas Weimann.

86:06 Booking

Booking Lewis Holtby (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.

85:02 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aston Villa 1, Fulham 2. Hugo Rodallega (Fulham) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lewis Holtby with a cross.

84:25

Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

84:25

Foul by Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa).

83:39 Booking

Booking Steve Sidwell (Fulham) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

83:32

Foul by Steve Sidwell (Fulham).

83:32

Grant Holt (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:46

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ashley Westwood.

82:43

Attempt blocked. Lewis Holtby (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Brede Hangeland.

82:23

Attempt saved. Hugo Rodallega (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lewis Holtby.

82:18 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Fulham. John Arne Riise replaces Johnny Heitinga.

82:08

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

81:47

Delay in match Johnny Heitinga (Fulham) because of an injury.

80:48

Foul by Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham).

80:48

Grant Holt (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

79:34

Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

79:34

Foul by Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa).

79:03

Attempt missed. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross.

78:22

Foul by Steve Sidwell (Fulham).

78:22

Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

78:06

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

76:58

Delay in match Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

76:11

Attempt saved. Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Andreas Weimann.

74:37

Attempt blocked. Lewis Holtby (Fulham) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Hugo Rodallega.

74:13

Attempt saved. Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.

72:54

Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham) wins a free kick on the left wing.

72:54

Foul by Grant Holt (Aston Villa).

71:42

Foul by Hugo Rodallega (Fulham).

71:42

Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

71:11

Foul by Steve Sidwell (Fulham).

71:11

Aleksandar Tonev (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

69:39 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aston Villa 1, Fulham 1. Grant Holt (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross following a corner.

69:20

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Kieran Richardson.

67:54

Foul by Steve Sidwell (Fulham).

67:54

Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

67:00

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

66:35 Booking

Booking Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

66:10

Delay in match Lewis Holtby (Fulham) because of an injury.

65:11 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Aston Villa. Aleksandar Tonev replaces Joe Bennett.

60:54 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Aston Villa 0, Fulham 1. Kieran Richardson (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Ashkan Dejagah.

59:43

Attempt missed. Lewis Holtby (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

59:07

Attempt saved. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Grant Holt.

58:24 Booking

Booking Joe Bennett (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

58:04

Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

58:04

Foul by Joe Bennett (Aston Villa).

56:38

Kieran Richardson (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

56:38

Foul by Matthew Lowton (Aston Villa).

54:18

Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

54:18

Foul by Nathan Baker (Aston Villa).

50:02

Attempt blocked. Ashkan Dejagah (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sascha Riether.

48:55

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by David Stockdale.

48:53

Attempt saved. Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Grant Holt.

47:53

Attempt missed. Steve Sidwell (Fulham) right footed shot from more than 40 yards on the right wing misses to the right.

47:21

Attempt blocked. Lewis Holtby (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Hugo Rodallega.

45:00

Second Half begins Aston Villa 0, Fulham 0.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Fulham. Ashkan Dejagah replaces Pajtim Kasami.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Fulham. Hugo Rodallega replaces Cauley Woodrow.

45:00 +1:00 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Fulham 0.

45:00 +0:18

Attempt blocked. Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

44:49

Ryan Bertrand (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

44:49

Foul by Steve Sidwell (Fulham).

43:25

Attempt saved. Steve Sidwell (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Cauley Woodrow.

42:59

Attempt saved. Lewis Holtby (Fulham) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Cauley Woodrow.

38:15

Attempt saved. Cauley Woodrow (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mahamadou Diarra.

37:18

Foul by Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa).

37:18

Mahamadou Diarra (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

36:33

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

35:50

Delay in match Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

34:21

Attempt saved. Cauley Woodrow (Fulham) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

33:55

Attempt blocked. Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Bertrand.

31:51

Attempt blocked. Steve Sidwell (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis Holtby.

30:25

Attempt saved. Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marc Albrighton.

29:07

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Nathan Baker.

28:26

Foul by Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa).

28:26

Lewis Holtby (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

26:23

Attempt missed. Andreas Weimann (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Marc Albrighton with a cross.

24:32

Grant Holt (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

24:32

Foul by Johnny Heitinga (Fulham).

23:06

Nathan Baker (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

23:06

Foul by Cauley Woodrow (Fulham).

22:18

Foul by Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa).

22:18

Steve Sidwell (Fulham) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

20:03

Offside, Fulham. Pajtim Kasami tries a through ball, but Steve Sidwell is caught offside.

19:13

Grant Holt (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

19:13

Foul by Pajtim Kasami (Fulham).

17:08

Grant Holt (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

17:08

Foul by Fernando Amorebieta (Fulham).

15:25

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Ron Vlaar.

14:40

Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Matthew Lowton.

9:32

Attempt missed. Cauley Woodrow (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Mahamadou Diarra.

5:26

Attempt blocked. Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

2:04

Attempt missed. Cauley Woodrow (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Pajtim Kasami with a cross.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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