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Updated: September 13, 2009 23:36 IST

Duff fires Fulham winner against Everton

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Damien Duff
AP Damien Duff

Damien Duff’s winner lifted Fulham out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 2-1 victory over Everton on Sunday while Aston Villa beat neighbour Birmingham 1-0 thanks to late goal by Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Next-to-last Everton went ahead after 33 minutes at Craven Cottage with the Australian forward headed home a leftwing free kick. But Paul Konchesky equalised in the 57th with a shot that deflected off Everton defender Sylvain Distin.

Duff scored the second in the 79th when he ran at the Everton defence, pulled the ball onto his favoured left foot and beat goalkeeper Tim Howard from just outside the area.

The result lifted Fulham eight places to 10th while Everton, which finished fifth last season, remains 19th in its worst start since manager Davis Moyes arrived at the club in March 2002.

Agbonlahor headed home an 85th-minute winner as Aston Villa beat Birmingham to climb to sixth.

The tall striker beat Birmingham goalkeeper Ian Hart after co-striker John Carew had won the ball in the air from Ashley Young’s free kick.

Agbonlahor should have scored a second with a minute to go when he got clear of the home defence but fired over the bar.

The result gives Villa nine points from four games with a match in hand on four of the five teams above.

“It was a game of very few chances and looked like it was heading for a stalemate,” said Villa manager Martin O’Neill. “We had some half chances but we’re delighted to have won the game because the points are very important. It’s three consecutive wins after a poor start.”

Blackburn beat Wolves 3-1, Sunderland defeated Hull 4-1, Wigan edged West Ham 1-0 and Bolton won 3-2 at last place Portsmouth which has no points from five games.

Newcastle stayed top of the League Championship with a 1-0 victory at Cardiff, behind Fabricio Coloccini’s goal after 18 minutes. The Magpies are two points ahead West Bromwich Albion, which beat Plymouth 3-1 on Saturday.

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