Fulham hold United while Newcastle crush Villa

London: Manchester United and Fulham served up a frantic 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage on Sunday while Newcastle United stunned Aston Villa 6-0 with a hat-trick from Andy Carroll on another dramatic day of Premier League action.

In their top flight home return, Newcastle ran riot at St James` Park with Kevin Nolan (2) and Joey Barton also among the goals to secure their first points of the new season.

It was also the third 6-0 scoreline of the weekend following Chelsea`s win over Wigan Athletic and Arsenal`s demolition of Blackpool on Saturday.

Fulham meanwhile secured an outstanding draw after Norway defender Brede Hangeland scored a goal at either end in the closing minutes after a Paul Scholes strike had earlier been cancelled out by Simon Davies for the hosts.

The results left champions Chelsea as the only team in the division with a 100 per cent record after the opening two matches.

Hat-trick hero Carroll gave an outstanding display and did his claims to be considered for a place in England manager Fabio Capello`s senior side no harm to the delight of the home fans who included Tyneside scoring hero Alan Shearer in the stands.

"It`s great feeling, especially in front of the home fans," Carroll told ESPN. "I`m just over the moon with all three of them. I enjoy playing my football, I`m happy being the number nine at this club but I just want to do well for the team."

Villa wasted a golden opportunity to go ahead when John Carew skied a penalty high over the bar after 10 minutes and soon after last season`s Championship (second division) winners took control.

Barton fired home an angled shot after 12 minutes before Nolan headed in at the second attempt just after the half hour mark and Carroll made it three for the Magpies minutes later.

Carroll blasted in the fourth on 67 minutes with another Nolan header and a neat stoppage-time finish from Carroll sealing Newcastle`s win to get them off the mark following an opening 3-0 defeat by Manchester United on Monday.

"We expected a very tough game, but once we got the first goal that lifted any fears we might have had and we played some very good attacking football, managed to keep it going and score some very good goals," said Newcastle manager Chris Hughton.

"The quality and intensity of our play was too much for them."

Villa, who started the season with an encouraging 3-0 win over West Ham United last week, rarely threatened and the hopes of caretaker coach Kevin MacDonald getting the job fulltime following the shock resignation of Martin O`Neill before the season began were not helped by his team`s performance.

The main drama at Craven Cottage came in the closing stages after Scholes scored his 150th goal for United with a low drive from 27 metres to give them the lead after 11 minutes.

Davies equalised after 57 minutes following a flowing move involving Damien Duff and Bobby Zamora before Hangeland put through his own net on 84 minutes to put United 2-1 ahead.

Three minutes later Duff conceded a controversial penalty for handball only for Fulham`s reserve goalkeeper David Stockdale to save Nani`s spotkick -- a miss United were soon left to rue.

In stoppage-time the visitors were pegged back to 2-2 when Hangeland made amends for his earlier mistake with an unstoppable header from a corner.

United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports: "We had an opportunity to win it, the penalty was not hit at a good height, and Fulham deserved a point."

Mark Hughes, aiming to win his first home match as Fulham`s manager with victory over his old United boss, told reporters: "We could have gone 3-1 behind, so we are delighted for what we achieved because we showed real character to get back in the game, and the penalty save maybe gave us a little bit of belief to push on and get the equaliser."

"In the first half United played some really good stuff, I just felt that as the half went on I thought we got more belief and really worked well in the second half."

Bureau Report

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