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Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010

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Nothing to gain: Fulham's Danny Murphy, right, competes with Manchester United's Darren Fletcher during their match on Sunday at Craven Cottage in London. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. AP PHOTO

Fulham holds United; rampant Newcastle hits Villa for six

LONDON (AP) Brede Hangeland headed a late equalizer soon after scoring an own goal to secure Fulham a 2-2 draw against Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday, and Andy Carroll scored a hat trick in Newcastle's 6-0 hammering of Aston Villa.

Hangeland appeared to have gifted United all three points by deflecting an 84th-minute corner from Ryan Giggs into his own net, but he made amends by powering a header past goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar in the 89th.

"I looked at the clock after my own goal and thought I had five minutes to score at the right end, and fortunately I managed to do it," the Norway defender said. "I don't think there was much I could do about the own goal but I'm glad I could make up for it."

United substitute Nani could have put the game beyond Fulham two minutes after Hangeland's own goal, but the Portugal winger had a penalty saved by David Stockdale after Damien Duff was penalized for handball.

"When you have the lead and you have the opportunity to seal the game with a penalty, you think you're home and dry but I've got to give credit to Fulham," United manager Alex Ferguson said. His side has not won at Fulham in three seasons.

In-form midfielder Paul Scholes gave United the lead in the 11th with a trademark shot from outside the box but Simon Davies equalized for Fulham 12 minutes after halftime.

England striker Wayne Rooney missed the match because of illness.

United failed to keep pace with expected title rival Chelsea, which is top after beating Wigan 6-0 away on Saturday to follow on from its thrashing of West Brom by the same score on the opening weekend.

Chelsea is the only side with two wins from its opening two games, and is two points clear of six teams.

Earlier, Newcastle became the third team — after Chelsea and Arsenal — to record a 6-0 win this weekend by taking advantage of some woeful defending by Villa.

The match could have taken a different path had Aston Villa striker John Carew converted an early penalty but he smashed his spot kick over the bar and Newcastle dominated after that.

Joey Barton and midfield teammate Kevin Nolan put Newcastle 2-0 in front before home-town striker Carroll opened his account in the 34th.

Carroll added two more goals after the break to complete his hat trick, before Nolan scored his second deep into stoppage time.

"It's a great feeling, especially in front of the home fans. I'm just over the moon with all three of them," the 21-year-old Carroll said.

Villa — without a permanent manager after Martin O'Neill left days before the start of the season — missed the drive and dynamism of midfielder James Milner, who was sold to Manchester City on Wednesday, and failed to build on their opening-day 3-0 home win over West Ham.

"We started the season well last week so it's disappointing to get well beaten by a decent Newcastle side," interim manager Kevin MacDonald said. "The missed penalty changes things to certain extent."

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