RECAP: MIDWEEK LEAGUE CUP ACTION
Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson failed to lift Fulham over Stoke City while Eric Lichaj and Brad Guzan did their defensive duties to allow Aston Villa to advance into the next round of the Carling Cup.
Stoke 2 - 0 Fulham
Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson were both unable to get off the mark at Brittania Stadium as Stoke punished their London visitors.
The match will be remembered for Andy Wilkinson's brash 93rd minute tackle on Moussa Dembele that forced the player to be stretchered off of the field.
Stoke got off the mark in the 23rd minute when Matthew Etherington crossed the ball into the center for Danny Higginbotham to head home inside of six yards, absolutely unmarked by the static Fulham defense.
Stoke capped the game off with a trademark Rory Delap long throw, with Kenwyne Jones leaping the highest to give a two goal cushion. Dempsey troubled Asmir Begovic a few times, forcing a save from a free kick while Johnson could only fire wide of the target.
Wilkinson and Etherington were both booked for separate challenges on Dembele, while only Danny Murphy picked up a card for Fulham. Up next for the Cottagers is a home test against Everton.
Aston Villa 3 - 1 Blackburn
Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj were both given a start in Gerard Houllier's first match in charge at Aston Villa.
The game did not go to plan however, with Blackburn getting a first half lead by way of Gael Givet in the 34th minute. Morten Gamst Pedersen's throw in was only partially cleared by Ciaran Clark, and Givet did the rest with a strong blast through a crowd of players and into Guzan's net.
Houllier brought Emile Heskey off of the bench, and Ashley Young set the former England front man up within 60 seconds of him being on the field. Sending Heskey through, the big forward burled forward and clinically restored parity in the 59th minute.
Young wasn't done there as he scored back to back goals to win the game for Aston Villa. His first came in the 75th minute when Nathan Delfouneso picked out the winger making a near post run and the Englishman's header was enough to beat Mark Bunn.
In under two minutes he gave them a two goal cushion as Heskey turned provider, sending in an inch perfect cross for Young to convert from close range.
No cards were issued in the match, while Villa turn around to play Marcus Hahnemann's Wolves at Molineux Stadium on Sunday.
Stuart Holden was on the bench when Bolton lost 1-0 at Turf Moor to Burnley.
Marcus Hahnemann was on the bench after Wolves powered past 10 man Notts Country in extra time, winning 4-2.
Jonathan Spector was on the bench when West Ham won 2-1 against Sunderland to advance in the Carling Cup.
Tim Howard was on the bench when Everton were bounced out of the Carling Cup after losing on penalties after a 1-1 draw in extra time.
Seb Harris was on the bench when Northampton knocked Liverpool out of the Carling Cup 4-2 on penalties after drawing 2-2 through extra time.