Fulham, Villa win as EPL resumes with tributes to queen

Britain_Soccer_Premier_League_58046 Players stand on the center of the pitch during a moment of silence tribute to Queen Elizabeth II before the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Southampton at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.
Britain_Soccer_Premier_League_21249 Players stand on the center of the pitch during a moment of silence tribute to Queen Elizabeth II before the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Southampton at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.
Britain_Soccer_Premier_League_19941 Fulham's Joao Palhinha, left, celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game with team-mates during the English Premier League soccer match between Nottingham Forest and Fulham, at The City Ground, Nottingham, England, Friday Sept. 16, 2022.
Britain_Soccer_Premier_League_81501 Fulham's Harrison Reed celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game during the English Premier League soccer match between Nottingham Forest and Fulham, at The City Ground, Nottingham, England, Friday Sept. 16, 2022.
Britain_Soccer_Premier_League_77459 Aston Villa's Jacob Ramsey, left, celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Southampton at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.
Britain_Soccer_Premier_League_75523 Aston Villa's Jacob Ramsey, 3rd right, scores the opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Southampton at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.
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Steve Cooper and Marco Silva, the respective managers of Nottingham Forest and Fulham, carried wreaths as they led their teams out toward the center circle ahead of a pre-match minute’s silence for Queen Elizabeth II at the City Ground.

Over at Villa Park, the lights were dimmed, the middle of the field was illuminated, and tributes to the late monarch were displayed on the screens. Later, a soprano sang “God Save the King” in front of the players of Aston Villa and Southampton.

When the clock reached 70 minutes at both matches, fans stood and applauded in memory of the queen — who died last week after 70 years on the throne. Play even briefly stopped.

The queen was remembered and honored with touching tributes as the English Premier League resumed after a two-week break — prompted by the death of the long-serving monarch — with wins for Fulham and Villa on Friday.

They were the first two of seven matches taking place in this round of the top-flight from Friday-Sunday, with three games called off because of logistical issues and on safety grounds while authorities make preparations for the queen’s funeral on Monday.

The entire round of fixtures was postponed last weekend as a mark of respect.

“We pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s extraordinary life of dedication and duty to the nation and the world,” the league said.

Fulham took its time to get going after its hiatus, then scored three goals in six second-half minutes in a come-from-behind 3-2 victory at Forest in an entertaining match between two promoted teams.

Tosin Adarabioyo, Joao Paulinha and Harrison Reed were the scorers in that rush of goals in the lead-up to the hour mark, and Fulham moved up to sixth place.

“We are happy with how we’ve started but we have to keep going,” Silva said about his team, which was widely predicted to be battling relegation this season.

Forest, which is in next-to-last place, went ahead through Taiwo Awoniyi in the 11th while Lewis O’Brien’s goal in the 77th sparked a tense finish.

“Goals change games and then we couldn’t stop their momentum,” Forest midfielder Ryan Yates said, “and before you know it, the game has gone.”

Jacob Ramsey was Villa’s match-winner with a 41st-minute goal against Southampton, the 1-0 victory further easing the pressure on manager Steven Gerrard after his team’s slow start to the season.

Coming after a battling 1-1 draw with Manchester City two weeks ago, Villa climbed to 13th place after a match that was forgettable after the pre-match tributes to the queen.

“It wasn’t pretty but it feels good,” Villa captain John McGinn said of his team’s performance.

“If I was watching on the television, I would’ve turned it off.”

Gerrard said he was happy to eschew entertainment in search of points.

“It wasn’t pretty or stylish but, with where we were in the league, we knew we had to do it in a pragmatic way,” the former Liverpool captain said.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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