Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham United FT

Barclays Premier League
Aston Villa v West Ham United
Villa Park
Saturday 18 April
Referee: Rob Styles

Final score - Aston Villa 1-1 West Ham United


Full time. A superb awayday point for West Ham and it is thoroughly deserved by the number of chances they created.

90 min - Upson gets booked for a late tackle on Young. This is a frantic finale as first Villa nearly score through Carew and then West Ham get another corner.

90 min - It is all West Ham now as Savio fires a shot in that goes just wide. Moments later a Savio cross is deflected behind for a corner. Can West Ham sneak a winner?

88 min -The West Ham fans are enjoying this and it looks like the players are now too. Noble so nearly wins the game with a deflected shot that Friedel has to help over the bar.

85 min - GOAL! And the change pays off! Sears wins a corner. It is cleared to Dyer, he shoots and then Tristan gets his head to the ball to flick it past Friedel. West Ham have deserved that based on the chances they have created.

81 min - West Ham make their final change as Freddie Sears comes on for Di Michele. Villa also swap things round as Milner leaves the pitch for Craig Gardner.

80 min - So close! An almighty scramble in the box involving Di Michele, Tristan and then finally Boa Morte somehow does not end up with the ball in the back of the net. Friedel must take credit for a brave save from the feet of the West Ham No13.

78 min - A great chance for Villa to double their lead as Carew heads over when completely unmarked. Can the Hammers make him pay by getting an equaliser?

76 min - Savio gets involved in the action straight away with shot that flies well wide. The home support among the 39,534 in Villa Park respond with the customary cheers.

74 min - Zola makes his second change of the afternoon with Savio replacing Stanislas.

71 min - Villa make their first change of the afternoon when Heskey comes off for Nathan Delfouneso.

67 min - This half is certainly not quite as action-packed as the first was and Villa put a rare chance wide of the goal. Good work from Luke Young sees him cross for Carew, he puts his shot wide.

65 min - Petrov goes into the book for a late tackle on Noble. The West Ham No16 does not like the challenge and lets him know in no uncertain terms.

61 min - The supporters sitting on the far stand must wait a little longer in their hunt for an equaliser, though, as Noble's corner is headed clear.

60 min - The West Ham fans are still in good voice as a rendition of Bubbles echoes around Villa Park. Thier side have just won a corner.

56 min - Villa have had a couple of injury concerns in the last few minutes. First, Young was hobbling and then Curtis Davies felt the full force of a Noble shot that went straight at his head. Both appear to be ok now, though.

54 min - The West Ham fans are in great voice and have been singing 'We are West Ham's claret and blue army' non-stop since half time. Great effort from the away support.

50 min - Both were cleared well without a shot coming in on goal and West Ham are looking to get back into the game as Dyer gets close to getting on the end of chipped pass from Noble.

48 min - Villa have come out of blocks flying in the second half and have just won their second corner in the space of a few minutes.

46 min - We're underway in the second half. A few Villa fans make light-hearted appeal for a penalty as Upson and Carew tangle in the area.

Half time. Mr Styles blows his whistle and the players go in. It has been an action-packed opening half here at Villa Park. Zola's side will be frustrated that they are behind after several good chances have gone begging, but the good thing is that they are causing their hosts problems at the back.

45 min - The Hammers will have to defend a corner before they can go in for their half-time drinks.

45 min - Young goes into the book after what can only be described as handbags with Neill. There will be two minutes of added time at the end of this half.

43 min - Now it is Di Michele's turn to try his luck. The Italian linked up well with Diego Tristan, before turning one way and then the other and unleashing a shot straight into the arms of Friedel.

41 min - Stanislas has another great chance to get his second goal for the club. Ilunga's cross from the left found the midfielder in space but he put his header well wide.

38 min - Boa Morte is booked for going down a bit too easily for Mr Styles' liking. However, replays suggest there may have been some contact.

36 min - This is Dyer's first appearance in the first half of a Premier League game since 25 August 2007. He has gone into central midfield with Neill moving to full-back.

34 min -
Stanislas, who has looked dangerous so far, races forward and hits a powerful, rising drive that just goes over. Better from West Ham.

33 min - He is and he leaves the field to be replaced by the West Ham No32.

32 min -  Kieron Dyer is being prepared on the touchline as it looks like Collins is struggling.

27 min - Another good burst from Young sees him go past  Tomkins and shoot straight at Green. Seconds later Noble's back-pass is intercepted by Heskey and he prods the ball towards goal. Thankfully, it hits the post and bounces clear. A real let off for West Ham and Noble there.

24 min - Brilliant tackle by Boa Morte on Barry in the penalty area. It is backs to the wall time for West Ham at the moment.

23 min - The initial free-kick is straight into the wall but the ball come back to him and his second effort is much better, missing Green's goal by a matter of inches.

22 min - More danger for the Hammers as Villa have a free-kick right on the edge of the area.

20 min - Mark Noble goes into the book after Rob Styles rules his sliding tackle on Stiliyan Petrov was worthy of a yellow card.

18 min - Villa have a corner as Herita Ilunga flicks a Milner shot over the bar. Tomkins' brave header clears the danger, albeit temporarily as he concedes another flag kick. Young whips it in again, but it manages to miss everyone in the area.

17 min - This really is end to end stuff as Green has to make a reaction save at his near post to keep out Milner's effort.

15 min - More good football from the visitors nearly gets them level. Di Michele breaks into the area and a smart save from Friedel sees the ball bounce back to Tomkins with a clear sight of goal. Sadly, his shot sails just over the bar.

13 min - Obviously not the start Zola's side would have wanted but they do not seem to have let the goal affect them too much. Boa Morte has just flashed a shot a few yards wide of the Villa goal.

11 min - GOAL! The home side go one better as they take the lead after a quick counter attack. James Milner ran onto a through pass and rolled the ball along the floor to Heskey, who made no mistake from eight yards.

10 min - It is Villa's turn to almost take the lead as a ball in fron Barry is headed just wide by Emile Heskey.

8 min - Tomkins passes his first Young-related test as he reads the winger's run perfectly to slide in and tackle him.

7 min - Noble swings the corner in, Friedel palms it away and Di Michele's attempted follow up is blocked.

5 min - After that frantic start the game has settled now, with West Ham seeing more of the ball. Just as I write that a clever through ball from Luis Boa Morte put Stanislas in space in the area and only a last-ditch tackle stops him getting another shot in.

2 min - So close to the perfect start. Junior Stanislas goes on a storming run and the Villa defence parts in front of him. He gets a shot in and the ball looks like it's going in, only to bounce wide via the slightest of touches from Friedel. Great start from the Hammers.

1 min - We're off at last!

3.01pm - Here they come. Villa's third kit doesn't have a sponsor's logo on it.

2.59pm - Still no sign of the two teams...

2.56pm - The two teams are in the tunnel ahead of the big kick-off. Can West Ham secure the victory that strengthens their grip on seventh place?

2.54pm - It is three years ago this week that West Ham beat Middlesbrough 1-0 at Villa Park to secure their passage to the FA Cup final.

2.52pm - It's been confirmed over the tannoy. Villa will play in their all-white third kit.

2.50pm - Junior Stanislas is wearing some bright orange boots. Very fetching. On the subject of clothing, there are whispers in the press box that Villa may be wearing their third kit as their home kit clashes with West Ham's light blue away strip. Not sure about that one, but we'll see. Villa's players are wearing yellow t-shirts during their warm-up, so I'm not sure which kit they will be turning out in. Only time, as they say, will tell.

2.45pm - Perhaps it is a good thing for the Hammers that Steve Sidwell is only on the bench for Villa. He has scored the fastest goal in the Premier League this season, netting after just 31 seconds against Everton at Goodison Park in December. Sidwell is joined among the Villa substitutes by Nigel Reo-Coker, who made 142 appearances for West Ham, scoring ten goals. Villa's other former West Ham player, Marlon Harewood, is on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers, who will be promoted to the Premier League if they beat QPR this afternoon.

2.40pm - James Tomkins will continue at right-back this afternoon. The 20-year-old has been a revelation since coming into the team for the injured James Collins at Bolton Wanderers. Since his arrival, West Ham have conceded just two goals in six matches. Tomkins had an assured game against Croatian playmaker Luka Modric last weekend, but Ashley Young will provide the youngster with another testing afternoon.

2.35pm - West Ham United's players are out on the pitch at a sunny but blustery Villa Park. It's a bit chilly in the Midlands, but this is set to be a red hot game between two of the Premier League's top-seven. Villa have not won in ten games in all competitions, while the Hammers will be eager to bounce straight back after losing at Spurs last Saturday. A large number of visiting fans have congregated behind the advertising boards to watch their heroes being put through their paces by fitness coach Antonio Pintus.

Gianfranco Zola named an unchanged team from the West Ham United side that went down to a narrow 1-0 Premier League defeat at Tottenham Hotspur a week ago. Academy product Zavon Hines was on the substitutes' bench in the top-flight for the first time ever.

The 20-year-old striker scored on his only previous first team appearance this season in the 4-1 Carling Cup second round win over Macclesfield Town.

Radoslav Kovac failed to overcome a thigh injury in time to play at Villa Park, while reserve team captain Bondz 'Gala dropped out of the squad. Iceland Under-21 defender Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, 18, travelled with the first team squad for the first time, as did Hungary Under-21 goalkeeper Peter Kurucz.

Matthew Upson celebrates his 30th birthday today by making his 71st competitive appearance for the club.

Former West Ham captain Nigel Reo-Coker was named among the substitutes by Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill.

A win this afternoon would take the Hammers to within five points of sixth-placed Everton, who are in FA Cup semi-final action against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon, and within six points of Villa in fifth. However, West Ham have lost on their last two visits to Villa Park and know they face a stern test in the shape of O'Neill's side.

Aston Villa: Friedel, L.Young, Davies, Cuellar, Shorey, Milner (Gardner 81), Barry, Petrov, A.Young, Carew, Heskey (Delfouneso 71)
Subs: Guzan, Knight, Salifou, Sidwell, Reo-Coker,

West Ham United: Green, Tomkins, Collins (Dyer 33), Upson, Ilunga, Boa Morte, Neill, Noble, Stanislas (Savio 74), Di Michele (Sears 81), Tristan
Subs: Lastuvka, Lopez, Payne, Hines