Mixed feelings for Cresswell

Aaron Cresswell admitted the joy of scoring his first goal of the season was tempered by frustration of letting Aston Villa grab a Barclays Premier League draw on Boxing Day.

The left-back hammered his side in front in first-half stoppage time at Villa Park, but the visitors were pegged pack and forced to settle for a fifth stalemate in succession through Jordan Ayew’s second-half penalty.

Injury added to insult for the No3, who was forced off with a minor hamstring injury with 15 minutes remaining, ending his ever-present top-flight record stretching back to his arrival in summer 2014.

“It’s frustrating because, especially in the first half, I thought we had some very good spells and we thoroughly deserved our lead at half-time,” Cresswell told whufc.com.

“Going into the second half, it’s disappointing that we didn’t hold onto the lead, but we’re knew they were going to fight until the end because they’re in a massive relegation fight.

“We’re just disappointed we had to settle for a draw and didn’t come away with the three points.”

Before suffering second half heartache, Cresswell was able to celebrate his first goal since April, collecting a cross-field pass from Michail Antonio before blasting low past Brad Guzan from 25 yards.

The defender revealed how he expected to get forward regularly after Slaven Bilic opted to start with a 4-4-2 diamond formation that saw the four midfielders play compact and narrow, opening up space for him to run into.

“We knew myself and Tonks were going to get a lot of the ball and Michail has switched the ball fantastically, I took a touch and shot and thankfully it’s gone in the bottom corner.

“It’s nice to get goals and assists, but first and foremost as a defender it’s about clean sheets. We’ve conceded one goal in four games which is not too bad when you look at it.

“Obviously we want to get the three points more than clean sheets and the goals. That said, it’s another point on the board and we’ve got a lot of games coming up over the next two weeks and we’ve got to look forward to Southampton now.”

Cresswell was unsure whether the decision to penalise Angelo Ogbonna for a foul on Rudy Gestede for Ayew’s penalty was the correct one, while also pointing to a late incident inside the Villa box, when Ashley Westwood appeared to handle Alex Song’s through-ball.

“I initially thought it was a foul on Angelo at first, but I think it was a penalty. I’d have to see it again, though, looking at it from where I was on the pitch.

“We could have had a couple of penalties ourselves there. I was sat inside the dressing room in the last ten minutes watching the game on TV and Alex had a little ball that he tried to dink over, their lad has clearly handballed it and the ref hasn’t given it.”

While there was some frustration at failing to beat the Premier League’s bottom side, who have won just once all season, Cresswell said the Hammers had to take pride in the fact they have become so hard to beat despite their recent injury issues.

“Every team in the Premier League has got international and they’re all fantastic players. I said last week that an away point is never the worst result in the world, but of course we fancied ourselves coming here, as they’re low on confidence whereas ours is quite high.

“It’s bitterly disappointing we didn’t hold onto the lead and take the three points.”