Hammers Secure a Point Against Villa
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 09 Nov 2014 12:10:00
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After they came from 2-0 down to secure a point at Stoke City last weekend, West Ham United grabbed another point in a goalless draw with Aston Villa at Upton Park on Saturday afternoon.

One change was made to the starting line-up in this game; Diafra Sakho had recovered from his shoulder injury and took the place of Morgan Amalfitano. One very welcome addition to the bench was that of Andy Carroll.

Although the Hammers were largely in control of the opening stages, it was the visitors who had the best of the early chances on 13 minutes after a misplaced pass from Mark Noble was seized upon by Gabriel Agbonlahor but, luckily for the hosts, it went sailing over Adrian's crossbar.

The action went from end to end as a minute later the home side were awarded a corner and James Collins ran to meet Stewart Downing's delivery but his header was well claimed by goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

On 18 minutes, West Ham were lucky not to go behind as Winston Reid's heavy backpass to Adrian came off the Spaniard's toe and almost crossed the line but thankfully the keeper managed to kick it away from danger.

Four minutes later, Sakho tried to create a piece of Premier League history by scoring his seventh goal in as many starts when he met Aaron Cresswell's cross with a header and although Guzan tried to claim the ball it dropped wide.

The action continued at a frenetic pace and after the villans had gone close just two minutes later, the ball was back with the Hammers and Downing forced a spectacular save from Guzan following pressure on the Villa defence from Sakho.

In stoppage time at the end of the first-half, West Ham had a great chance to go in front as a great team move involving Carl Jenkinson, Alex Song and Downing ended with the former Liverpool midfielder having only the goalkeeper to beat but he could only drag his shot wide.

The second-half started and Paul Lambert's side showed their intent right from the word go but Tom Cleverly's left foot effort went over the bar.

The Irons tried to break the deadlock again on 66 minutes, when Creswell's cross was met by Enner Valencia but his shot was blocked by Villa defender Ron Vlaar. In an effort to try and alter the flow of the game, manager Sam Allardyce made his first change of the afternoon replacing Cheikou Kouyate with Kevin Nolan.

Allardyce made another substitution on 75 minutes, as Valencia was withdrawn and Carlton Cole came on in his place.

The East Londoners had a glorious chance to take the lead on 78 minutes, when great team play involving Collins, Song, Cole and Sakho unfortunately resulted in the prolific striker heading wide.

Two minutes later, Sakho was involved again; this time he got his head to Downing's cross but he put it over, despite Guzan advancing off his line.

In the closing stages of the game, Jenkinson should have given the hosts all three points but he shot straight at Guzan when perhaps he should have done better.

Two of the four minutes of added time had passed when Big Sam brought on Carroll in place of Noble to make his first appearance of the season. He nearly made a superb start to his comeback as he was on hand to reach another Downing cross but Guzan was in no mood to the beaten and made an outstanding save.

After the home side thought they should have had a penalty but referee Jonathan Moss gave nothing, Carroll was again involved when Downing sent the ball over, but Guzan was there to grasp the ball once more.

With that the final whistle was blown and a frustrating afternoon for all connected with the Hammers was over. International matches take centre stage again next week before domestic action returns on 22 November when West Ham face a trip to Goodison Park to take on Everton.

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