Game #5045

Season | 2008-09 |

Matchday | #29 |
League Game | #18 |
Premier League Match-week | #18 |  
Manager Game | #112 |
Saturday, 20 December 2008
Premier League | Away | West Ham United | Upton Park | 31,353 | 

Game Summary

Manager | Martin O’Neill |

KO | 17.30 |
Referee | Mark Halsey | 
HT Score | 0-0 |

FT Score | 1-0 |
FT Result | Won |

Last 5 Games | LWWLW | 

Scorers | Own Goal | 78’ |

League Position | 3rd | +1 |

Line Up |

GK Brad Friedel |
RB Luke Young |
CB Curtis Davies |
CB Martin Laursen |
CB Carlos Cuéllar |
SUB OFF | 58' |
M Steve Sidwell |
M Stiliyan Petrov |
M Gareth Barry |
W James Milner |
BOOKED | 72' |
W Ashley Young |
F Gabby Agbonlahor |

Substitutes |

M Nigel Reo-Coker for CB Carlos Cuéllar | 58’ |

Unused Substitutes |

CB Zat Knight
M Craig Gardner
CF Marlon Harewood
F Nathan Delfouneso
LB Nicky Shorey
GK Brad Guzan

Cards |

 Yellow | James Milner | 72’ |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 27.46 | 

Oldest Player | GK Brad Friedel | 37.62 |

Youngest Player | F Gabby Agbonlahor | 22.20 |

Match Stats
Possession F | 34
Possession A | 66
Shots F | 9
Shots A | 14
Shots on Target F | 2
Shots on Target A | 8
Corners F | 6
Corners A | 7
Fouls F | 12
Fouls A | 8

Match Report

Sky Sports

Saturday, 20 December 2008


Upton Park pain for Hammers

West Ham United suffered yet more agony at Upton Park as a Lucas Neill own goal handed high-flying Aston Villa victory on Saturday evening.

The Hammers are without a Premier League win on their home turf since September and now risk falling into the relegation places should Manchester City get something from their trip to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.


Gianfranco Zola’s charges matched Martin O’Neill’s Villa for much of the encounter as both teams spurned excellent goalscoring opportunities, with Carlton Cole wasteful in front of goal and Ashley Young hitting the woodwork.


The game looked set for a goalless stalemate but James Milner’s hopeful effort caught Neill on 78 minutes to deflect wickedly over the helpless Robert Green and lift Villa up to third in the table


O’Neill’s young English players have given Villa fans real hope of breaking into the top four - but an American veteran in goal is also playing his part.


Brad Friedel produced a string of saves to keep the scores level when the Hammers threatened through Craig Bellamy and Cole.

“They have plenty of pace and are very dangerous,” wrote Hammers boss Zola in his programme notes, highlighting Villa’s strengths - but he has speed in his own side through Bellamy.

The Wales forward applauded Stiliyan Petrov when the Villa midfielder nut-megged him - for the rest of time he was stretching Villa’s defence and creating space inside.

His first effort came when he raced onto Neill’s lofted pass - but the ball forced the Hammers striker into a wide angle and his shot was easily saved by Friedel.

There was nothing straightforward about the American’s save when Bellamy raced beyond the Villa defence to collect a pass from Herita Ilunga. Friedel stayed on his feet for as long as possible before parrying the finish.


Villa’s first threat came from Steve Sidwell, who drilled a low effort just wide of Green’s upright, then went even closer midway through the opening half after Gabriel Agbonlahor raced down the left and beat Neill for pace.

The ball was pulled back for Sidwell, with Mark Noble chasing back and doing enough to make the former Chelsea midfielder slice his finish wide.

England winger Young then struck the post after being gifted possession by Scott Parker. The error allowed Young to take the ball around Green but he was forced slightly wide and the finish clipped the far post.

Young also went inches wide with a free-kick, while Gareth Barry felt he should have had a penalty when he tussled with Neill shortly afterwards, but referee Mark Halsey waved play on.

Bellamy’s pace was West Ham’s outlet. Neill sent him away on the right again and when the cross came over, Curtis Davies sliced towards his own goal and Friedel was required to tip over the crossbar.

Friedel also parried a long-range effort from Valon Behrami after Davies had given the ball away cheaply.

Villa broke at speed just before the half-time whistle, with Green forced into a double save - from Milner then Barry - to keep the scores level heading into the break.

Zola’s response at half-time was to haul off Parker and bring on Hayden Mullins to protect the defence.


Bellamy could not get power on the first chance of the second half, then Matthew Upson and Neill were off target with headers when they met set-pieces.

Zola made another change just before the hour mark when Behrami appeared to pick up a knock, with Lee Bowyer coming on.

Former Hammers midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, who predictably was greeted by a chorus of jeers, then replaced Carlos Cuellar after the defender also got injured.

Cole was presented with a clear-cut chance when Neill cut in from the right and floated a cross to the far post - but the striker got under the finish and headed over.

Cole had another opportunity in the 64th minute after Bowyer had released Bellamy to cross from the left. Luke Young blocked Cole’s first effort, then Friedel produced a reflex save to stop the second.

Milner picked up a booking for tripping Ilunga, but he then earned Villa the winner 12 minutes from the end.
Friedel saved a close-range effort from Calum Davenport to keep the visitors ahead.