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Match report: West Ham 2-0 Villa

Match preview: West Ham v Villa The Boss: Garde on loss, penalty shout, red card and defensive bravery
Match report: West Ham 2-0 Villa

Two second half goals saw 10-man Villa fall to defeat in their final visit to Upton Park.

The B6 side played 73 minutes a player down following Jordan Ayew's red card after the visitors had started on the front foot.

West Ham's star man Dimitri Payet was in the thick of the action from the off, his cross from the byline forcing Villa on the backfoot but deflected wide.

Gabby Agbonlahor started upfront and got the better of former team-mate James Collins - Winston Reid forced to slide in and put his cross out of play.

Moments later Villa carved another opening - Carles Gil meeting Idrissa Gana's pass on the turn - his shot comfortable for Adrian.

On 11 minutes, there were strong appeals for a visiting penalty as Agbonlahor's cross struck the arm of Michail Antonio - referee Jonathan Moss waved play on.

We continued to attack and a corner from Gil caused problems at the near post but defender Jores Okore, up from the back, was unable to keep the ball in play.

And then came the game's major talking and turning point.

Forward Ayew was shown a straight red card for catching Aaron Cresswell with his arm - a devastating blow after all Villa's strong opening play.

Rémi Garde's side kept their shape and confident passing style but lacked a killer touch with the numerical deficit - Gana's effort from distance drifting well off target and a reflection of their struggles in front of goal.

Unsurprisingly, the Hammers grew into the contest but were frustrated by organised Villa - Garde's tactical shape work on the training field coming to the fore.






The first real let off arrived just after the half-hour mark, though, Enner Valencia heading over from close range after latching onto James Tomkins' goalward strike.

As the half wore on mistakes crept into both teams' play.

Tomkins, deputising at right-back, capitalised on hesitation from Gil in the Villa box but fired his effort wide.

Slaven Bilic's side and the home supporters grew frustrated as Antonio's free-kick from 35-yards edged just wide of the goal in what in terms of clear-cut chances was a pretty tame affair.

As expected, the hosts made use of their extra man and were on the front foot in the early stages of the second period.

Only a perfectly-timed overhead-kick clearance from captain Micah Richards after Collins met skipper Mark Noble's lofted ball into the box kept the scores level.

From the resultant corner, former Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn produced a fine save from Noble's superbly struck volley.

Payet, displaying the confidence of an in-form top-flight player, tried his luck from a tight-angle free-kick which stuck the post.

All Villa's hard work was undone just shy of the half hour mark.

Antonio, who had been causing problems for the visiting backline all evening, met Noble's diagonal ball to plant a header past Bunn - harsh on the Villa stopper given his earlier heroics.

The hosts went close again soon - Cheikhou Kouyate failed to connect after Reid knocked on Payet's corner.

West Ham, somewhat off colour, struggled to kill the game off.

Full-back Aaron Cresswell, scorer of his side's goal in the reverse meeting at Villa Park, cut inside and saw an effort drift wide before Noble's side-footed effort edged inches over the bar.

They finally doubled their advantage four minutes from time.

Typical of Villa's recent back luck, substitute Scott Sinclair had an immediate impact - his run winning a corner - but the home side broke and Valencia played in Kouyate to fire home.

WEST HAM: Adrian, Tomkins, Reid, Collins, Cresswell, Song, Kouyate (Obiang 93), Antonio (Jelavic 88), Noble (C), Payet, Valencia (Moses 87). Unused subs: Randolph, O'Brien, Oxford, Cullen.

VILLA: Bunn, Richards (C), Okore, Lescott, Cissokho, Bacuna, Gana, Veretout, Gil (Richardson 71), Agbonlahor (Sinclair 80), Ayew. Unused subs: Guzan, Clark, Lyden, Grealish, Mason.

By @AVFCOfficial 2nd February 2016
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