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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 February 2007, 16:59 GMT
Aston Villa 1-0 West Ham
West Ham new boy Matthew Upson limps off injured
West Ham new boy Matthew Upson limps off injured
Aston Villa survived a late West Ham rally to plunge Alan Curbishley's side deeper into relegation trouble.

John Carew's first goal for Villa, slid in from Ashley Young's pass, looked to have sealed a comfortable win.

But West Ham, who lost new boy Matthew Upson with a calf injury, came into the game in the closing stages.

Villa keeper Thomas Sorensen saved brilliantly from Calum Davenport and Matthew Etherington, who also saw a last-minute effort strike the bar.

West Ham were banking on new boy Upson to provide a defensive foundation - but he lasted only 28 minutes before limping off.

He fell to the ground after an aerial challenge with Gabriel Agbonlahor - and it quickly became clear he was struggling.


Upson limped off and down the tunnel, with West Ham boss Curbishley shaking his head in despair.

Curbishley's brow was even more furrowed after 36 minutes as his side fell behind to Carew's strike.

Young played in the giant striker, and he raced through to beat West Ham keeper Roy Carroll with a powerful finish.

West Ham were barely registering as an attacking force, and Gavin McCann almost doubled Villa's lead on the hour with a 20-yard shot that was only inches wide.

And even though the Hammers finally exerted some pressure in the closing stages, Villa still looked capable of adding a second and Carroll needed to produce a fine save from Stilian Petrov nine minutes from time, turning his fierce shot over the bar.

Patrik Berger had a goal ruled out before West Ham suddenly woke up to the possibility they might snatch a point.

Sorensen blocked efforts from Davenport and Etheringtonl, who then saw his goal-bound effort deflected on to the by Wilfred Bouma as he looked certain to grab an equaliser.

  • Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill:
    "John Carew was absolutely terrific for us. His first-half performance was more than could have been expected on his home debut.

    "He had the disappointment of having his goal knocked off at Newcastle but he's got one here and the crowd have really taken to him. His performance was majestic.

    "For someone who is so tall, he has got a great touch and, make no mistake, he can definitely play.

    "He hasn't played much recently and came off because of cramp but when he is fit he will be really excellent."

  • West Ham manager Alan Curbishley:
    "Matthew Upson's done his calf. I thought he was looking commanding, but he has just gone up for a header and done his calf.

    "It just sums us up at the moment. We signed Lucas Neill and he didn't last 20 minutes and we have signed Matthew and he has only lasted a bit longer.

    "I haven't even spoken to Matthew about it so I can't speculate about how long he will be out. Everyone's just so disappointed, but we are just going to have to get on with it.

    "We need some three-pointers now. We laid siege near the end, but Thomas Sorensen made some great saves."

    Aston Villa: Sorensen, Bardsley, Mellberg, Cahill, Bouma, Petrov, McCann, Barry, Agbonlahor, Carew (Berger 73), Young (Ridgewell 90).
    Subs Not Used: Taylor, Davis, Maloney.

    Goals: Carew 36.

    West Ham: Carroll, Spector, Davenport, Upson (Dailly 30), McCartney, Benayoun, Reo-Coker, Quashie, Boa Morte (Etherington 61), Zamora, Blanco (Harewood 60).
    Subs Not Used: Green, Mullins.

    Booked: Reo-Coker.

    Att: 41,202

    Ref: C Foy (Merseyside).

    Saturday's football photos
    03 Feb 07 |  Football


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