Aston Villa 1-0 West Ham United: Cleverley’s strike seals huge win for Villans

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Aston Villa beat West Ham United 1-0 at Villa Park on Saturday as Tim Sherwood’s side grabbed another huge three points as their battle against relegation continues.

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The only goal of the game came in the first half as Tom Cleverley grabbed his third goal in three matches to seperate the sides in a nerve-wrangling match in the Midlands.

Villa won consecutive home win for first time this season as they sit in 14th place on 38 points, three points above the relegation zone. As for West Ham, their slide continues as Sam Allardyce’s men slip down to 10th place on 47 points.

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Villa started brightly as Leandro Bacuna whipped a free kick just wide in the 5th minute, then Charles N’Zgobia had an effort bravely blocked by Kevin Nolan moments later.

The hosts continued to pour forward and Cleverley’s well-struck volley forced Adrian into a save down low, with Carl Jenkinson cleaning up the loose ball for the Hammers. Spurred on by their recent good form, it was all Villa as Christian Benteke got free at the near post but fired wide.

In the 30th minute the opening goal arrived and it was no surprise that Villa grabbed it. A jinxing run into the left-hand side of the box from Jack Grealish put him clear of West Ham’s defense and he drilled the ball across goal which Cleverley slotted home for his third goal in as many games. 1-0 to Villa.

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Villa’s goalkeeper Shay Given and Nolan were involved in a grappling match in the other box but Nolan was penalized for appearing to foul Given when it looked like Enner Valencia was hauled to the ground by Bacuna. Regardless, it was a first half to forget for West Ham as Villa went in ahead at the break. At half time Alex Song and Nene came on as the Hammers tried to shake things up.

After the break Villa continued to pour forward but West Ham went close twice in quick succession as James Collins saw his header saved by Shay Given and then Valencia scored but his effort was ruled out for offside. Benteke had a chance to double Villa’s lead but squandered it, however Sherwood’s side held on for their third win in four.

LINEUPS

Aston Villa: Given, Bacuna (Hutton, 77′), Okore, Vlaar, Richardson, Westwood, Cleverley, Delph, N’Zogbia (Agbonlahor, 71′), Grealish (Sanchez, 90+2′), Benteke

Goal: Cleverley (31′)

West Ham: Adrian; Jenkinson, Collins, Burke, Cresswell; Noble (Cole, 78′), Kouyate; Downing, Nolan (Song, 45′), Amalfitano (Nene, 45′); Valencia