Bosnich the barrier
Aston Villa 0 West Ham United 0 Attendance: 35,992
Sunday 16 March 1997
Harry Redknapp, manager of the London side, made the more contented noises afterwards. "There aren't many tougher places to come to than this," he said. But even he had to admit that it might have been an opportunity lost. "The best chances came to us," he added. Or, more specifically, to John Hartson and Paul Kitson, the two strikers on whom Redknapp is pinning all his hopes of survival.
With these two back in harness after Hartson's latest suspension, West Ham began with as much confidence as they could drum up, given their circumstances, bolstered by Kitson's stoppage-time winner against Chelsea last week.
It did not seem misplaced. Hartson's first pass to his fellow striker required Gareth Southgate to execute the first of several important tackles. After 35 minutes, a link between Kitson and Stan Lazaridis on the left provided Hartson, in the six-yard box, with what was to be the best opening of the match. This time Mark Bosnich, the goalkeeper, came to Villa's aid with a fine reflex save. Ten minutes into the second half, Bosnich sprang to the rescue a second time after Kitson, starting his run from a deep position, opened up Villa by way of a one-two with Hartson.
Villa, without the injured Savo Milosevic and now with only one goal in four matches, seemed to have only one weapon - the pace of Dwight Yorke and Julian Joachim on the counter-attack. But West Ham were seldom troubled .
"I think we can [avoid relegation]," Redknapp said, happy that other results had favoured his side. They will have to do it, however, be without the young Frank Lampard, who was carried off with a suspected broken leg in the first half.
Latest in Sport
Jay Hart sex tape: Non-league footballer sacked after being filmed having sex with unknown blonde girl in manager's dug-out
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: What time does it start and where can I watch it?
Radamel Falcao to Liverpool: Agent of Manchester United striker 'makes contact' with Anfield
Cesc Fabregas in Premier League title dig at Arsenal after pointing out '27 year wait'
Manchester United 2015/16 kit leak: Orange and black strip likened to former Chelsea jersey emerges online
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 5 Cancel Sky at your peril: man spends 96 minutes in chat but fails to get rid of service
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...
£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...