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
Arsenal vs Chelsea player ratings: Was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the star as the Gunners ended their Jose Mourinho hoodoo?
Cristiano Ronaldo buys agent Jorge Mendes a whole Greek island as a wedding present
Manchester United and Adidas branded 'sexist' and 'discriminatory' as women's shirt features plunging neckline and different design
Michael Owen quickly becomes a top Twitter trend after being widely criticised for 'boring' commentary during Arsenal vs Chelsea
Manchester United and Adidas 'not sexist' over new kit say readers despite plunging neckline
- 1 Artist Jamie McCartney: How The Great Wall of Vagina is a stand against 'body fascism'
- 2 Katie Hopkins reveals fear she will die during brain surgery to cure epilepsy
- 3 Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality
£55000 - £75000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software House that produces ...
£26000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is Europe's indust...
£17020 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Aerospace company is looki...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Bookkeeper is required to joi...