Ehiogu edges out West Ham

West Ham United 0 Aston Villa 2

Both of these sides may claim claret and blue as their colours, but on the evidence of their meeting in east London last night, they are heading in very different directions. Though they are now 16 games into the season, West Ham's polyglot assortment of talent stubbornly refuses to mould itself into a coherent team, and many of their fans now doubt if they ever will. Villa, by contrast, are disciplined and effective, and may yet be capable of the sustained challenge for the Premiership which was so widely predicted when the campaign began.

The odds on West Ham making one of their regular excursions into the division below were as short as 4-1 before last night's match. And after only a few minutes of play it was easy to see why. The visitors radiated confidence and understanding, playing as a unit from the first kick and working tirelessly to gain and keep possession.

Between them, Mark Draper and Ian Taylor soon had the midfield under firm control, and hesitancy in the home defence was apparent as early as the 11th minute when Steve Staunton was allowed to stride unchallenged towards the edge of the box before unleashing a shot that flew too high.

Only rarely did West Ham attack with any fluency, though an embarrassingly easy chance was created by Florin Raducioiu and spurned by Iain Dowie after 13 minutes. Finishing has never been Dowie's strongest point, but when clean through, 12 yards out, even he would have been dismayed to see his shot rebound to safety off Michael Oakes' legs.

Raducioiu, too, should have done better from the edge of the box with Oakes out of his ground, while at the other end Savo Milosevic's curling shot was destined for the top corner before Ludek Miklosoko intervened at full stretch.

It was with some inevitability that Villa took the lead on 37 minutes as Ugo Ehiogu arrived without serious challenge to head home Draper's corner.

Ehiogu was equally dominant in his more familiar defensive role as West Ham pressed after the break, though the game should have been beyond them just seconds into the half when Fernando Nelson found space in the box, but he shot wide.

As time wore on, the flow of ideas dried up completely and while the visitors were generally happy to soak up what pressure there was, the difference in thinking speed was summed up when Dwight Yorke's shot was barely parried after a quick re-take of a free-kick. Once again, it was all too predictable when Yorke was allowed a free header from Townsend's corner in the 76th minute and duly doubled Villa's advantage.

West Ham United (3-5-2): Miklosko; Dicks, Rieper, Bilic; Breacker (Bowen, 72), Bishop, Rowland (Lazaridis, h-t), Moncur, Hughes; Raducioiu, Dowie. Substitutes not used: Dumitrescu, Lampard, Sealey (gk).

Aston Villa (3-5-2): Oakes; Ehiogu, Staunton, Scimeca; Nelson, Wright, Townsend, Taylor, Draper; Milosevic, Yorke. Substitutes not used: Joachim, Hendrie, Tiler, Curcic, Brock.

Referee: M Riley (Leeds).

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders