Aston Villa 0 West Ham 2 match report: Kevin Nolan strikes twice despite absence of Carroll service

Nolan adds his second double in a week to give Hammers a crucial three points in their bid for Premier League safety

Villa Park

Perhaps West Ham are not so dependent on Andy Carroll after all. After a week in which the club’s lawyers suffered defeat in their attempts to overturn the big striker’s three-match ban for his sending-off against Swansea, their footballers enjoyed a precious victory in their bid to escape relegation.

Carroll’s short-lived return against Swansea last weekend had seemed to spark his old mate Kevin Nolan back into life, and the Liverpudlian picked up where he had left off against the Welsh side with two goals in the first three minutes of the second half. Nolan (below), 31, has become a target for criticism this season, having collected as many red cards – for mindless challenges against Liverpool and Fulham – as goals prior to this month. Yet after his double against Swansea, that old chicken-dance celebration was seen twice more at Villa Park yesterday.

“He’s trying to put right what he did wrong with those two silly sendings-off,” Sam Allardyce, the West Ham manager, said. “His two goals today showed he doesn’t have to have an Andy Carroll to score goals.”

The second half was 17 seconds old when Nolan struck his first. He laid off a long ball to Stewart Downing on the right side of the area, and the winger outfoxed Ryan Bertrand and crossed low for his captain to strike with a back-heel flick which deflected off Ciaran Clark and flew into the net.

Just minutes later, Nolan made it two. When Nathan Baker left the ball to Fabian Delph on the edge of the home box, Nolan stuck in a foot to rob it and strode clear to bury a low shot past Guzan.

With this victory West Ham climbed out of the bottom three and up to 14th, within two points of Villa. Paul Lambert’s team looked to have found some form in recent games against Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion, but their form at Villa Park remains their Achilles heel. This was their eighth defeat in 13 home League fixtures and, not for the first time, Lambert was left to lament their defending.

“At this level you cannot defend that way,” he said. “We never dealt with the long ball [for the first goal]. The second goal is just a basic error.”

Even before Nolan’s double West Ham had been the better team, coming close to scoring three times in quick succession midway through the first half, with Matt Jarvis involved each time. After Downing failed to turn in a low cross by the left- winger, Jarvis himself twice raced clear down the left but could not find the target. Carlton Cole was also profligate after an error by Clark, and made way at half-time for debutant Marco Borriello.

West Ham may have had problems in attack this season, but their clean sheet here was their 12th of the season – more than any other Premier League club. While Villa struggled without the injured Ron Vlaar, the Londoners had the game’s outstanding defender in James Collins, a centre-back offloaded by Lambert two summers ago, who shone against his old team.

Only after the introduction of Marc Albrighton did Villa finally create some openings. Christian Benteke failed to connect with a teasing Albrighton cross, Albrighton drove a shot against a post and Benteke’s header looped against the crossbar. But for Villa, the damage was already done.


Aston Villa (4-3-3): Guzan; Lowton (Albrighton, 56), Clark, Baker, Bertrand (Bennett, 74); Bacuna, Westwood, Delph; Weimann (Holt, 71), Benteke, Agbonlahor.

West Ham Utd (4-5-1): Adrian; Demel, Collins, Tomkins, McCartney; Jarvis (Reid, 74), Noble, Nolan (Nocerino, 68), Taylor, Downing; C Cole (Borriello, 45).

Referee: Mike Dean.

Man of the match: Nolan (West Ham)

Match rating: 6/10

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower