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.

Line-ups:

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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings