Sam Allardyce hails 'new Platt' after Kevin Nolan hammers home

West Ham 1 Villa 0

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The Independent Football

Kevin Nolan was compared to the former England midfielder David Platt by manager Sam Allardyce following the captain's decisive goal in West Ham's 1-0 victory over Aston Villa. The 30-year-old was presented with a simple finish by Ricardo Vaz Te, but what impressed Allardyce was his ability to "ghost into the box".

"I have never heard the gaffer say that about me before but it is a compliment, obviously, as David was a great goalscorer throughout his career," Nolan said. "I haven't modelled myself on him I must admit but I wouldn't mind his record of goalscoring when I eventually finish."

Nolan's goal came with a hint of controversy, with Aston Villa convinced Vaz Te had been offside when Mark Noble's free-kick fell to him.

Assistant referee Simon Long initially raised his flag but then changed his mind and Villa's manager, Paul Lambert, accepted that it had been the right decision in the end.

For Villa, Darren Bent was never a threat as the Hammers centre-back James Collins shone against the club he had left just a fortnight ago.

"It's been a very, very good day for us because we won our first game of the season," Allardyce said. "A good start is so important to a team such as us, because it helps secure your Premier position as early as possible."

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