Awful defending from both sides have meant this has been an extremely open game. The home side opened the scoring after just 2 minutes when Robbie Keane was left all alone in the box to hammer home as Villa again failed to clear a corner with Ashley Young, the man on the post, not getting out the box quick enough to play the Irishman offside. Villa should have had an equaliser when Bent headed home at the back post from a clipped Downing ball. The striker was adjudged, wrongly, to have fouled Jacobsen and the goal was ruled out. The England man did get his goal though, after Noble dallied in the box and was dispossessed by Heskey, the ball made its way to Luke Young who crossed for Bent to glance a header from near post to far.
Ashley Young doesn’t get out the box after Villa failed to clear a corner, allowing Keane to hammer home after 2 mins from Hitzlsperger’s header back into the box.
Minutes later West Ham defender Da Costa felled Bent in the box but the striker was offside, a common occurrence in the opening half.
Luke Young was called into action, blocking former Villa man Carlton Cole’s shot after he was put through by Keane, the former has been a thorn in the centre-backs side all game.
Ashley Young dribbled into the box from the left but his shot deflected wide after a great cross field pass from Bent. Dunne headed harmlessly over from the resulting corner.
Da Costa then picked up an early injury after a collision of legs with Bent and was replaced by Danny Gabbidon.
Brad Friedel was out well to deny Cole latching on to an Obinna through ball but minutes later was less certain and forced Richard Dunne into a risky challenge just outside the box. The Irishman was the last man and appeared to shove Cole but nothing was given. Fortunate.
Ashley Young fired straight at Green from range before Cole was in action again, too easily bringing the ball down from an O’Neil long ball, allowed to turn, and firing towards the near post, forcing a good stop from Friedel.
O’Neil then had a chance to shoot himself after Robbie Keane slipped him through, free in the box, but the midfielder opted to cross and it was way too heavy.
Bent then thought he’d equalised, heading home at the back post from a clipped Downing cross, but the striker was adjudged to have fouled Jacobsen by Mark Halsey. Poor decision, unlucky.
At the other end once again, Obinna fired in from an angle but drew an easy save from Friedel.
Ashley Young then crossed for Bent whose header was deflected wide with former Hammer James Collins heading well over from the corner.
Villa did get the equaliser there growing pressure deserved went Bent scored a glancing header from a Luke Young cross after Heskey had dispossessed Noble in the box.
O’Neil fired wide from the edge of the box after a scramble from the corner, another common problem for the visitors, on the brink of half-time.
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