Premier League
Aston VillaAston Villa1West HamWest Ham United0

Aston Villa 1-0 West Ham United

By Mike WhalleyBBC Sport
Tom Cleverley
Tom Cleverley had also scored against Manchester City and Everton
  • Villa move four points clear of danger
  • One more win will secure survival
  • West Ham without a goal in three games
  • Hammers drop to 10th place

Tom Cleverley's third goal in successive games gave Aston Villa a huge push towards Premier League safety as they beat West Ham.

The midfielder scored from close range after Jack Grealish's cut-back on 31 minutes to move Villa four points clear of the bottom three.

West Ham were livelier in the second half after an awful opening 45 minutes.

Striker Enner Valencia headed in a cross from Brazilian substitute Nene, but was judged marginally offside.

Victory means that Villa will secure their Premier League status with a win at Southampton next Saturday, regardless of results elsewhere.

Tim Sherwood's side faced a nervous final 20 minutes after failing to build a bigger lead during a dominant first half.

Perm two from five: the relegation run-in
10 May16 May20 May24 May
Aston Villa (38 pts)-Southampton (A)-Burnley (H)
Leicester (37 pts)-Sunderland (A)-QPR (H)
Sunderland (36 pts)-Leicester (H)Arsenal (A)Chelsea (A)
Newcastle (36 pts)-QPR (A)-West Ham (H)
Hull (34 pts)-Tottenham (A)-Man Utd (H)
QPR (27 pts)Man City (A)Newcastle (H)-Leicester (A)
*Burnley (29 pts with two games to play) are relegated

But the FA Cup finalists were well worth their third win in four league matches, with Grealish a creative threat and Christian Benteke's power causing problems.

Villa scrapped for win - Sherwood

There was positive news too with the return from a hamstring injury of second-half substitute Gabby Agbonlahor, who missed a late chance to mark his return with a goal, after being sent clear by Grealish.

West Ham felt they should have had a first-half penalty as Valencia was dragged down by Leandro Bacuna as they contested Morgan Amalfitano's corner, but referee Lee Mason ruled instead that Kevin Nolan had fouled Villa keeper Shay Given.

Hammers manager Sam Allardyce also protested over the ruling out of Valencia's goal, believing that the Ecuador international was level with the last defender when he headed in midway through the second half.

Goal-shy Hammers
West Ham have managed just four Premier League away goals in 2015 - the joint-lowest total in the division, shared with Newcastle and Hull.

But Villa had seen several chances come and go by then, with Hammers keeper Adrian punching out a Cleverley volley, Benteke slicing wide after finding space and Fabian Delph firing straight at the keeper before the goal arrived.

Hammers' cutting edge missing - Allardyce

West Ham, who have struggled for goals in recent weeks, did look more of a threat after Alex Song and Nene had replaced Amalfitano and Nolan at half-time.

Nene was just off target with a couple of long-range efforts, while Given had to turn over former Villa defender James Collins' looping header from a corner late in the game.

Villa, though, secured a win - and look to have done enough to ensure that, should former Chelsea business director Paul Smith's planned £150m takeover go through, he will be buying a Premier League club.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood: "I've no interest in other results. I've said that for weeks and weeks. It's in our own hands. We do our job. We win.

"Today wasn't pretty, but we scrapped it out. We thoroughly deserved the win, no question about that.

"When I have a cup of tea and watch this game back on Monday, I'll be quite comfortable watching it."

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce: "Our cutting edge has been missing for many weeks. We don't have anybody who can score a goal.

"It doesn't matter how many chances we create, we're not scoring. We'll struggle to win a game between now and the end of the season if we can't score a goal."

Jack Grealish and Aaron Cresswell
Aston Villa enjoyed more of the chances - with 14 shots at goal to West Ham's five
Alex Song and Jack Grealish
Alex Song was involved in a second-half confrontation with Villa youngster Jack Grealish
Shay Given and Ron Vlaar
Villa kept their first home league clean sheet since 1 January
Tim Sherwood
Victory over Southampton or Burnley will ensure safety for Villa, regardless of other results

Line-ups

Aston Villa

  • 31Given
  • 7BacunaSubstituted forHuttonat 77'minutes
  • 5Okore
  • 4Vlaar
  • 18Richardson
  • 8Cleverley
  • 15Westwood
  • 16Delph
  • 28N'ZogbiaBooked at 45minsSubstituted forAgbonlahorat 71'minutes
  • 20Benteke
  • 40GrealishSubstituted forC Sánchezat 90+2'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Guzan
  • 10Weimann
  • 11Agbonlahor
  • 12Cole
  • 14Senderos
  • 21Hutton
  • 24C Sánchez

West Ham

  • 13Adrián
  • 18Jenkinson
  • 19Collins
  • 32Burke
  • 3Cresswell
  • 16NobleSubstituted forColeat 78'minutes
  • 8Kouyaté
  • 11Downing
  • 4NolanSubstituted forSongat 45'minutesBooked at 72mins
  • 21AmalfitanoSubstituted forde Carvalhoat 45'minutes
  • 31E Valencia

Substitutes

  • 7Jarvis
  • 12de Carvalho
  • 17O'Brien
  • 22Jääskeläinen
  • 24Cole
  • 30Song
  • 39Cullen
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
39,294

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamWest Ham
Possession
Home58%
Away42%
Shots
Home14
Away6
Shots on Target
Home5
Away1
Corners
Home2
Away6
Fouls
Home6
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aston Villa 1, West Ham United 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, West Ham United 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Tom Cleverley (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Fabian Delph.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. James Collins (West Ham United) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Stewart Downing with a cross following a corner.

  5. Post update

    Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Alan Hutton.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Aston Villa. Carlos Sánchez replaces Jack Grealish.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jack Grealish.

  8. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  9. Post update

    Delay in match Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) because of an injury.

  10. Post update

    Shay Given (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by James Collins (West Ham United).

  12. Post update

    Foul by Alan Hutton (Aston Villa).

  13. Post update

    Enner Valencia (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ashley Westwood (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Tom Cleverley (Aston Villa).

  16. Post update

    Nenê (West Ham United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, West Ham United. Carlton Cole replaces Mark Noble.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Aston Villa. Alan Hutton replaces Leandro Bacuna.

  19. Booking

    Alexandre Song (West Ham United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  20. Post update

    Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.