Selasa, 30 Desember 2008

Hull 0-1 Aston Villa

Gabriel Agbonlahor
Anguish for Hull, but delight for the Villa

Aston Villa regained fourth place in the table after a late own goal by Kamil Zayatte gave them victory.

Nicky Barmby had the ball in the net in the first half after Brad Friedel dropped a cross but the goal was ruled out for a foul on the goalkeeper.

Villa sneaked the win when Zayatte turned Ashley Young's cross into his own net with two minutes left.

Hull thought they had won a penalty for a handball by Ashley Young in injury time but the decision was reversed.

Referee Steve Bennett initially looked to have given a spot-kick but changed his mind after consulting with his assistant.

It might have been a cruel blow for Hull, but replays showed the ball hit only the bar and not the player's hand after it had looped goalwards off Luke Young.

Yet Hull will feel devastated to have been beaten in a game that neither side looked like they wanted to win.

Early on, Barmby briefly thought he had scored when he tucked the ball into an empty net but the goal was ruled out for his challenge on keeper Friedel, who had dropped the ball.

Hull, who had conceded nine goals in their last two matches and won only once in their last 10 games, were understandably cautious.

They sat deep, allowing Villa to stroke the ball around at the back, and neither side attempted to lift the pace.

It made for a dismal first half, with most of the play compressed into the middle third of the pitch and consequently there was a dearth of scoring opportunities.

In rare moment of goalmouth action Curtis Davies cut out a cross and narrowly missed his own goal with his header.

Little changed after the break as the tempo remained pedestrian and quality continued to be in short supply.

Neither goalkeeper had much to do and their biggest challenge must have been how to stay warm on a bitterly cold night.

Barmby should have at least made Friedel work when he got on the end of Bernard Mendy's cross but he headed the ball straight at Nigel Reo-Coker.

But there was harsh twist of fate to come, when two minutes from time Zayatte poked the ball home at the near post as he tried to clear Ashley Young's cross.

If that was not tough enough on Hull, they will feel even more frustrated after it seemed they had been awarded a penalty shortly after only to have it taken away.

The result leaves Villa level on points with third-placed Manchester United - and three points ahead of Arsenal, who they leapfrogged.

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill on the late penalty drama:
"It wasn't a penalty.

"I'm delighted the right decision has been made and pleased we've won.

"We didn't play well, we struggled to create things but we just keep putting pressure on the sides around us."

Hull boss Phil Brown on the same incident:
"It's a tough one. The referee got it wrong because he gave it originally.

"The linesman took up a position that he was giving the penalty but for some reason they've changed their mind between them.

"The referee is 15 yards away but he consults a linesman who was 40 yards away from the incident."

Hull: Myhill, McShane, Turner, Zayatte, Ricketts, Mendy, Garcia (Fagan 89), Ashbee, Halmosi, Barmby (Hughes 85), Cousin (King 69).
Subs Not Used: Duke, Doyle, Geovanni, Giannakopoulos.

Booked: Zayatte.

Aston Villa: Friedel, Reo-Coker, Knight, Davies, Luke Young, Milner, Sidwell (Gardner 86), Petrov, Barry, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor.
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Harewood, Delfouneso, Salifou, Shorey, Osbourne.

Booked: Barry, Petrov.

Goals: Zayatte 88 og.

Att: 24,727

Ref: Steve Bennett (Kent).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Aston Villa's Ashley Young 6.81 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

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