Date: 19th April 2009 at 9:51am
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A well-earnt point, hard fought for by our reserve team. Kovac didn’t make it in the end, so it was the same team that lost to Spurs last week.

This was a good game, with both teams playing some good-looking football. It did look as though Villa would go on to win after Heskey slotted home after good work from Milner in the 11th minute. However, this was not the case, as we knuckled down, concentrated on our passing, and got ourselves back into the match.

We had chances early on in the game ourselves, with Stanislas not making the most of the two chances that fell to him. Apart from these two chances, and an off-the-target Di Michele effort, the first half was mostly Villa pressure. They should have gone two-nil up when Mark Noble hit a terrible back pass only to let Heskey in, luckily the big lump does not often score two in one game, and hit the post.

After half an hour Zola replaced Collins with Dyer, which added some much needed zip to the team. Dyer is beginning to regain his fitness, and looks sharp.

The second half saw us improve, and as the game drifted on, it was always feasible we were going to equalise. The equaliser came late in the game, with Diego Tristan cleaverly deflecting in a wayward shot from Dyer. Tristan is old and slow, but his quick thinking got us a point.

Aston Villa: Friedel, Luke Young, Davies, Cuellar, Shorey, Milner (Gardner 81), Petrov, Barry, Ashley Young, Heskey (Delfouneso 71), Carew.
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Sidwell, Knight, Salifou, Reo-Coker.

Booked: Ashley Young, Petrov.

Goals: Heskey 11.

West Ham: Green, Tomkins, Upson, Collins (Dyer 33), Ilunga, Neill, Boa Morte, Stanislas (Nsereko 74), Noble, Di Michele (Sears 81), Tristan.
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Lopez, Payne, Hines.

Booked: Noble, Boa Morte, Upson.

Martin O’Neill:
‘It definitely feels like two points dropped. We created so many chances but the ball just wouldn’t fall for us.

‘We gave everything we possibly could but at 1-0 West Ham were always in it and they’ve snatched a point in the end. We’ve played well, provided plenty of entertainment, but at the end of the day it’s a results business and we suffered for not converting our chances.

‘It came down to the fact we couldn’t get that elusive second goal. However, the Tomkins handball at the end was a clear, clear penalty and that would have given us a valuable three points.

‘The games are running out now so this is clearly a bad blow in our bid to reach that fourth spot.’

Gianfranco Zola:
‘I’m delighted with a point. It was a very entertaining game and there were chances at both ends.

‘We had a couple of chances, and conceded a lot of chances too, but it was that sort of game – wonderful.

‘We are down to our bare bones – much like a lot of this season – but I don’t complain. At the end of the day perhaps I should be happy with a point.’