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Game played on 29 Nov 1997

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West Ham: The Complete Record by Steve Marsh and John Northcutt released 27 August 2015

West Ham 2-1 Aston Villa

Premier League    1997-98
Upton Park   24,976
  SubsGoals  
1Ludek Miklosko    
2Tim Breacker    
12Keith Rowland    
6David Unsworth    
15Rio Ferdinand    
19Ian Pearce    
4Steve Potts    
24Samassi Abou    
10John Hartson 2 
29Eyal Berkovic    
11Steve Lomas    
30Paulo AlvesSubed #24   
match review copied from

West Ham 2 Aston Villa 1 By Mark Bradley, PA Sport

John Hartson piled further misery on Aston Villa at Upton Park as his second double strike of the season against the Midlands side gave West Ham a hard-earned victory.

Hartson scored twice last month when the Hammers knocked Brian Little's side out of the Coca-Cola Cup 3-0 in the third round.

And the Welsh international was the hero again in this Premiership rematch as he took his tally for the season to 16 goals with another double, confirming him as the top flight's leading scorer in all competitions.

His first goal came on 17 minutes following a long through ball from defender David Unsworth which he chested down before advancing into the area, holding off the Villa defenders and then firing the ball past keeper Michael Oakes.

Dwight Yorke responded with Villa's equaliser just a minute into the second half as he repeated his goalscoring feat from mid-week when he gave the Midlands side their vital away goal in the 2-1 defeat at Steaua Bucharest in the UEFA Cup.

But just seconds later, as the Villa fans were still celebrating, Hartson struck again.

The ball was swept quickly upfield and after again showing his strength to hold off the defenders around him, Hartson placed the ball inside the post to beat Oakes.

With Savo Milosevic missing a late chance to equalise, Hartson's goals enabled West Ham to bounce back from three consecutive Premiership defeats - all the way from home - and confirm their status as an imposing club to visit, having lost only to Newcastle at Upton Park so far this season.

West Ham had seized the early initiative in the game, even though boss Harry Redknapp had been forced to re-shuffle his side in the absence of flu victim Frank Lampard, Andy Impey and John Moncur, with central defender Steve Potts pushed into midfield.

As early as the second minute, former French under 21 striker Samassi Abou was put clear by a Hartson flick-on but succeeded in only getting a toe to the ball six yards out while under pressure and Oakes saved with his outstretched leg.

Hartson blazed the ball wildly over the bar from 15 yards shortly before his goal, which then stung Villa into action.

They upped the tempo with Gary Charles hitting the side netting, Milosevic directing a diving header straight at Ludek Miklosko and Mark Draper forcing the keeper into a diving save with a 20-yard shot.

Yorke put Villa back into the game a minute after the re-start, slotting the ball past the West Ham keeper following a delightful one-two on the edge of the area with Milosevic.

But after Hartson's second had given the lead back to West Ham, Villa keeper Oakes had to produce three stunning saves to keep the Hammers at bay.

First, he dived low to his left to palm away a curling shot from Abou, then he reproduced his heroics from the corner to save the same man's header.

Shortly afterwards, on 65 minutes, the stand in keeper - replacing Mark Bosnich who is away on international duty with Australia - denied Hartson his hat-trick with yet another flying save.

Villa responded and bombarded the West Ham goal in the final 15 minutes but striker Stan Collymore's nightmare run continued as he completely missed the ball when it was crossed to him just six yards out with the goal seemingly at his mercy.

Milosevic was then denied when Miklosko saved his goal-bound header and the Czech keeper had to be at his best yet again to save from Draper with just seven minutes left when the midfielder powered in a drive from outside the area.

Then, in the dying seconds, the ball fell to Milosevic in the area but after steadying himself and evading one challenge, he struck the ball not only past the keeper but also just a few inches past the far post.

Teams

West Ham: Miklosko, Breacker, Unsworth, Ferdinand, Pearce, Berkovic, Lomas, Rowland, Potts, Abou (Alves 69), Hartson.

Subs Not Used: Forrest, Dowie, Terrier, Mean.

Booked: Hartson.

Goals: Hartson 18, 48.

Aston Villa: Oakes, Charles, Wright, Ehiogu, Staunton, Scimeca (Grayson 46), Nelson, Draper, Milosevic, Yorke, Collymore.

Subs Not Used: Rachel, Joachim, Hendrie, Curcic.

Goals: Yorke 47.

Att: 24,976

Ref: P E Alcock (Redhill).

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much respect to John Northcutt, Roy Shoesmith, Jack Helliar, John Helliar, Tony Hogg, Tony Brown, Fred Loveday, Andrew Loveday, Steve Bacon, Steve Marsh and all past/current West Ham players and supporters