Aston Villa were once again left on the wrong side of a VAR decision as they fell to a 2-1 defeat to West Ham at the London Stadium.

Ollie Watkins thought he had made amends for an earlier penalty miss by rescuing his side a well-earned point when he fired home in the first minute of injury time.

However, the Villans were to be left disappointed as the video assistant technology deemed the striker to be in an offside position by the finest of margins, bringing consecutive defeats for Dean Smith’s side.

Villa’s last outing in the capital ended in a highly impressive 3-0 win over Arsenal, although on their return to London this time, they fell behind within the opening two minutes.  

An in-swinging corner was met by the rising Angelo Ogbonna who powered his header past a helpless Emiliano Martinez from six yards out, resulting in the first league goal conceded on the road by the Villans this season.

The visitors began to work their way into the game and had their first chance in the 20th minute off the back of a well worked corner routine. Left back, Matt Targett picked out Ezri Konsa in the middle but the centre back was unable to guide his header beneath the bar.

Connor Hourihane returned to the starting 11 for the first time since September, as he was brought in to replace the injured Ross Barkley. The Irishman was next to go close, as his powerful effort from a free kick forced the experienced, Lukasz Fabianksi into a save.   

After a spell of chances, Villa did level in the 25th minute through an impressive solo goal by captain, Jack Grealish. The England international drove at the Hammers defence from halfway before unleashing a right footed strike into the corner. 

Once again, Villa’s number ten was on target at the London Stadium, after his all-important goal secured Premier League survival on the final day of last season. 

Since signing in the summer, Watkins has made an immediate impact, scoring eight in all competitions. It looked as though his stabbed shot had edged Villa in front eight minutes before the break but his effort narrowly crept wide to the relief of a scampering Fabianski.   

David Moyes would have been determined not to concede his first defeat in eight games to Villa, and it was one of his half time changes that helped restore his sides lead 30 seconds into the second half.  

Substitute, Said Benrahma, made an immediate haunting impact on his former manager, as he found Jarrod Bowen in the middle who steered his header away from Martinez who was given no chance. 

Aston Villa began to take control of the game and were denied a leveller by the Hammers shot-stopper. Grealish found Watkins out wide and his ball looked set to be finished by Trezeguet who could only direct the ball into the body of the keeper.  

Villa were left frustrated in their defeat to Brighton last weekend after the overturning of a late penalty decision denied them a potential point. This time out though, they were awarded a penalty 15 minutes from the end when Peter Bankes pointed to the spot after Trezeguet was tugged down by Rice.

Ollie Watkins was unable to convert as his spot kick clattered back off the bar.

Villa continued their search for an equaliser and it looked as though their efforts had been rewarded in the first of five minutes added on, when an inch perfect ball from the left was fired home by Watkins. 

Although, after a near three minute consultation with VAR, the goal was ruled out due to Watkins being deemed millimetres offside. There were claims the striker had been fouled into an offside position by a West Ham centre back- although it wasn’t to be.

Villa will look to bounce back from two defeats and continue their best start to a Premier League season when they host Newcastle United under the Friday night lights at Villa Park, where a win could take Dean Smith’s side into the top four.   

West Ham starting line up
Aston Villa starting line up

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said: “We were great tonight. We’re coming out and playing West Ham off the park on their own place and yes we haven’t gone back with anything, we should do. VAR cost us, but also the fact that we didn’t take our chances.”

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