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Aston Villa snatch vital Premier League point against wasteful West Ham in 0-0 draw

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LONDON — Aston Villa ended a six-match losing streak and snatched a vital point in the Premier League, holding on for a hard-earned 0-0 draw against West Ham on Saturday.

West Ham dominated and had plenty of chances to win at Upton Park, but sloppy finishing and resolute Villa defending prevented the home side from scoring.

"It was a really great point," Villa manager Paul Lambert said. "To come to a ground where Liverpool and Manchester City have been beaten recently, it's a massive point for us."

The Hammers squandered numerous opportunities, with midfielder Stewart Downing and striker Enner Valencia forcing fine saves from Villa keeper Brad Guzan, and Diafra Sakho heading several times over the crossbar.

Guzan kept out a goal-bound header in injury time from substitute Andy Carroll, playing his first match of the season following an ankle injury.

PHOTO: West Ham United's Andy Carroll, left, makes an attempt at goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at Upton Park, London, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Stephen Pond, PA Wire)    UNITED KINGDOM OUT    -   NO SALES    -    NO ARCHIVES
West Ham United's Andy Carroll, left, makes an attempt at goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Aston Villa at Upton Park, London, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Stephen Pond, PA Wire) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES

West Ham started confidently, with on-loan Barcelona midfielder Alex Song providing the industry, and Downing the craft.

The first real chance of the match, however, fell to Villa as striker Gabriel Agbonlahor skipped past James Collins only to blast over the bar from close range.

Villa center backs Ron Vlaar and Nathan Baker stoutly marshalled the visitors' defense. But West Ham soon found space on the flanks following the type of probing and patient buildup play not normally associated with manager Sam Allardyce.

West Ham nearly had a winner, but fullback Carl Jenkinson headed straight at Guzan as the east London team continued to press and carve out chance after chance.

"We couldn't have done anything more in terms of chances created," Allardyce said. "Our finishing was a little disappointing considering how good it's been this season."

The result ended an appalling run of form for Villa, which lost six consecutive matches after beating Liverpool on Sept. 13. Villa is two points above the relegation zone in 16th place with 11 points. West Ham provisionally moved into 4th with 18 points.

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PHOTO: West Ham United's Alex Song, right, and Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor compete for the ball during their English Premier League soccer match at Upton Park, London, Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Stephen Pond, PA Wire)    UNITED KINGDOM OUT     -    NO SALES    -    NO ARCHIVES
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