x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Villa grab win as referee backtracks

Kamil Zayatte's late own goal saw Aston Villa snatch a barely deserved victory at Hull, where the hosts thought they should have had a penalty.

Players surround the referee Steve Bennett as he backtracks on his original decision to give a penalty to Hull after he consulted his assistant.
Players surround the referee Steve Bennett as he backtracks on his original decision to give a penalty to Hull after he consulted his assistant.

Kamil Zayatte's late own goal saw Aston Villa snatch a barely deserved victory at Hull. Villa had been frustrated throughout a drab Barclays Premier League encounter until Zayatte turned in Ashley Young's cross in the 88th minute. In a dramatic conclusion, Hull thought they had been awarded a penalty but the referee Steve Bennett changed his mind following consultation with his assistant. Bennett initially thought Ashley Young had handled on the line following Michael Turner's header from a late corner but, much to the hosts' frustration, replays backed up the assistant with the ball having hit the bar. The result lifted Villa back into the top four and continued Hull's poor run, the Tigers have now won just once in 11 games. It will be of little consolation, but the performance was at least the one manager Phil Brown wanted after his side's Boxing Day humiliation by Manchester City. Brown reacted to that 5-1 thrashing at Eastlands by wielding the axe and making five changes. The top scorers Geovanni and Marlon King both started on the bench while George Boateng, Dean Windass and Dean Marney were dropped from the squad altogether. It made for a bitter-sweet day for Windass, 39, who earlier officially became Hull's oldest-ever goalscorer after a meeting of the league's dubious goals panel credited him with the equaliser against Portsmouth last month. Sam Ricketts, Nick Barmby, Richard Garcia, Peter Halmosi and Daniel Cousin were the men drafted in to try to get the Tigers back on track in their final match of a memorable calendar year. Villa, by contrast, were unchanged from the side which drew 2-2 with Arsenal last time out. Hull started well and had a goal disallowed with five minutes gone after an error by the Villa goalkeeper Brad Friedel. The American spilled the ball under pressure from Barmby and the makeshift right-back Nigel Reo-Coker turned it in as he struggled to clear but referee Bennett blew for an infringement. Villa, in fine form after seven games unbeaten, responded by winning two corners in quick succession but Gareth Barry put their first decent chance over. Bernard Mendy whipped in a dangerous cross for Halmosi as Hull attacked again but the Hungarian, starting for the first time in three months, could not make contact. Hull continued to press and Mendy was marginally given offside after another quick run down the right. Curtis Davies then headed unconvincingly wide of his own goal after a testing cross from the Hull captain Ian Ashbee. Hull pushed again just before the break but Friedel was reprieved after another error when Mendy was adjudged to have fouled the former Blackburn man. Chances remained few and far between in the early stages of the second half and those that there were came to little. Ashbee headed wide from a corner for Hull and Stiliyan Petrov shot well wide from distance at the other end, although he was booked for claiming there had been a deflection. Cousin carved out one good chance for Halmosi but the winger was denied by a good block by Luke Young. Cousin also laid off for Michael Turner but the defender blazed over the bar. Barry became the first to work either goalkeeper in some time after 64 minutes but his tame shot barely tested the former Villa trainee Boaz Myhill. King came off the bench to replace Cousin with 21 minutes remaining and Hull enjoyed a good spell of pressure. Yet still they could not test Friedel with Ashbee shooting well over and Barmby failing to connect with a Ricketts cross. The Tigers were caught on the counter-attack, however, as Villa snatched a late winner. Young broke clear down the left and Zayatte turned the ball into his own net. There was late drama when Hull were awarded a penalty in the final seconds after Bennett ruled Ashley Young had handled on the line only for Bennett to back-track. It left Hull's players bemused and frustrated but the decision was correct. * PA Sport