Football: West Ham avoid more misfortune at home

 West Ham United's Winston Reid and Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar compete for the ball during the English Premier League match at Upton Park, London on Saturday, Nov 2, 2013. West Ham avoided a fourth consecutive home defeat with a goalless draw
 West Ham United's Winston Reid and Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar compete for the ball during the English Premier League match at Upton Park, London on Saturday, Nov 2, 2013. West Ham avoided a fourth consecutive home defeat with a goalless draw against Aston Villa at Upton Park on Saturday. -- PHOTO: AP 

LONDON (AFP) - West Ham avoided a fourth consecutive home defeat with a goalless draw against Aston Villa at Upton Park on Saturday.

The stalemate means Paul Lambert's Villa have now gone six hours without scoring in the Premier League.

Villa arguably came the closest to nicking three points when Christian Benteke's late effort was denied by West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen's quick reflexes.

The back to full fitness Belgian striker had another live opportunity to break the deadlock, his 71st minute header smacking the underside of the West Ham crossbar.

An entertaining first half produced few real chances and it was largely a case of more of the same after the break.

The Hammers had two lukewarm chances early in the second half, Ravel Morrison's shot blocked by Villa defender Nathan Baker, then Kevin Nolan fired high.

Lambert was forced into a change of personnel when Andreas Weimann limped off with a hamstring injury, Czech Republic striker Libor Kozak coming on in his place.

The result pushed West Ham, who have already claimed the scalp of Tottenham this season, up a place into 14th place, one point behind Villa whose last win was back in September against Manchester City.