Lambert hails 'huge win' as Aston Villa edge past West Ham

The Villans boss was relieved to hold on to all three points and end an eight-game winless streak, while his counterpart Sam Allardyce highlighted Brad Guzan's performance as key

Paul Lambert has spoken of his delight after Aston Villa edged a tight encounter against West Ham to earn their first win since December.

Following an opening 45 minutes of little excitement, the Villans broke the deadlock midway through the second half through a Christian Benteke penalty before Charles N'Zogbia curled home a stunning free kick to secure the win.

Villa have conceded leads and last-gasp goals on a number of occasions this season, and Lambert was relieved at the three points, despite Ashley Westwood’s own goal two minutes from time setting up a nervous final few moments.

He told reporters: "That was a huge win, especially with yesterday's results. We've been in positions where we were a couple of goals off, if we'd won them we'd be sitting comfortably in midtable.

"The players certainly deserve a lot of a credit for what they've done today. The defence was excellent, some of them have had long weeks away with international games they've had a tough week and I'm delighted for them.

"I think that will be huge for us. The players have taken a lot of knocks this year, but football is funny, and we're only three points behind Newcastle now."

Meanwhile, West Ham boss Sam Allardyce bemoaned his side's fortune in front of goal, but was quick to praise the efforts of opposition goalkeeper Brad Guzan who made a number of fine saves late on to preserve the points for Villa.

He said: "We should not even be in his position with the way we played in the second half. We've put ourselves in that position and had a few good chances to save it, I have to say though it wasn't poor finishing it was great goalkeeping from Guzan.

"We've created loads and loads of clear cut chances. We did all we can try and win the game, but we've not been clinical enough to do that.

"We gifted them a soft penalty, we really shouldn't be in a position for that to hurt us that much. The overall situation is, we're disappointed we've lost and because of the way we've played. This league will punish you."