Late VAR agony for Watkins as West Ham beat Aston Villa 2-1

Stoppage-time equaliser ruled offside after long deliberation

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Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins missed a penalty then had a stoppage-time equaliser ruled out by VAR for the narrowest of offside calls as West Ham held on for a 2-1 win to move into fifth in the English Premier League on Monday.

Watkins thought he made amends for his 74th-minute failure from the spot, where he struck the crossbar, when he side-footed home a finish from a left-wing cross at the start of five minutes of additional time.

The video assistant referee spent about three minutes deliberating whether his outstretched arm made him offside and finally reached the decision, much to the striker’s disgust.

Watkins might have had his arm out because he was trying to shrug off West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna, who had his arms around the striker inside the penalty area.

“We’ve had a goal disallowed for a part of the body that can’t score a goal anyway,” Villa manager Dean Smith said.

“The only reason his arm is out there is because he’s getting fouled.

"I don’t understand that. If his arm is out there because he’s getting fouled, that’s a penalty.”

West Ham manager David Moyes complained that the decision took too long to be reached and felt it was offside all along.

“I had one quick glance and it looked offside to me,” Moyes said. “Those small things went for us tonight.”

West Ham’s goals came right at the start of each half, with Ogbonna heading home a corner inside the first two minutes and Jarrod Bowen flicking in a header within a minute into the second half.

Jack Grealish scored a deflected shot between those goals for Villa, which could have moved into the top four with a win.