Result: West Ham United 1-0 Aston Villa

Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole
© PA Photos
Kevin Nolan's first-half strike gives West Ham United a narrow win over Aston Villa on their return to the top flight.

West Ham United marked their return to the Premier League by recording a narrow win over Aston Villa at Upton Park this afternoon.

Following a quiet and disappointing opening 40 minutes, the hosts took the lead courtesy of Kevin Nolan's close-range finish.

The goal was surrounded in controversy, as the assistant referee had raised his flag in the build-up - seemingly for offside against Ricardo Vaz Te.

However, referee Mike Dean correctly gave the goal as the ball had not been touched by the Portuguese.

The defeat was a little harsh on Villa, who went close to levelling the scores in the second half. Ron Vlaar and Darren Bent both headed good chances narrowly wide.

Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole
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