In the end just the one goal, but it could have been more. Villarreal imposed themselves on Hercules by the narrowest of margins against a side that fought tooth and nail against a Submarine that dominated throughout and were rewarded with a 36th minute strike from Argentine front man, Fernando Cavenaghi. A well-deserved win for the Yellows with a scoreline that hardly reflected the home side's dominance, but was enough to keep them in second place in Second division A.
Despite facing up to a solidly placed Hercules outfit, Villarreal started the match with spark and fluidity. Taking control of the midfield from the opening minutes they soon found themselves coming up against the Alicante side's defence that looked to close its lines and prevent the Submarine advances into their area.
With 17 minutes played a long range effort from Trigueros gave due warning to the visitors of Villarreal's intentions and just three minutes later the home side should have taken the lead when Joan Oriol's long pass found Hernan Perez who failed to score when one on one with the Hercules goalkeeper.
The game continued in the same vein with the Submarine looking to play their triangles around Hercules with the visitors looking to protect their penalty area while looking for the counter attack. With the half hour approaching, Trigueros again went close when his header from Hernan Perez's right sided cross finished just wide of the post.
And with just ten minutes to go before the interval, the Yellows finally got just reward for their domination. Trigueros received the ball on the three-quarter line before finding Mario whose low cross was met by Cavenaghi who turned beautifully before striking home his third goal of the season.
A goal to the good, Villarreal's tightened their grip on the game, with Julio Velazquez's men despite their advantage raising the pace of the game. In the 44th minute Marcos Senna went close when a thunderous shot from outside the area flew just past Falcon's post.
After the break the Yellows carried on in the same vein. With ten minutes of the second half played, a dangerous attack from the home side move culminated in Cani's impressive dead ball strike that Falcon could only deflect to Cavenaghi who was just unable to finish.
Villarreal were now controlling the game as they pleased, with long passes and good work down the flanks, but the killer goal would not come. To make matters worse it was precisely during this period that Hercules enjoyed their most dangerous moment when after a swift counter attack ex Yellow, Pere Martinez saw his effort fly over Juan Carlos's goal.
Looking to maintain his team's supremacy, Julio Velazquez introduced Pandiani and Jaume Costa as Hercules started to stretch their lines in search of an equaliser. This created more opening for the home side and Oriol, following a pass from Mellberg, had a great chance to score only to see his effort saved at the popst by Falcon. Senna also tried his luck from a free kick only to see his effort saved again by Falcon. In the end a valuable win for the Submarine and one that keeps them in second place the Second Division A.
Villarreal: Juan Carlos; Mario, Mellberg, Musacchio, Joan Oriol; Trigueros (Uche, 78'), Marcos Senna, Bruno, Cani, Hernan Perez (Jaume Costa, 71') and Cavenaghi (Pandiani, 64').
Hercules: Falcon; Pere, Mora, Cabrera, Pena, Sardinero (Raul, 80'), Escassi, Arbilla, Gilvan, Fran Merida (Sarpong, 69') and Portillo (Edu Bedia, 59').
Goals: 1-0, min. 36: Cavenaghi
Referee: Pedro Sureda Cuenca. Yellow cards for Villarreal's Hernan Perez (25'), Musacchio (53'), Marcos Senna (72') and Cani (81') and for Hercules' Pena (54') and Fran Merida (56').