Ham United have taken 13 points from a possible 15 and hushed any
talk of relegation following a measured victory against Southampton
despite the visitors recording more than 68 per cent of possession.
Goals from Matt Jarvis, Carlton Cole and Kevin Nolan after Maya Yoshida had
put Saints ahead, lifted the Hammers to 31 points, seven clear of the bottom
They had kept four consecutive clean sheets for the first time in their
Premier League history but Saints took only eight minutes to break down
The goal was created by the fleet-footed Adam Lallana, who was upended by
James Tompkins. Steven Davis whipped in the resulting free-kick, headed in
by Yoshida with little Hammers’ resistance. It was the Japanese defender’s
first league goal.
West Ham were not behind for long and their equaliser was also simple in
creation. Nolan lofted a long pass beyond the Southampton back four and into
the path of Jarvis who slid the ball gently beyond Artur Boruc with Luke
Shaw appealing in vain for offside.
Minutes later, they were ahead following a Stewart Downing corner. Guy Demel
rose to head the delivery onto the post and Cole reacted quickest to convert
the rebound. It was a timely reminder from Cole, with Andy Carroll serving
the last game of his suspension.
Sam Allardyce admitted that he tried to sign the “outstanding” Rickie Lambert
last month and the striker almost had Saints level after half an hour but
saw his header rebound off the post, following Jack Cork’s cross.
This was a clash of two distinctly different approaches with West Ham posing a
constant threat from long balls and set-pieces and Southampton playing in
triangles between the obdurate Hammers’ lines.
The second half was played almost entirely in the West Ham half, with Cole a
superfluous spectator in the home attack. The visitors almost equalised as
Shaw burst into the penalty area and centred for Lallana, but the Saints’
captain lost his footing at the crucial moment.
West Ham then struck again on the counter, with Downing crossing for Cole, who
deflected the ball off his shoulder for Nolan to volley home and guarantee
Mark Clattenburg was officiating his first Southampton fixture since the club
asked him not to be appointed to their games following an alleged comment
made to Lallana. The Southampton captain was the only player booked but
there was no complaint and the two shook hands, indicating a détente to the
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Adrian 7; Demel 7, Collins 6, Tomkins 7, McCartney
6; Noble 8, Taylor 6; Downing 7, Nolan 7 (Reid 73), Jarvis 7 (Diame 56); C
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Armero, Collison, J Cole, Nocerino
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Boruc 6; Chambers 7, Yoshida 7, Fonte 6, Shaw 7;
Schneiderlin 7, Cork 6 (Ramirez 62); S Davis 6 (Ward-Prowse 78), Lallana 6,
Rodriguez 6; Lambert 5 (Gallagher 78)
Subs: K Davis, Clyne, Lovren, Do Prado.
Referee: M Clattenburg (Durham)
Man of the match: Mark Noble