Saints 1-1 West Ham: Report

By SFC Media Sat 13 Apr Club

Mauricio Pochettino’s men were held by the Hammers after taking the lead in a hard-fought draw at St Mary’s.

After a scrappy and goalless first half, in which neither side could assert control on the game, Southampton got themselves in front just before the hour mark when Gaston Ramirez fired home at the second time of asking to put the hosts on course for a fourth consecutive win.

The omens were good with Saints only beaten on one occasion in their previous ten meetings with United at home, but the hosts were to be denied all three points just seven minutes after getting themselves in front.

A harshly awarded free-kick against Jos Hooiveld on Mohamed Diame paved the way for a short pass into the path of Andy Carroll, who smashed a low strike under the wall and past the outstretched hand of Artur Boruc to level the scores up.

A more flowing end to the game with both teams pushing for a winner, couldn’t yield any further goals, as Saints moved on to five matches unbeaten. 

Saints: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fox, Lallana (Rodriguez 72), Cork, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Ramirez (Puncheon 79), Lambert. Subs (not used): K. Davis, Fonte, Ward-Prowse, Guly, Mayuka

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Tomkins (Pogatetz 64), O'Brien, O'Neil, Diame, Nolan, Jarvis (Collison 57), Vaz Te (Taylor 85), Carroll. Subs (not used): Henderson, Potts, Cole, Paulista

Referee: Mike Dean

Attendance: 31,984 (including 2,740 away)

Saints recalled Danny Fox at left back in the absence of Luke Shaw who missed out through illness.

Adam Lallana returned to the starting eleven and captained the side, whilst Emmanuel Mayuka was back in the squad and named amongst the substitutes.

Visitors West Ham got the match underway in their changed strip of all blue, with Saints defending the Chapel stand on a dull and rain-swept afternoon on the south coast.

It was a busy opening to the game with a lively atmosphere amongst the home supporters who greeted their opponents’ passes with a cry of ‘hoof’ as they sought to pick out giant frontman Andy Carroll.

And inside the opening two minutes of action it was Southampton, ‘who play on the floor’ according to the home faithful that got forward to unsettle United at the back. A terrific through-ball from Gaston Ramirez picked out Steven Davis, who in turn found Lallana running into the area, but the skipper was thwarted by a couple of slide challenges as he took aim for goal.

In the seventh minute of play Artur Boruc was called into action for the first time as he got down to his left for a smart reaction save on the back of a free-kick.

A couple of minutes later, Ricardo Vaz Te  hit a fierce rising shot which flashed narrowly over the top of Boruc’s crossbar, before the hosts went back on the offensive, with Lallana and Ramirez once more involved.

After a lengthy midfield battle, Saints turned the screw with Jack Cork twice making rare ventures into the opponents’ area, and forcing the issue. The latter of which on 17 saw the midfielder link up delightfully with Lallana on the edge of the box, but Cork couldn’t quite stretch to finish his teammates’ low cross, with the whole of the Northam stand willing him on to do so as he continued to wait for his first goal in Saints colours.

Danny Fox followed Morgan Schneiderlin into the book in the 25th minute with the Frenchman having harshly been cautioned for going to the ground too easily in the game’s opening exchanges.

Fox saw yellow for his sliding challenge on Guy Demel which was awarded despite the full back winning the ball, but the momentum generated from the full back’s glide across the sodden surface made the tackle look more forceful.

Just after the half hour, Saints tested the Hammers once more when Lambert’s pass across the area picked out Lallana, whose shot rebounded out to Steven Davis, with the Northern Irishman’s shot deflected out for the first of two corners taken in quick succession by Ramirez for the hosts, neither of which came to anything, as the visitors rode out the storm.

Moments later though, a stinging Ramirez delivery from a free-kick on the right went all the way across to the far post where Lambert connected to it with an outstretched boot. The ball was heading or the bottom left corner of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s goal, only for the Finland national to claw it away on the line, though it would have been a test for the new goal line technology proposed for next season, which was announced earlier this week.

The contest became a more agitated affair following a series of unsavoury confrontations involving Hammers players Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll, the latter of which was booked for continued dissent towards the match official.

In the last five minutes of the half, captains Nolan and Lallana were involved in a scuffle that resulted with Saints gaining an opportunity from a free-kick on the edge of the box, but Ramirez’s curling delivery couldn’t pick out a red shirt.

The Hammers developed some time-wasting tactics in the closing stages of the half, but Saints were not far away from ending the opening 45 in style when Cork picked out Lambert inside the area, and the striker’s header whizzed narrowly wide of the left post.

Half Time: Saints 0-0 West Ham

Lallana and Schneiderlin resumed the action with a gale still blowing around the stadium as the hosts searched for an early strike in the new half, though the conditions were not conducive to either side’s style of play as the ball spent much of its time in midfield.

A quick break involving Clyne down the right side saw the full back tease the Hammers backline again by getting to the byline, only for his cross to evade everyone in a red shirt as the visitors had a let-off.

Saints were living dangerously themselves a few moments later though as a poorly defended corner bounced up kindly for Carroll, but the striker couldn’t find the target as he swivelled and struck a volley wide of the far post as he went to ground.

On 57 West Ham made their first substitution of the afternoon with Jack Collison replacing winger Matt Jarvis as the Hammers altered their shape in midfield slightly with the sub playing in a more central role.

Two minutes later Saints were a goal up when RAMIREZ advanced towards the area. His first effort was blocked, but the ball broke kindly back to the Uruguayan who kept his cool to finish past Jaaskelainen with an unerring strike into the middle of the goal.

The hosts had to be immediately on their guard at the other end though when a cross into the box hung up in the air inside the six yard box, before Jack Cork stretched back to make a goal saving clearing header.

Back at the Chapel end, Ramirez was unfortunate not to do better when his fierce strike was deflected out for a corner.

Soon after, United were forced into their second change of the afternoon when centre back Tomkins limped off, with Emanuel Pogatetz replacing him.

In the 66th minute, West Ham drew level. Jos Hooivled’s challenge on Diame produced a free-kick around 30 yards from goal. A short lay off into the path of CARROLL saw the striker smash a drilled shot which went under the wall and into the net past the outstretched arm of Boruc for an unlikely leveller.

The Hammers goal scorer was involved in a clash of heads with Morgan Schneiderlin on halfway, but both men were ok to carry on.

On 72 skipper Lallana went off, with Jay Rodriguez taking his place for the final 20 minutes or so.

The striker was immediately involved as he burst forward down the right flank where he was brought down by a cynical challenge. Ramirez, however couldn’t put the set piece on target for the hosts as the ball flew over Jaaskelainen’s goal.

Rodriguez again set about inflicting damage on the visitors with another charge forward which was abruptly ended, before the frontman attempted to conjure up a shot from nothing which he skewed wide.

The game opened out following the Hammers’ equaliser with the action sweeping from end-to-end. Carroll tested Boruc after getting the better of Yoshida and Hooiveld, though a slip from the forward halted his progress as he was unable to make the most of the opportunity. 

In the 79th minute, Saints goal scorer Ramirez was replaced by Jason Puncheon with the contest firmly in the balance as both teams pushed on in search of a winner.

The defensive block from Carroll on Rodriguez inside the Hammers area showed a desire form the visitors not to concede again though, as Saints ramped up the pressure late on.

Another advance into the final third saw Fox flattened by Vaz Te as the full back attempted to cross for Lambert, a tackle which saw the Hammers man booked, prior to lambert’s set piece striking the wall.

Vaz Te was switched for ex Pompey man Matt Taylor for the final five minutes with the visitors shoring themselves up to secure a point. 

Pochettino’s men surged forward in the closing stages with four minutes added on for stoppages with Puncheon going close to turning in a rebound from Rodriguez’s shot, though the offside flag was raised as Jaaskelainen scrambled across to make the save.

The final whistle was sounded soon after as both team settled for a point.

Full Time: Saints 1-1 West Ham 

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