Hammers Clinch Saints Point
By Tom Dowsett
Monday 16 Sep 2013 14:09:00
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Last season when West Ham United went to St Mary's they came away with a share of the spoils. Their latest encounter at Southampton on Sunday afternoon ended with both teams taking another point, only this time it was goalless.

The Hammers were without Joe Cole who had picked up an injury in training the day before the loss to Stoke City, other than that Sam Allardyce only made one change from the team that played last time out, Ravel Morrison finally made his first Premier League start in place of the injured Stewart Downing.

It was the visitors who made the better start to the game and they should have grabbed an early advantage when Mohamed Diame's shot was palmed away by Saints' goalkeeper Artur Boruc just seven minutes in.

Mauricio Pochettino's side went on the attack four minutes later, as Jay Rodriguez set up Pablo Daniel Osvaldo but just as the travelling support thought their side had gone a goal down Jussi Jaaskelainen produced a stupendous save to keep the scores level.

The major incident occurred on 31 minutes when Matt Jarvis latched on to Kevin Nolan's pass but was flagged offside. When play continued, the Hammers forced Boruc into a flying save. Then the club captain had the ball in the net but it was disallowed for offside. Referee Andre Marriner made a wrong decision, but it was extremely marginal.

There was a moment of controversy on 34 minutes when Morgan Schneiderlin went in two-footed on Diame and didn't even give the Frenchman a yellow card.

The half ended with both teams having good chances to go in front, but when the whistle blew, the deadlock was yet to be broken.

The second half got off a action packed start as on 48 minutes Mark Noble's freekick caused panic in the home side's defence but they needn't of worried as the visitors couldn't make the most of the opportunity. At the other end, Jaaskelainen was forced to perform heroics again as he tipped Victor Wanyama's shot over the bar and Mr Marriner gave a corner.

From the corner, Saints frontman Rickie Lambert raced into space and took a shot which came back out off the post and West Ham survived even though there was a handball shout against James Collins.

Three minutes later, Pochettino's side nearly scored when Adam Lallana was through on goal but thankfully for the East Londoners, Jaaskelainen was there to thwart him.

Shortly after the hour, Big Sam made his first change, as Rasvan Rat came on for his first taste of English football in place of Guy Demel.

West Ham were once again thankful to the Finn, as he produced another spectacular save when Rodriguez's cross was met on the volley by Schneiderlin but he found the Hammers stopper in imperious form again.

On 68 minutes, the visitors brought on Ricardo Vaz Te in place of Modibo Maiga.

Four minutes later, Pochettino introduced James Ward-Prowse in place of Lallana and he was immediately involved as Vaz Te gave possession away and the youngster found Lambert but Jaaskelainen was quickly off his goal-line to prevent any danger.

Both teams made a substitution with 77 minutes gone, Southampton replaced Luke Shaw with Callum Chambers, whilst Allardyce replaced Morrison with Matthew Taylor.

The Hammers had a great chance to clinch the points when superb team play involving Noble, Jarvis and Collins resulted in the Welshmen sending the ball high and wide after the former Wolverhampton Wanderers winger had brilliantly cut the ball back into his path. It would have probably been easier to score!

The Irons were piling on the pressure in the closing stages but despite earning a succession of corner kicks they could not find a goal and in the end they were quite happy to take a point back home with them.

Given last season's poor record on the road, the away fans must be pretty pleased with the two points Big Sam's men have already picked up this season.

Now all that's left to do is to return to winning ways at home and they will try and do that when Everton arrive in East London on Saturday afternoon.

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