Hernandez Double Ends in Heart Break
By Tom Dowsett
Sunday 20 Aug 2017 13:43:00
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West Ham United had to wait until their fourth away game to record a victory last season and after two trips this campaign, they are still searching for a success on the road after a last-gasp 3-2 defeat at Southampton on Saturday afternoon.

Slaven Bilic made four changes to the side that suffered the opening day disappointment at Old Trafford, as defender Aaron Cresswell was restored to the starting line-up in place of Arthur Masuaku, former Saints captain José Fonte came in for Angelo Ogbonna, youngster Declan Rice was also given a first Premier League start and was preferred to Edimilson Fernandes, while Michail Antonio returned from injury to replace Pedro Obiang.

There was to be a further setback for the Hammers before kick-off as Winston Reid suffered a calf injury in the warm-up, so Ogbonna was called upon to take his place.

The visitors claimed their first win at St Mary's last season and they were keen to repeat the feat. They could have gone ahead early on but neither Antonio, nor Marko Arnautović made the best of their opportunities.

The afternoon seemed to be going from bad to worse for West Ham as they went behind on 11 minutes when a slick move was finished off by Manolo Gabbiadini as he slotted past a helpless Joe Hart.

Nothing was going to plan for the East Londoners as minutes later, referee Lee Mason brandished a straight red card in the direction of Arnautović after his elbow on Saints' defender Jack Stephens.

Then, to add insult to injury, the Irons conceded a penalty after Fonte pulled back home skipper Steven Davis on 37 minutes.

It was left to Dusan Tadic to do the rest and he made no mistake despite the ball going in off Hart's leg.

West Ham gave themselves a glimmer of hope before the break when striker Javier Hernandez knocked home his first goal since his summer move from Bayer Leverkusen as Antonio's initial shot was not dealt with by Saints' goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

The visitors made a much better start to the second-half.

The Hammers thought they should have had a penalty of their own when André Ayew's header was blocked by the arm of Stephens but Mason wasn't interested.

Hernandez was proving a real threat throughout the contest and he had a great chance to equalise but his volleyed effort was superbly saved by Forster.

Hart had something to worry about when Gabbiadini attempted to add to his tally but instead, saw his effort hit the top of the bar, as the hosts were piling on the pressure.

The Saints kept pressing and went close again but Hart twice came to West Ham's rescue just after the hour mark.

On 70 minutes, the Irons made a double change with Fernandes and Diafra Sakho taking the places of both Antonio and Ayew.

Sakho usually makes an impact when he is on the pitch and this was no different. Mauricio Pellegrino's side switched off momentarily, allowing Cresswell to deliver a cross which the Senegalese striker got his head to, his effort was kept out by Forster, only for Hernandez to stab home the rebound, bringing loud cheers from a sold-out away end.

After the goal, Bilic threw on another substitution, as Rice was replaced by Obiang.

The travelling support looked as if they would come away from the south coast having seen their team battle back for at least a point however, there was one final twist.

Mason gave the home side a second penalty after Pablo Zabaleta nudged Maya Yoshida in the area.

With Tadic having already successfully converted, it was now Charlie Austin's turn to get the better of Hart which he duly did, leaving the visitors rooted to the bottom of the table.

Bilic's men are back in action on Wednesday night when they travel to Cheltenham Town in the second round of the Carabao Cup, looking to avoid a major upset.

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