West Ham slip to defeat against 10-man Southampton
PUBLISHED: 19:36 06 February 2016 | UPDATED: 19:36 06 February 2016
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Another sluggish start by the Hammers cost them against the Saints at St Mary’s
Southampton 1 West Ham United 0
The Hammers were sunk at Southampton, where Maya Yoshida’s early goal proved enough to give the Saints victory.
On a wet, windy and wild night on the south coast, the Japanese international capitalised on West Ham’s sluggish start and, although the Saints saw the red-carded Victor Wanyama marched off early in the second half, the visitors just could not find their way back into the game.
The Hammers’ 2-0 win over basement boys Aston Villa on Tuesday evening had enabled them to kick-off in sixth-spot, five points and three places above the Saints.
Indeed, that Villa victory meant that Slaven Bilič’s side had lost just once in their last 13 league and cup outings and the West Ham boss made just one change as Victor Moses came in for Cheikhou Kouyate (eye infection), while fit-again Andy Carroll and Fenerbahce’s on-loan Emmanuel Emenike were named on the bench.
But in the St Mary’s showers, it was Southampton who got themselves off to a whirlwind start with Cédric Soares serving up an early storm warning, when he met Shane Long’s cross with an early, point-blank header that Adrian brilliantly beat away.
The Saints’ goalless draw at Arsenal in midweek had seen them keep a fourth successive clean sheet but Ronald Koeman still made three changes as Yoshida, Graziano Pellé and Jordy Clasie replaced substitutes Dušan Tadić, Oriol Romeu and James Ward-Prowse.
And, on nine minutes, the recalled Yoshida went one better, when he lashed the ball past the helplessly exposed Spanish keeper after Wanyama collected from Sadio Mané before waltzing into the West Ham area and prodding the ball between the flat-footed James Collins and Winston Reid to the Japanese international on the edge of the six-yard box.
With the visitors yet to come out of the starting traps, Pellè then headed over before producing an embarrassing air shot in front of goal to keep West Ham a contest that could so easily have been done and dusted within the opening quarter-hour.
Having put Southampton ahead, though, Yoshida could so easily have turned villain when he trod on Enner Valencia’s left foot as the Ecuador striker tried to shepherd the ball out for a corner but referee Mark Clattenburg and his assistant merely awarded a goal-kick as the astounded attacker lay grounded on the sodden St Mary’s turf.
As the half-hour mark approached, Winston Reid met Dimitri Payet’s in-swinging corner with a jack-knife header that Fraser Forster acrobatically beat away to safety to the dismay of the Kiwi and then the West Ham defender popped up at the near post, once more, but this time he could only divert the Frenchman’s flag-kick into the rain-drenched West Ham fans packed behind the goal.
Trailing at the break, the East Enders emerged for the restart in lively fashion and Valencia soon sent a low, angled shot into the clutches of the fielding Forster before the Saints found themselves reduced to ten men.
Eight minutes into the second half, Wanyama launched himself at Payet in full view of Mr Clattenburg, who plucked the red card - the tenth seen in West Ham United games this season - from his top pocket as the flamboyant Frenchman, writhed in agony.
That was the cue for Romeu to replace Mané, while Bilić upped the stakes via the introduction of Carroll for Moses and with James Tomkins carrying a first-half knock, he also retired as Sam Byram stepped from the bench.
Ironically, hesitation between Collins and Reid almost let in Long but his attempted chip glided over both Adrian and the crossbar, while at the other end, Mark Noble had an effort blocked before Alex Song curled woefully wide in an attempt to claw West Ham level.
Both managers then unveiled their new strikers as Charlie Austin came on for Pellè and then Michail Antonio made way for Emenike, who quickly nodded Valencia’s cross just a foot or so beyond the right-hand post.
Valencia was in the thick of it again finding himself booked for uprooting Romeu before seeing his goalbound 18-yarder strike Carroll ahead of Song curling over, yet again.
With the clock ticking down, Clasie was booked for kicking the ball away, before Byram saw yellow for fouling Virgil Van Dijk and in scappy, nervy finish Soares almost scooped into his own net, while Collins shot was blocked but the Saints managed to hold out for all three points.
SAINTS: Forster, Soares, Yoshida, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand, Clasie (Ward-Prowse 90+3), Wanyama, Long, Mané (Romeu 56), Pellè (Austin 72). Unused subs: Stekelenburg, Tadić, Martina, Juanmi.
HAMMERS: Adrian, Tomkins (Byram 61), Cressewll, Collins, Reid, Song, Noble, Moses (Carroll 61), Antonio (Emenike 72), Payet, Valencia. Unused subs: Randolph, Obiang, O’Brien, Oxford.
Booked: Valencia (66)
Sent-Off: Wanyama (56), Valencia (66), Clasie (83), Byram (87)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg.