West Ham crash to dismal home defeat against Southampton
17:21 30 August 2014
The Hammers were the sinners against the Saints as Koeman’s side sweep them aside
West Ham United 1 Southampton 3
The Hammers are still looking for their first home win of the season after a dismal defeat that sent the Saints marching to a comfortable victory.
Following an opening day loss at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur and a midweek cup reverse against Sheffield United, Mark Noble’s first-half opener had looked all set to put West Ham United on the way to three points.
But Morgan Schneiderlin put Southampton in control with two goals either side of the interval, before Graziano Pelle made it a miserable afternoon for Sam Allardyce’s side.
Both teams had experienced mixed Capital One Cup fortunes in midweek and following West Ham’s penalty shoot-out slaying at the hands of the Blades, only Winston Reid and Ricardo Vaz Te were retained as Big Sam reverted to the side that had won so handsomely at Crystal Palace, last Saturday.
Southampton, on the other hand, made just a trio of changes from the team that had won at Millwall in midweek, as unsettled Schneiderlin, Dusan Tadic and Ryan Bertrand came in for Matt Targett, Lloyd Isgrove and substitute Victor Wanyama.
And certainly the Saints returned to the capital looking to carry on from where they had left off at the New Den on Tuesday night as they forced a trio of early corners that saw the home defence come under unwelcome pressure.
In reply, the breaking Stewart Downing had a brilliant opportunity to play a supporting Vaz Te in behind the stretched visiting defence but his poor crossfield ball was comfortably intercepted.
Midway through the first-half, a foul on Mauro Zarate saw Downing’s waist-high free-kick deflect off the Saints’ wall but following a frantic goalmouth scramble, Vaz Te’s angled eight-yard effort agonisingly clipped Fraser Forster’s heel before spinning just an inch or so beyond the far post.
It would not be long, however, until West Ham did find the net.
Indeed, on 27 minutes, Zarate robbed Scheiderlin midway inside the Saints half before finding Noble, who strode forward and let fly with an ambitious, falling 30-yarder that brushed Maya Yoshida’s shin before bouncing in front of Forster and nestling in the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Pelle almost silenced the claret and blue cheers, but his goal-bound header was cleared off the line by Aaron Cresswell but, with the Hammers looking all set to take that one-goal lead into the interval, Southampton levelled with just seconds of the half remaining.
When Bertrand tumbled under Zarate’s challenge out on the left flank, Tadic sent the subsequent free-kick deep into the home area and, despite seeing Joey O’Brien bravely block his first scorcher, Schneiderlin reacted quickest to curl the rebound inside Adrian’s right-hand post from 10 yards to make it all-square at the break.
Within seconds of the restart, Shane Long forced the Hammers’ ‘keeper to beat away his low, angled 15-yard scorcher and, when Nathaniel Clyne then whipped a ball across the face of goal, Pelle was just a stud away from connecting.
Tadic also saw Adrian turn his low 18-yard effort around the base of his right-hand post and from the resultant quickly-taken corner, Schneiderlin somehow scooped over from 10 yards.
At the other end, Cheikhou Kouyate embarked on a trademark trundle upfield but his cross into the danger-zone just eluded lone-striker Carlton Cole in what would prove to be Hammers best move of the half.
As the hour-mark approached, Pelle thought he had put the Saints in front, when he stabbed home James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick after Cresswell had been booked for tripping Long, but his joy was quickly wiped out by an offside flag and that was the cue for Ravel Morrison and Mohamed Diame to replace Zarate and Vaz Te.
O’Brien was then cautioned for his forceful challenge on Tadic as Southampton continued to dominate the second period.
And on 67 minutes, the visitors took full advantage of the sleeping Hammers defence when another quickly-taken corner saw Tadic roll the ball to Ward-Prowse, who clipped the ball into the near post, where Schneiderlin gleefully helped himself to a second goal of the afternoon.
Subsitute Gaston Ramirez then tested Adrian with a stinging 12-yarder that the Spaniard fisted away to keep his side in the contest and, with West Ham desperately needing to turn the tide, Allardyce brought on Enner Valencia for Cole.
But with the Ecuador striker still finding his feet on the Boleyn Ground grass, Ronald Koeman’s men extinguished all hopes of any East End revival, when the breaking Saints cleverly worked the ball out to Clyne, whose right-wing cross was parried into the path of Pelle by Adrian and the Italian duly drilled home from 10 yards to seal victory.
HAMMERS: Adrian, O’Brien, Cresswell, Tomkins, Reid, Vaz Te (Diame 57), Downing, Kouyate, Noble, Zarate (Morrison 57), Cole (Valencia 77). Unused subs: Jaaskelainen, Sakho, Demel, Poyet.
SAINTS: Forster, Fonte, Schneiderlin, Yoshida, Clyne, Bertrand, S.Davis, Tadic, Ward-Prowse (Cork 71), Pelle, Long (Ramirez 65). Unused subs: K.Davis, Gardos, Wanyama, Mayuka, Hooiveld.
Booked: Cresswell (56), O’Brien (61), Pelle (78)
Referee: Mike Dean