West Ham hit back to slay Saints and bounce back from Man City mauling
PUBLISHED: 17:07 04 February 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Andy Carroll makes it four goals in four as West Ham take all three points at St Mary’s
Southampton 1 West Ham United 3
The Hammers marched to victory over the Saints at St Mary’s Stadium to climb up into ninth-spot in the Premier League as Slaven Bilić’s boys got back to winning ways.
Following their dismal defeat at the hands of Manchester City on Wednesday night, it looked like there was going to be more sorrow at Southampton, when the hosts new Italian hit-man Manolo Gabbiadini fired Claude Puel’s side ahead just a dozen minutes into his debut.
But Andy Carroll hit back within just two minutes to level with his sixth strike of the season, before Pedro Obiang netted his first-ever Hammers goal just before the break.
And just after the restart, Mark Noble’s in-swinging, goal-bound free-kick found the net with the help of a deflection off Steven Davis, albeit the West Ham skipper will undoubtedly reckon on taking his tally to five for the campaign.
Following his side’s Hammer horror show at the London Stadium in midweek, Bilić made two changes to the side that had capitulated to that feeble four-goal defeat at the hands of City as right-back Cheikhou Kouyaté returned from African Cup of Nations duty with Senegal in place of the injured Sam Byram (hamstring) while Robert Snodgrass made his first start in place of substitute Manuel Lanzini.
Kicking off in 12th spot – one place and a point below the Hammers – the Saints made four switches from the team that had lost at struggling Swansea City on Tuesday as Gabbiadini, Ward-Prowse, Jay Rodriguez and Sofiane Boufal came in for Dusan Tadić plus the benched trio of Shane Long, Nathan Redmond and Jordi Clasie.
With both teams trying to put those results midweek results behind them, it was West Ham who quickly found themselves on the back foot as Ward-Prowse let fly with an early 18-yarder that Darren Randolph did well to hold as it bounced up off the drying St Mary’s turf.
And with a dozen minutes on the clock, Rodriguez sent Gabbidiani racing behind the push-up Hammers defence and, as Randolph tried to narrow the angle, the £15m signing from Napoli let fly with a rising screamer from the edge of the six-yard box that crashed into the net off the underside of the crossbar.
It was a fantastic start to his Saints career, but the Italian’s joy was soon muted by the alert Carroll, who took just two minutes to conjure up an East End equaliser, when he raced onto Obiang’s well-weighted throughball and slotted beyond Fraser Forster from 10 yards as Jack Stephens fruitlessly slid in.
With the Hammers now level, they might even have gone ahead as the busy Aaron Cresswell’s 18-yarder was held by the Saints’ ‘keeper, who then bravely plucked the ball off Sofiane Feghouli’s foot after Snodgrass snaked a low cross towards the far post.
Two minutes before the break, though, the visitors did indeed get themselves ahead, when Snodgrass floated over a left-wing corner that was headed clear but having collected the ball, Obiang took a couple of strides forward before claiming his first-ever goal in English football with a low 25-yarder that flew through a forest of players, beyond Forster’s outstretched right glove and into the bottom left-hand corner.
Now trailing at the interval, Southampton replaced Rodriguez with Redmond and, within moments of the restart, Randolph pulled off a flying save to beat away Ward-Prowse’s angled 18-yarder, while Kouyaté headed straight to Gabbiadini, who could not convert.
On 52 minutes, though, it was the Hammers who found the net, once more, when Snodgrass was felled by Cédric on the right-hand edge of the Saints area and when Noble whipped the free-kick into the six-yard box, the outstretched boot of Davis deflected the ball past Forster.
With a two-goal cushion, Bilić sent on Lanzini in place of Carroll, while Long came on for the injured Boufal and James Collins replaced Kouyaté.
On a couple of occasions, former Saint, Michail Antonio, burst into the Saints box, where he ran out of both road and reinforcements, while at the other Ward-Prowse’s header was expertly tipped over by Randolph, before Long sent an angled effort beyond the far post and Davis drilled a 20-yarder into the ‘keeper’s ribcage.
Maya Yoshida also sent an acrobatic header over the top and, with the visitors trying to run down the clock, Cresswell was booked for time-wasting before Winston Reid followed for a lunge on Long but, by now, the Hammers were assured of a wonderful awayday win that lifts them back into the top half of the table.
SAINTS: Forster, Cédric, Yoshida, Stephens, Bertrand, Davis, Romeu, Ward-Prowse, Rodriguez (Redmond h/t), Gabbiadini, Boufal (Long 63). Unused subs: Taylor, Clasie, Gardos, Højberg, McQueen.
HAMMERS: Randolph, Kouyaté (Collins 70) Reid, Fonte, Antonio, Cresswell, Obiang, Noble, Feghouli (Calleri 90), Snodgrass, Carroll (Lanzini 55) Unused subs: Adrián, Fletcher, Fernandes, Quina.
Booked: Cresswell (80), Reid (87).
Referee: Graham Scott
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