Let’s forget about the first half on Saturday and concentrate on our powerful second half performance. Just when most of us were thinking – here we go again – is it possible that we will hand the Saints their first away win of the season. Up pops Mark Noble and drives home a free kick from all of 25 yards out. Okay, so we had a bit of luck the ball was not exactly rocket propelled but it bounced through the Southampton defence like a Barnes Wallis bomb with the away defence in total disarray to sneak in at the far post with James Collins failing to get on the end of it. What a start to the second half with only 1 minute on the clock.
From the restart Southampton made a couple of tippy tappy passes one of which was pounced on by Yossi who ran at their defence causing havoc. He beat his marker on the edge of the six yard box and deftly passing the ball at a slight diagonal across the area into the path of Kevin Nolan to tap in at the far post for his 4th goal of the season. With just two minutes of the second half gone, we were now two up. The bubbles were really beginning to fly high.
Then came our lapse in concentration, or rather James Collins’ lapse. He let Jay Rodriguez run at him and turn him inside instead of pushing him out wide. Rodriguez passed a slide rule pass to Lallana who with his back to goal swivelled and thumped the ball into the roof of Jussi’s net. I don’t think there was Hammers’ fan in the ground that felt confident that we would hold onto our lead at that moment in time. This was a case of the bubbles nearly reaching the sky.
Never fear as Andy Carroll who was causing havoc for the Saints’ defence all afternoon panicked Jose Fonte into punching the ball off the top of his head. Penalty said the ref with no hesitation. Up steps Mark Noble, who in my opinion was our Man of the Match without any shadow of doubt, to stroke the ball coolly home to make it 3 – 1. What a great penalty by a player who is fast becoming the most popular player with the fans. Who knows if he carries on the way he is going, he could achieve legend status. It surely won’t be too long before he gets his first full England cap.
A great afternoon was finished off when Maiga who had only been on the field for 5 minutes scored a great solo goal leaving three Southampton players in his wake before slotting the ball home to make it a glorious 4 – 1 victory. This looks like the first of many great goals we will see from him.
The Hammers’ second half performance was the best we have played this year. With Yossi on the pitch weaving his magic, Andy Carroll causing panic to our opponents defence, coupled with the strength of Diame and the tireless running of Noble in midfield plus Nolan’s leadership and goal scoring prowess, I feel confident we will not only survive but finish in the top half of the table and the bubbles will fly high over the Boleyn Ground once again.