West Ham drove even further away from the relegation dog fight with an impressive draw at Southampton. The Hammers were going into the game as underdogs with the Saints coming from a defying win over Chelsea whilst West Ham had earned a solid point at Liverpool.
Both teams were going into the game staged at St. Mary’s looking for all three points to secure Premier League football next season, and for West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, a contract extension too.
The game got off to a relatively fine start with both teams defending and attacking well. Southampton came closest early on the in the first half however, with a Ricky Lambert shot which was ever so close to crossing the line, however a combination of the post and a fine dive by goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen ensured it didn’t cross fully. The shot called for goal line technology although replays showed the referee was correct in giving no goal. Fine shot-stopper Jaaskelainen was somewhat used to the save, currently topping the Premier League’s save chart with over 130 stops in West Ham’s campaign already, as well as this triumph, the Finnish keeper was on the back of a potential 1 year contract extension.
The last meeting between these two sides ended relatively bad for the Saints as they were overturned 4-1 at Upton Park – that game too went into half time at 0-0.
Expectations were therefore high for a superb second-half after October’s meet.
Southampton took the lead through a fine shot from Gaston Ramirez after a touch of fortune helped him through on goal. West Ham’s centre backs James Collins and James Tomkins both simultaneously slid in to block a long ranged shot but the ball fortunately bounced straight back to Ramirez allowing him a free run into the box before blasting home.
West Ham pushed on for an equaliser, something of which has been a difficult challenge for many visiting Southampton. West Ham came close numerous times with attempts from Kevin Nolan and Ricardo Vaz Te.
Andy Carroll was having a fine game heading the ball down, and being the centre piece of many West Ham attacks, but it was Mohammed Diame who dazzled around a few Southampton players on the edge of the area before being tumbled to the floor resulting in a free kick. After a squabble over who would take the free kick, it was decided that on-loan striker Carroll would be attempting the shot in a bid to become the Hammer’s joint top scorer of the season. Midfielder Gary O’Neil was there to touch the ball from the spot allowing a drilled effort from Carroll; the ball rolled coolly under the Saints wall, taking a slight deflection and beating goalkeeper Artur Boruc. 1-1.
The game was intense following Carroll’s sixth West Ham goal with bosh sides pushing for a winner in the dying embers of the game. However no side was successful in their attempts and the game faded to a 1-1 draw.
West Ham probably had the better of outcome, picking up a point away from home against a side who are very strong on their own turf.
West Ham now go into their mid-week game against Manchester United looking for 3 points that could push them up into 10th spot. The Wednesday night fixture is to be played at Upton Park.
Southampton have had a good season potentially avoiding relegation and moving into the middle of the table, possible securing their top flight status.
It was a decent game to attend, but the weather made it a horrendous outing.