Southampton 1 West Ham United 0
Saturday, 6th February 2016
by Staff Writer
West Ham slumped to a disappointing defeat at the hands of Southampton this afternoon - despite enjoying a man advantage for much of the second half.The Saints were reduced to ten men just eight minutes into the second half when Victor Wanyama received his marching orders for the third time this season following a scything challenge on Dimitri Payet - a 'tackle' not dissimilar to the one by Everton's James McCarthy that sidelines Payet for several weeks earlier in the season.
However West Ham barely troubled Saints 'keeper Fraser Forster thereafter - despite enjoying nearly 80 PER CENT of possession in the second half - meaning that Maya Yoshida's eighth-minute strike was enough to secure all three points for Southampton who closed the gap between them and the Hammers from five to just two points.
The Japanese international, taking advantage of uncertainly in the Hammers rearguard struck from only six yards out to score the only goal of the game after Enner Velancia inadvertently sent the ball into his path, following a half-hearted attempt to clear the ball from danger.
Disappointingly that was the tenth match out of 28 this season in which the Hammers have conceded an early first half goal - from which Slaven Bilic's side have only gone on to win twice.
Yet they really should have been granted the opportunity to level from the spot when goalscorer Yoshida clearly clipped Valencia's ankle as both players approached the byeline as the half wore on - but not according to referee Mark Clattenburg, who simply waved play on despite the Ecuador international's protestations.
That incident may well have still been playing on the official's mind when Wanyama decided to hook his legs around Payet's ankles as the Frenchman strode into opposition territory eight minutes into the second half. Whilst the challenge was an ugly one with potential to cause serious injury, many officials would have deemed a yellow card sufficient.
Not that it proved to be any great advantage to West Ham, who instead of trying to break down a resolute Saints side with eleven men were left with the task of doing so against ten men playing even deeper than they already had been!
Sadly for the Hammers key man DImitri Payet was having an off day and, as has often been the case this season, when he fails to spark so do West Ham.
Indeed the closest West Ham came to scoring following Wanyama's dismissal came when Yoshida went perilously close to scoring an own goal from a hashed attempt at a clearance that almost looped over the head of goalkeeper Forster.
And not even the introduction of Andy Carroll - making his first start since the 3-1 win at Bournemouth last month - and new signing Emmanuel Emenike could help West Ham find that elusive goal that would have given them a share of the spoils - something that they probably deserved on balance of play.
There was further bad news for West Ham when James Tomkins limped off midway through the second half with what looked like a strain - an injury that could potentially keep him sidelined for several weeks.
And with replacement Sam Byram Cup-tied as a result of his previous involvement in the competition with Leeds United, that could mean a recall for Joey O'Brien against Liverpool in the FA Cup replay against Liverpool on Tuesday night.
Ten games in which West Ham have fallen behind early on
Aug: Leicester (h), Bournemouth (h)
Sep: Leicester (a), Norwich (h)
Oct: Sunderland (a)
Nov: Tottenham (a)
Dec: Southampton (h)
Jan: Bournemouth (a), Newcastle (a)
Feb: Southampton (a)
Total: W2 D2 L6
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Player RatingsAdrian San Miguel Del Castillo
Not a great deal to do apart from pick the ball out of his net.
A busted eye last week and what appeared to be a thigh strain this week, enforcing his removal.
Ended up playing more like a wide midfielder than a full back due to SOuthampton's reticence to leave their own half once they'd been reduced to ten men.
Brilliant all season but the rickets are beginning to return. One mistake here could have proved costly bar for some poor finishing.
A quiet afternoon.
Not one of his better games, aalthough his form has been better in recent weeks.
Controlled the middle of the park but only becasue Southampton allowed us to.
Not in the game at all - and hasn't been since returning from injury.
Huffed and puffed but to little avail.
Largely anonymous but did play a part in SOuthampton being reduced to ten men following Wanyama's dreadful lulnge at him.
One of those days when nothing came off. SHould have been awarded a penalty.
(Replaced Moses) Loves to play against the Saints but had little impact here on his first game back since injury.
(Replaced Tomkins) A quiet game - and a little lucky not to see red for a late challenge.
(Replaced Antonio) A quiet debut for West Ham's new on-loan striker.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Adrian San Miguel Del Castillo, James Tomkins, Aaron Cresswell, James Collins, Winston Reid, Alex Song, Mark Noble, Victor Moses, Michail Antonio, Dimitri Payet, Enner Valencia.
Booked: Enner Valencia 67 Sam Byram 87 .
Sent off: None.
Subs not used: .
Sent off: None.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg.
Man of the Match: Michail Antonio.