Filed: Saturday, 20th October 2012
By: Staff Writer
West Ham recorded their biggest win of the season against a lacklustre Southampton at the Boleyn this afternoon - despite producing one of their least impressive performances of the campaign thus far.
Having looked mostly inept in the opening 45 minutes, Sam Allardyce's side swept aside their opponents with a four-goal, second half blitz.
And key to the turnaround was two-goal hero Mark Noble, who scored from a free kick and from the penalty spot as the Hammers rose to joint fourth in the table courtesy of their fourth Premier League win of the season.
The travelling Southampton contingent sang "we're Southampton, we play on the floor" as the away side spent most of the first half passing the ball to each other inside their own half.
But for as poor as West Ham were ahead of the break, the Saints were equally ineffective where it mattered and produced very little to threaten Jussi Jaaskelainen's goal.
However the second half was a completely different story as United blitzed their opponents - with the first of their four goals coming just 57 seconds after the restart.
Although referee Neil Swarbrick had a disappointing afternoon on the whole, he should be given credit for pulling back play for a free kick after Andy Carroll had been fouled 30 yards from goal and the advantage came to nothing.
Mark Noble's free kick towards the far post somehow evaded everyone inside the penalty box and, as so often happens, found its way into the corner of the net after Saints 'keeper Artur Boruc left it too late to attempt to push the ball wide.
The Hammers had barely finished celebrating that goal before they found thmselves two goals ahead. Yossi Benayoun, who was making his first start since returning to the club made his way into the penalty box before delivering an inch-perfect pass to Kevin Nolan at the far post, leaving the captain the easiest of chances to make it 2-0.
The next quarter-of-an-hour saw West Ham revert to the containing style that had so frustrated the home fans in the opening 45 minutes - and it was therefore no surprise when the visitors pulled one back on 63 minutes with an emphatic finish from Adam Lallana from close range.
But the two-goal advantage was restored just nine minutes later when West Ham were awarded a spot kick following a Jose Fonte hand ball - and Noble converted from 12 yards with some aplomb.
Ironically perhaps the last penalty West Ham were awarded at the Boleyn was in the corresponding fixture last year when Matt Taylor - who was watching from the stands today having been ruled out late on - was sent off just yards from where Fonte hand-balled today; some justice, some might say.
Thethree points were finally sealed with just three minutes of normal time remaining with the pick of the five second-half goals. Modibo Maiga, on as an 82nd minute replacement for Andy Carroll weaved his way into the penalty area before picking his spot with a wonderful curling effort.
The win leaves West Ham level on points with fourth-placed Everton and ten points clear of today's opponents and the relegation zone - and looking forward to a trip to Wigan next weekend, where they will face a Latics side yet to win at home during the current campaign.
West Ham Utd 4 Southampton 1: match facts
West Ham Utd: Jaaskelainen, Tomkins (Spence 88), Reid, Collins, McCartney, Noble, Nolan, Diame (O'Neil 68), Benayoun, Jarvis, Carroll (Maiga 82).
Subs not used: Spiegel, Chambers, Cole, Hall.
Goals: Noble (46, 72-pen), Nolan (48), Maiga (87).
Shots on/off target: 9 - 8/1.
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Fonte, Schneiderlin, Davis, Lallana, Puncheon, Do Prado, Rodriguez.
Subs not used: Davis, Seaborne, Mayuka, Reeves, Ward-Prowse, Chaplow, Lambert.
Goals: Lallana (63).
Booked: Hooiveld (77), Schneiderlin (81).
Shots on/off target: 11 - 4/7.
Referee: Neil Swarbrick (6).
KUMB.com Man of the Match: Yossi Benayoun.
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by Rick Osborn
01:43PM 21st Oct 2012
''The way I saw the foul that led to the pen was not handball but Fonte pulling hard on Andy C's ponytail whilst Carroll was still in the air. The potential for causing a neck injury was clear. Although the pen was given, Fonte did not get even a yellow. The criteria for a red is: using excessive force which might endanger an opponent. I would have thought that what Fonte did constituted that.''