West Ham United 3 Southampton 1
Saturday, 22nd February 2014
Southampton, like Norwich, like us, are a proper football club. Proper fans, a reputation for playing decent football, and this was a game I was looking forward to, albeit with the proviso that we put in a better performance than we did against the Canaries. In the end, it was entertaining enough, but rather humdrum when it came to quality.There was some comment before the match about Clattenburg being appointed to take charge of it. In 6 years time, any mistakes he makes refereeing our matches, particularly those that went against us, will still be remembered. By next week, this one will have been forgotten.
I daresay there will be a few complaints about the free kick awarded in the 8th minute. Tomkins didn't make a lot of contact with Lallana, but he did also rather dive into the tackle. It was a rash challenge & an easy enough one to award. We promptly failed to properly defend, and Yoshida duly buried his free gift of a header. Adrian was left horribly exposed, and the Saints were good value for their lead in the first fifteen.
Clattenburg then failed to award an offside. Put that one in the album, boys & girls. I do speak in defence of referees to some degree, but I can't remember many errors that have gone our way this season. It wasn't down to the ref, of course; his assistant failed to spot that Jarvis was beyond the last defender by a couple of fag papers. He took down Nolan's neat chipped pass, finished well for his first Iron Premership goal in nearly a year, and parity was restored.
A mere 3 minutes later, we had a lead we probably didn't deserve halfway through the first half. Cole, like Nolan, was ineffective for most of the game. But from Downing's corner, he hit the frame of the goal and, at the second attempt, buried our second. It was slightly ironic that the otherwise impressive Yoshida was the Saint who couldn't clear the rebound.
Lambert hit the post on the half hour (although I think that Adrian had it covered), the ball was whacked into Downing's hand early in the second half; no offence, any more than the James Collins' penalty shout (it was actually a Saint hand that that hit). In the space of 2 minutes, Southampton put a lovely move together, only to put the ball behind the man that might have buried it, then Ramirez made a mug of Collins but blasted over.
The Saints final chance was ten minutes from the end, when Adrian saved after Diame had been caught out mucking about. By that time, we'd put the game to bed. Noble to Downing to Cole to an acrobatic Nolan, 3-1. Diame had even hit the bar before making his mtiskae (sic) at the other end.
On the whole, though, bar the first fifteen, I didn't feel that we were threatened anywhere near as much as we might have been by a good Southampton side. An undeserved win? I said that about our defeat of Norwich; I don't feel it's the case against Southampton.
We conceded too much possession yet again, but Sam's style of football means that we always do that. Southampton had, by the stats, a lot of chances, but it was my feeling that few of them were good chances; a testament to the tenacity of our midfeld & defence.
In the end, it was a rather bitty game, entertaining but rather scrappy, where our win was earned by hard work & good finishing. If we no longer have more consecutive clean sheets than your nearest Travelodge, we do have another valuable three points. We've even done it without Big Andy.
We go to Goodison next Saturday. I don't doubt that AC will be back in the starting line up; not so much hungry for a game as positively starving. If we can get a point out of that... It's not that I fear relegation; we'd have to lose practically every remaining game for that phantom to re-appear; but remaining undefeated?
Goodison is not a happy hunting ground, almost as much as Anfield isn't. Everton are one of those sides we struggle to get anything out of. Therefore, if we can keep the undefeated run going now, we can finish the season on real high. That's important for next season...
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Had no chance with the goal, had little else meaningful to do. Quick off his line when he needed to be.
Unspectacular (which is going to be a theme here...)
Failed to make a meaningful challenge on Yoshida for their goal. Apart from that? Very much etcetera...
Mugged by Ramirez on 65. Otherwise untroubled & uninspired in equal measure.
Responsible for the free kick from which Southampton scored. Un-something for the rest of it...
Barnes & Noble is a bookshop; Taylor & Noble is our centre midfield. Today, a pair of names is about what they amounted to.
As above; nothing to get excited about, good or bad. They both worked hard, didn't create / cause a lot at either end. Solid, unassuming sort of game.
Looked miffed at being taken off; quite right too. Worked hard , both in defence and in trying to create threat going forwards. Might have won MotM in a game in which there were no real standouts on either side.
Man of the Match by a whisker. Had Jarvis been left on for the full 90, it might have been him. Worked hard, etc, played a part in goals 2 & 3. Just about sneaks it from everyone else (including a generally tidy Saints team).
Anonymous. Except for his involvement in two of the goals. It would have been a 5. Except for his involvement in 2 of the goals!
I refer the Honourable Reader to my remarks concerning one Kevin Anthony Jance Nolan.
His season in a 30 minute nutshell - good things & bad things in equal measure.
Brought on for the last 15 to close things out, I can't actually remember him doing anything at all!
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Adrian, Guy Demel, George McCartney, James Collins, James Tomkins, Mark Noble, Matt Taylor, Matt Jarvis, Stewart Downing, Kevin Nolan, Carlton Cole.
Goals: Matt Jarvis 20 Carlton Cole 23 Kevin Nolan 71 .
Booked: None booked. .
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Southampton: Artur Boruc, Calum Chambers, Maya Yoshida, Jose Fonte, Luke Shaw, Morgan Schneiderlin, Jack Cork, Jay Rodriguez, Steven Davis, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert.
Subs not used: Kelvin Davis, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Guly Do Prado.
Goals: Yoshida (8).
Booked: None booked..
Sent off: None.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg.
Man of the Match: Stewart Downing.