Southampton 0 West Ham United 0
Wednesday, 11th February 2015
by Staff Writer
Nine-man West Ham defied the odds to hang on for a point against high-flying Southampton at a chilly St Mary's tonight.Having already been reduced to ten men by the dismissal of goalkeeper Adrian, the Hammers were forced to play the final 15 minutes with only nine fit men after Andy Carroll appeared to suffer a re-occurrence of his ankle injury.
That West Ham had already made their three permitted substitutes meant the England striker had to remain on the field, where he remained a virtual passenger for the rest of the game.
However the Hammers - who went into the game already severely weakened by injuries - still managed to hang on for an important point against a team who they may yet be challenging for a place in Europe later in the season.
Ronald Koeman had talked much before the game about West Ham's two distinct threats, primarily with Andy Carroll or without.
Therefore Allardyce's decision to start with a front three of Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho and Carlton Cole may have come as a surprise to the Dutchman, with West Ham matching the Saints' 4-3-3 formation.
Although chances were few and far between for the Hammers ahead of the break, their hosts were similarly denied as Messrs Tomkins and Kouyate, standing in again at centre half, proved rock solid.
Indeed, the only occasions on which the Irons were troubled were from a Sadio Mane effort that required an off-the-line clearance by Carl Jenkinson and a Graziano Pelle strike that grazed Adrian's left-hand post.
Having safely navigated the opening 45 minutes, Allardyce changed tack at the start of the second period by introducing Matt Jarvis for Valencia and reverting to the fan-friendly diamond formation.
Sakho's replacement by Carroll, five minutes ahead of the hour mark left the big striker up front with Cole - a clear indication of Allardyce's motives for the remainder of the match.
However his plans were thrown into turmoil by the unnecessary dismissal of goalkeeper Adrian on 61 minutes, who finally paid the price for attempting to side-step an opposing forward by stumbling and handling the ball outside his area- albeit under the sort of physical pressure from Mane often penalised by a foul - leading to an instant red card.
Great grit n determination from the lads to get a point tonight! Pleased to get some more minutes also! #COYI?EUR" Matt Jarvis (@MrMattJarvis) February 11, 2015
That Mane was still on the field at that point was already a question for debate, though. The Senegal striker, who had been booked in the first half for a studs-up foul on Alex Song went through Aaron Cresswell on the edge of West Ham's penalty box minutes before the Adrian incident; a foul, according to referee Craig Pawson - but not worthy of a second yellow card.
Step forward veteran Jussi Jaaskelainen to make his first Premier League appearance of the season - and to secure a point. Although Southampton largely failed to make the most of their numerical advantage, Jaaskelainen was on hand to make two important stops in added-on time to keep the Saints at bay.
So whilst the performance may linger in the memory for no longer than it takes our brave and hardy travelling supporters to traverse the M3 back to London and the Home Counties, the point could yet prove to be an important one in West Ham's continuing quest for a European place.
Great team effort tonight to get one good point! Just learn from my mistake but... very rigurous red card! pic.twitter.com/NroTAr0sIm?EUR" Adri??n San Miguel (@AdriSanMiguel) February 11, 2015
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Player RatingsAdrian San Miguel del Castillo
Joey O Brien
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Did not play.
Match FactsWest Ham United: Adrian San Miguel del Castillo, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Cresswell, James Tomkins, Cheikhou Kouyate, Alex Song, Morgan Amalfitano, Stewart Downing, Carlton Cole, Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia.
Sent Off: None sent off. .
Subs not used: .
Sent off: None.
Referee: Craig Pawson.
Man of the Match: Cheikhou Kouyate.