A string of fine saves from Jussi Jaaskelainen helped a depleted West Ham take a point from Southampton.
Saints coach Mauricio Pochettino made three changes from the loss at Norwich. Academy products Calum Chambers and James Ward-Prowse dropped to the bench. Left back Danny Fox missed out altogether as Luke Shaw returned along with Nathaniel Clyne and Jay Rodriguez.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce handed Ravel Morrison his first Premier League start in place of the injured Stewart Downing. This was the only alteration from the home defeat to Stoke. Record signing Andy Carroll was still sidelined.
Mohamed Diame worked Artur Boruc in the home goal from a tight angle early on. Jasskelainen, 38 years young, then somehow turned over from Osvaldo at the other end as Rodriguez’s cutback found his fellow forward with the goal gaping.
Strike partner Rickie Lambert then shot tamely at the veteran keeper. Chances were rare in the first half as similar systems cancelled each other out. Boruc came smartly off his line to snuff out the danger posed by Matt Jarvis on half an hour.
Morrison almost gave West Ham a late first half lead, but his bending strike from long range just missed the top corner. After the break Victor Wanyama teed himself for a volley that forced Boruc to tip over.
Lambert saw a thumping header come back off the post from the resulting corner. Saints skipper Adam Lallana was then let down by his touch as Osvaldo set him clear. Morgan Schneiderlin later attempted an audacious overhead, but Winston Reid header over his own bar.
The toothless Hammers brought on want-away forward Ricardo Vaz Te for the ineffectual Modibo Maiga. Before that Jaaskelainen plunged dramatically to his left, turning behind a Schneiderlin strike from Jay Rodriguez’s centre.
Finnish keeper Jaaskelainen then palmed away a curling Lambert effort across goal. For all their lack of fluent forward play, West Ham might have snatched all three points late on. James Collins blazed over from Mark Noble’s pullback as Southampton failed to clear their lines.
Big Sam will certainly be happier with a point. In the absence of Carroll and Downing there looks to be no plan B. Pochettino’s Saints meanwhile must confront reality. This was a game they simply had to win if they want to live up to talk of being European contenders.
- Southampton: 31 Artur Boruc, 2 Nathaniel Clyne, 6 Jose Fonte, 5 Dejan Lovren, 23 Luke Shaw (22 Calum Chambers 77’), 4 Morgan Schneiderlin, 12 Victor Wanyama, 9 Jay Rodriguez, 17 Pablo Daniel Osvaldo, 20 Adam Lallana (c) (16 James Ward-Prowse 72’), 7 Rickie Lambert 4-2-3-1
- West Ham: 22 Jussi Jaaskelainen, 20 Guy Demel (8 Razvan Rat 62’), 19 James Collins, 2 Winston Reid, 17 Joey O’Brien, 16 Mark Noble, 15 Ravel Morrison (14 Matt Taylor 77’), 21 Mohamed Diame, 4 Kevin Nolan (c), 7 Matt Jarvis, 11 Modibo Maiga (12 Ricardo Vaz Te 68’) 4-2-3-1