REPORT: West Ham United 1-3 Southampton
Saints recovered from going a goal down to record their first league success of the season with a 3-1 win at Upton Park.
A strike in either half from Morgan Schneiderlin, and Graziano Pellè’s second goal in as many games gave Ronald Koeman’s men the perfect send off to the international break with a victory they fully deserved.
Despite falling behind to Mark Noble’s deflected strike on 27 minutes Saints responded in fine fashion, with Schneiderlin’s first effort of the game coming on the stroke of half-time to lift spirits heading into the second 45.
The Frenchman struck again in the 68th minute with a set piece routine that Hammers boss Sam Allardyce would have been proud of, as Saints outsmarted their opponents to turn the game on its head with a quickly taken corner.
Pellè had the last laugh with his first league goal arriving after he’d had an earlier effort chalked off for offside, with Saints inflicting more pain on a home side who had conceded just eight goals in their previous nine league fixtures at the Boleyn Ground.
Ronald Koeman made one change to his team from the side that started in the goalless draw against West Bromwich Albion. Shane Long replaced Victor Wanyama to make his first league start for the club, with Morgan Schneiderlin, Steven Davis and James Ward-Prowse forming the three-man midfield behind Long, Dušan Tadić, and Graziano Pellè.
Wanyama was joined on the bench by the returning Gaston Ramirez, with Saints’ other new boy, Florin Gardos also amongst the substitutes.
Hosts West Ham lined up unchanged from their 3-1 win over Crystal Palace, so Mauro Zarate and Carlton Cole – who scored four goals in five Premier League games against Saints – leading the forward line for Sam Allardyce’s men.
It was another one of the Hammers’ old guard that broke the deadlock in this encounter though, with long-serving midfielder Mark Noble giving the hosts a 27th minute lead in slightly fortuitous circumstances.
Noble collected the ball from Zarate in midfield and hit a low strike which deflected off the boot of Maya Yoshida on the edge of the area, which wrong-footed Forster to nestle in the bottom corner for 1-0.
Saints had been the better team until that point, with the home side having offered little in attack bar a close range effort that Ricardo Vaz Te should have done better with in the 21st minute.
The free movement of Long and Tadić on either flank continued to trouble the home side with the duo switching sides to good effect throughout the opening half.
The pressure paid off on the stroke of half-time when Saints were awarded a free-kick just in from the left touchline. A whipped delivery from Tadić bounced through the area with Pellè and Yoshida each swiping and missing the ball, but Schneiderlin rescued the move to put the ball into the net.
The midfielder actually had two bites of the cherry, with his first stab at goal blocked by O’Brien, but he curled the second attempt beautifully into the far corner for a deserved equaliser.
Buoyed by their leveller, Saints began the second half with an added spring in their step, as they turned the screw on the Hammers through a glut of early chances.
First, Long saw a low shot on the turn pushed away at the near post, then Tadić poked an effort with the outside of his boot towards the other corner, which called West Ham keeper Adrian into action once more.
Tadić’s 55th minute free-kick towards goal came off the wall on its way out of play, and Schneiderlin then put the ball over from inside the area from the following corner. Saints even had the ball in the net moments later when Pellè stole in at the far post to connect with Ward-Prowse’s following set-piece, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
The domination of the visitors prompted a double substitution from West Ham with Ravel Morrison and Mohamed Diame each entering the action to combat the threat of a rampant Southampton side.
Saints would not go unrewarded for their fine spell though. Moments after Gaston Ramírez was introduced to the action, the visitors took the lead from a corner that the Uruguayan won. The smart thinking of Ward-Prowse saw Koeman’s men take the set piece too quickly for the hosts who were totally bemused to see Schneiderlin steal in at the near post for his second strike of the game to make it 2-1.
Not content to sit on their advantage, Saints pushed on, and Pellè almost made it 3-1 when he received Tadić’s reverse pass from a free-kick, but Adrian stood his ground to deny the Italian at his near post
Pellè went on to make the win safe seven minutes from time. Nathaniel Clyne’s low cross was turned into the air by Adrian, and the ball landed at the feet of the giant striker, who smashed it into the top left corner as the visitors sealed their first success at Upton Park since returning to the Premier League.
West Ham team: Adrian, Joey O'Brien, Aaron Cresswell, Winston Reid, James Tomkins, Cheikou Kouyate, Mark Noble (c), Ricardo Vaz Te (Mohamed Diame 58), Stewart Downing, Mauro Zarate (Ravel Morrison 58), Carlton Cole (Enner Valencia 79). Unused substitutes: Jussi Jaaskelainen (GK), Guy Demel, Diego Poyet, Diafra Sakho.
Goal: Noble (27)
Southampton team: Fraser Forster, Nathaniel Clyne, José Fonte (c), Maya Yoshida, Ryan Bertrand, Morgan Schneiderlin, Steven Davis, James Ward-Prowse (Jack Cork 70), Dušan Tadić, Shane Long (Gastón Ramírez 65), Graziano Pellè. Unused substitutes: Kelvin Davis (GK), Florin Gardos, Victor Wanyama, Emmanuel Mayuka, Jos Hooiveld
Goals: Schneiderlin (45 & 68), Pellè (83)
Referee: Mike Dean