Allardyce praises the guts of 10-man Hammers
West Ham United 1 Southampton 1
Wednesday 15 February 2012
West Ham United failed to deliver a decisive victory over promotion rivals Southampton last night, succumbing to a Jos Hooiveld equaliser with 15 minutes left. What Sam Allardyce's side did produce, though, was another short-handed performance of nerve and discipline, conceding after holding out for nearly an hour with 10 men.
The 1-1 draw did not extend West Ham's lead over Southampton beyond the current one-point gap, but it did show that they have the necessary qualities to stay there.
For the second match in a row, West Ham had to fight for the vast majority of the game with 10 men: one of the greatest character tests in football. Ten days ago against Millwall they fought their way to a stirring 2-1 win. That night they lost Kevin Nolan after eight minutes, last night they lost Matt Taylor after 18.
"I'm inspired by the players' performance, and by their willingness to not allow the opposition to beat them, even though the odds are against us," Allardyce said afterwards. As with the Millwall victory, the centre-back pair of Winston Reid and Abdoulaye Faye were impeccable, as were midfielders James Tomkins and Mark Noble, performing the work of three men.
Noble put West Ham ahead in the first half, at the end of a sequence that also included the red card. Matt Taylor rolled a free-kick to Noble in the box, and was tackled by Southampton's Billy Sharp. Noble fell, and Sharp took exception as Lee Probert whistled for the penalty. Taylor replied in kind, taking exception to Sharp. Taylor was sent off, Sharp was booked, and Noble scored his seventh penalty of the season.
While Allardyce said he was "disappointed", given Taylor appeared to push Lambert in the chest, not the face, he was more aggrieved with earlier decisions. Allardyce believed West Ham should have already had two penalties, accusing both Rickie Lambert and Hooiveld of "punch[ing] the ball" in the box. "I knew they were two penalties at the time because of everybody in the stadium appealing for it. I've also just looked at it four times on my laptop. So we could have already won the game if decisions are made correctly."
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins was not quite as critical, saying merely the officials "had an interesting evening". In truth, he may have been more frustrated with his players who failed to exploit their advantage and go top.
Immediately after the red card, Saints did start to create chances. Rob Green saved Adam Lallana's shot from distance, before Sharp could only hit the simple rebound straight at him. Green later had to save down to his left from Lambert, who also curled a free-kick just wide.
West Ham looked much more secure in the second half, limiting Southampton to shots from distance and hopeful balls to Lambert. With 15 minutes left, though, that hope was repaid as a far-post flick found Hooiveld, who controlled and stabbed past Rob Green.
West Ham United (4-1-4-1): Green; O'Brien, Faye, Reid, Taylor; Tomkins; Faubert, Noble, Collison (McCartney, 21), Vaz Te (O'Neil, 71 ); Cole (Maynard, 65 ). Substitutes not used Baldock, Lansbury.
Southampton (4-4-2): Davis; Richardson (Connolly, 80), Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox; Do Prado (Puncheon, 55), Schneiderlin, Cork, Lallana; Sharp (Hammond, 83), Lambert. Substitutes not used Martin, Lee.
Referee L Probert (Wiltshire).
Latest in Sport
Manchester United's best XI of the season so far: No place for Angel Di Maria or Juan Mata
Which player sells the most shirts in the Premier League?
WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
Chelsea's best XI of the season so far: Petr Cech has been better than Thibaut Courtois
Chelsea's Eden Hazard, Arsenal's Mesut Ozil and Manchester City's Jesus Navas are the three best attacking midfielders in Europe in 2015
- 1 Britain First 'acting like Ukip henchmen' by invading meeting of activists in revenge for pub protest against Nigel Farage
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 4 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 5 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans