Southampton 3-2 West Ham: Charlie Austin nets late penalty to seal dramatic Saints victory
By Lewis Jones
Last Updated: 20/08/17 8:13pm
Charlie Austin netted a stoppage-time penalty as Southampton claimed a dramatic 3-2 victory over 10-man West Ham on Saturday.
Javier Hernandez's double salvo looked to have saved the Hammers, who came from 2-0 down following goals from Manolo Gabbiadini and Dusan Tadic despite having Marko Arnautovic sent off in the first half for an elbow on Jack Stephens.
In a feisty encounter, there was an argument to suggest that Tadic should not have been on the pitch when he scored after a reckless challenge on Hernandez that only received a yellow card.
The game looked set to end level, however, referee Lee Mason awarded a controversial 90th-minute penalty after Pablo Zabaleta nudged Maya Yoshida following a James Ward-Prowse cross. Austin, who was once criticised by Hammers co-chairman David Sullivan over his fitness, stepped up and sent Joe Hart the wrong way to rescue the Saints.
Home Team: Forster (5), Soares (7), Bertrand (7), Yoshida (7), Stephens (7), Davis (7), Tadic (7), Romeu (7), Lemina (7), Gabbiadini (7), Redmond (7).
Subs: Austin (7), Long (6), Ward-Prowse (7)
Away Team: Hart (5), Ogbonna (5), Creswell (6), Fonte (5), Zabaleta (5), Rice (6), Arnautovic (4), Noble (5), Antonio (8), Ayew (6), Chicharito (9).
Subs: Sakho (6), Fernandes (6)
Man of the match: Javier Hernandez
West Ham started with positive intent, with the returning Michail Antonio releasing Arnautovic but he fired wide instead of going across the goalkeeper. Gabbiadini showed the Serbian how it should be done on 11 minutes - firing home from an acute angle to break a club goal drought stretching six home league games.
Tadic was then lucky to avoid a straight red for a wild lunge on Hernandez before Arnautovic was given his marching orders for a needless elbow on Stephens right in front of the referee.
The Saints took advantage of the extra man and doubled their lead on 36 minutes from the penalty spot through Tadic, after the returning Jose Fonte had pulled back Steven Davis.
Saints handed a debut to Mario Lemina, signed from Juventus this summer in a deal which could rise to £20million. Meanwhile, Slaven Bilic rang the changes with Jose Fonte, Declan Rice, Michail Antonio and Aaron Creswell getting the nod while Winston Reid – originally in the team – had to be replaced by Angelo Obonna after breaking down with an ankle problem in the warm-up.
Hernandez then gave the 10-man Hammers hope just before the break when he turned home from close range following an Antonio effort which was parried away by Fraser Forster. The Mexican continued to provide a threat for the visitors and nipped in to nab an unlikely equaliser from close range with 17 minutes remaining.
Southampton pressed for a winner but it looked unlikely until referee Lee Mason adjudged Zabaleta to have fouled Yoshida inside the box.
Austin, who admitted afterwards he was surprised the penalty was awarded, fired home to claim all three points and leave the Hammers with no points from their opening two games.
Man of the match - Javier Hernandez
The striker didn't deserve to be on the losing side as this looks £16m well spent already.
Despite playing the majority of the game with 10-men, the Hammers made the most of their limited territory with Hernandez finishing the only two chances that came his way - both from inside the six-yard box. His all-round game was also of top quality, including when mucking in as a makeshift left-winger.
It's good to have him back in the Premier League.
Slaven Bilic: "I don't want to talk about the penalty decisions, because there is no point talking about it. I only want to say that I'm very proud of my team and they showed everything I said - commitment, quality, character, team spirit and we never gave up."
Mauricio Pellegrino: "I haven't seen the replay (of the key decisions) and sometimes when the referee (Lee Mason) makes a decision you have to respect them. When they are for you you are happy; when it's against you have to suffer and to keep going."
That was the first time Southampton have scored a 90th-minute winning goal in a Premier League game.
Austin has been directly involved in three goals in his last two Premier League games against West Ham (two goals, one assist).
Gabbiadini's goal ended a run of nine hours and 15 minutes without a Premier League goal at St. Mary's for Southampton.
Arnautovic has been sent off verses Southampton in each of his last two Premier League appearances against them (also in December 2016). He's the second player in PL history to be sent off twice versus the Saints (also Sol Campbell).
Hernandez scored his first Premier League goals since April 2014 against Newcastle (1232 days ago) - all 39 of his goals in the English top-flight have come from inside the box.
Next up in the Premier League for Southampton is a trip to Huddersfield next Saturday, which comes after a Carbao Cup clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
West Ham have two more away games to contend with over the next week with Cheltenham Town in the Carabao Cup - live on Sky Sports on Wednesday - before a trip to Newcastle next Saturday in the Premier League.