West Ham score four second half goals to win 4-1 against struggling Southampton
Southampton's fragile defence was exposed again as Mark Noble scored twice in a comfortable 4-1 victory for West Ham
Last Updated: 20/10/12 8:10pm
Saints remain out of the drop zone but pointless on their travels and after conceding their 24th goal of the season at Upton Park - the worst defensive record in the Premier League - these are worrying times for the South Coast club.
Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce's men from east London continue to impress in the top-flight as their fourth win in the current campaign hoisted them up to seventh.
The opening period was a turgid affair, lit up only occasionally by the lively Matt Jarvis and Andy Carroll for the hosts, but two goals in as many minutes immediately after the break changed everything.
It all started with a slice of luck for the Hammers when Noble's free-kick deceived Southampton's static defence with the ball bouncing straight in for the opener.
Within 93 seconds the lead was doubled and it was thanks to the influential Yossi Benayoun, whose shot was parried by keeper Artur Boruc, leaving Kevin Nolan to tap in.
Adam Lallana's sizzling half-volley lifted the hopes for the visitors, but an act of madness by Jose Fonte handed West Ham a reprieve to restore their two-goal advantage.
The defender tugged at Carroll's pony tail when the ball was floated into the box and Noble stepped up to slam in the penalty and settle any West Ham nerves.
There was still time for Southampton's beleaguered defenders to fold again as they allowed Modiba Maiga to stroll through and curl in a fabulous fourth.
West Ham looked the brighter side early on but Southampton earned the game's first corner with Jay Rodriguez inches away from directing home Jason Puncheon's loss cross.
It was one of several threatening moments by the visitors for whom goalkeeper Boruc was looking shaky.
The former Celtic man became the third different goalkeeper to start for Saints this season and had Carroll to thank for not making the most of an awful clearance early on.
The home side were struggling to create any clear-cut chances, though, as Southampton went into half-time without conceding for the first time since their return to the Premier League.
However, the Saints defence was breached less than a minute into the second half.
Collins could not quite get a toe on Noble's floated 40-yard free-kick, but it bounced in the six-yard box and flew past Boruc.
The opener was followed moments later by West Ham's second after a poor Do Prado pass was not dealt with by Yoshida.
Benayoun won the ball from the Japan international and his low cross was met at the back post by Nolan, who tapped home from close range.
Only the fine reactions of Boruc prevented the Hammers captain making it three in the 61st minute as he ghosted in and directed a quickly-taken free-kick goalwards.
The save proved invaluable as Saints reduced the deficit two minutes later when Lallana turned beautifully to strike past Jaaskelainen from close range.
The goal came thanks to the hard work - and wayward shot - of Rodriguez, who was replaced by Rickie Lambert immediately afterwards.
Saints' top scorer was surprisingly left out of the starting line-up and came on at the same time as Emmanuel Mayuka, although it was the former that made an immediate impact.
First the 30-year-old saw a 20-yard free-kick just go over, before heading a Nathaniel Clyne cross wide.
Southampton were threatening to quieten the home support but undid all their good work when Fonte handled as he challenged Carroll.
Noble fired home the resulting spot-kick, allowing the Hammers to coast from the 72nd minute onwards.
|West Bromwich Albion||Team Statistics||Manchester City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|4||Shots on Target||8|
|8||Shots off Target||9|
|43.4||1st Half Poss.||56.6|
|44.2||2nd Half Poss.||55.8|