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Ten-man West Ham twice came from behind but Charlie Austin’s injury time penalty gave Southampton their first victory under Mauricio Pellegrino.
Having failed to score in their last six home matches, Saints took the lead after only 10 minutes when Manolo Gabbiadini side-footed past Joe Hart.
West Ham’s problems then spiralled, as Marko Arnautovic was sent off for elbowing Jack Stephens, before Dusan Tadic made it 2-0 from the penalty spot after Jose Fonte brought down Steven Davis.
Summer signing Javier Hernandez thought he had snatched an unlikely comeback for the visitors with two goals from close range either side of half time.
But the Hammers conceded a second penalty when Pablo Zabaleta bundled into Maya Yoshida and substitute Austin coolly slotted past Hart.
Were the big calls right?
Referee Lee Mason had some important decisions to make throughout the dramatic match at St Mary’s – and he got most of them right.
Mason was left with little choice but show a straight red to Arnautovic on 33 minutes, after the Hammers’ record signing needlessly raised his elbow into Stephens’ neck.
The first penalty was also an easy one to give, as former Saints defender Fonte pulled down Davis, but the second spot-kick in the 91st minute was a more contentious matter.
Zabaleta caught a rising Yoshida in the back, as he went to head the ball from close range, and Mason decided the Hammers defender had impeded his Southampton counter-part.
West Ham had earlier had a handball appeal against Stephens waved away, while the referee did not punish Mark Noble for his rash challenge on new Saints midfielder Mario Lemina in the first half.
Saints finally start scoring
Before facing the Hammers, Southampton had not scored on home soil since 5 April – 576 minutes of football.
They had 29 shots against Swansea last week, landing only two on target in their goalless draw, so there was a collective sigh of relief around St Mary’s when Gabbidani slotted home after Nathan Redmond’s through ball.
Saints were only able to score from open play once during the match, but Gabbiadini and Redmond both went close with long-range efforts.
Substitute Shane Long had the ball in the net in the second-half but referee Mason had already blown for a foul on goalkeeper Hart in the build-up.
Hernandez shines for unhappy Hammers
With their home ground out of use until next month following the athletics World Championships, it was always going to be a testing start to the season for West Ham.
They started their run of four consecutive away matches with an embarrassing 4-0 defeat against Manchester United last weekend, but put in a much-improved display at St Mary’s – even after going down to 10 men.
Hernandez, who arrived for £16m from Bayer Leverkusan, lived up to his reputation as a potent poacher with his first two goals for his new club.
The Mexico international tapped in West Ham’s opener after Fraser Forster parried Michail Antonio’s shot into his path, and did the same again for his second goal – this time after Diafra Sakho’s header came off the woodwork.
While Hernandez looks to have settled in well, on-loan goalkeeper Hart still looked nervous at times and his confidence may be dented further after conceding seven goals in two matches.
Man of the match – Dusan Tadic
Saints’ nine hour wait for a goal
- Gabbiadini’s goal ended a run of nine hours and 15 minutes without a Premier League goal at St. Mary’s for Southampton.
- Marko Arnautovic has been sent off versus Southampton in each of his last two Premier League appearances against them.
- Since the start of 2015-16, West Ham have conceded more goals from the penalty spot than any other Premier League team (15).
- All 39 of Javier Hernandez’s Premier League goals have come inside the box.
- There were more goals scored in this match (five) than in Southampton’s previous five home Premier League games combined (three).
Southampton host Wolves in the EFL Cup on Wednesday (19:45 BST), before returning to league action against Huddersfield on Saturday, 26th August (15:00 BST).
West Ham are also in EFL Cup action on Wednesday at League Two side Cheltenham Town (19:45 BST) before travelling to Newcastle on Saturday (15:00 BST).
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