West Ham United’s winning run may have ended at St Mary’s on Sunday afternoon but fortunately, they are still unbeaten in October after a 1-1 draw against Southampton.
David Moyes made five changes from the victory over RSC Anderlecht three days ago which saw them through to the UEFA Europa Conference League knockout stages on Thursday night, as Łukasz Fabiański replaced Alphonse Areola in goal, while Thilo Kehrer was back in the starting line-up in place of Angelo Ogbonna. Declan Rice and Tomáš Souček returned to the midfield with Saïd Benrahma and Manuel Lanzini dropping to the bench. Emmerson Palmieri retained his place from the match at home to the Belgians three days ago, which meant that Flynn Downes had to settle for a place amongst the nine substitutes. Gianluca Scamacca was also restored. Youngster Connor Coventry found himself involved in the matchday squad once again.
Considering they only had two days to prepare for this game, the Hammers were quick out of the blocks with Scamacca playing in Palmieri and the former Chelsea man was unfortunate not to open his account for West Ham as he saw his effort go narrowly wide.
It was then the Saints who had their first chance when Che Adams tried his luck but thankfully for those who had made the trip to the South Coast, Fabiański was equal to his effort.
In an open start to the encounter, Scamacca also had a go at goal but in truth, it was never going to trouble home goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.
You have to go back to 30 August for the last time that Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men claimed a victory but they went in front here, as Romain Perraud put the hosts in front, just as he did when the two sides last met here back in March in the FA Cup. The Frenchman’s effort took a deflection and went past Fabiański.
Referee Peter Bankes allowed the goal to stand, despite appearing to block Jarrod Bowen’s attempt to prevent Perraud taking the shot on.
West Ham then went looking for an immediate response but Lucas Paquetá could only send his effort over the bar. Despite this, they did keep the pressure on and nearly found an equaliser minutes later. Scamacca broke clear of the home defence and played a great ball out to Paquetá but unfortunately, the midfielder headed wide.
The visitors were then indebted to their goalkeeper, as he kept them in the game by making a double save from Adams.
The Saints were desperate to increase their advantage before the break but Fabiański was at it again, as he prevented Mohamed Elyounoussi from getting on the scoresheet.
Bankes brought the first-half to a close after two minutes of stoppage time had been played and the Irons were facing the possibility of losing back-to-back games on the road, following defeat at Everton before the international break.
Although Moyes saw no need to make changes before the start of the second-half, West Ham certainly came out all guns blazing and should have levelled matters. However, Paquetá sent another effort over the top, while Scamacca forced Bazunu into a save with the former Manchester City and Portsmouth goalkeeper doing well to thwart the striker.
In an effort to add more attacking threat, Moyes made his first change with fifty nine minutes gone, as Benrahma took the place of Palmieri.
That was an inspired move by the Hammers’ boss, who saw his side finally get back level just five minutes later. Benrahma spotted Rice in space and the new club Captain claimed his first goal of the season by sending a curling effort past Bazunu to send the travelling support wild.
The visitors didn’t pick up a victory despite playing here twice last season and they were desperate to make amends for that. They thought that they should have had a penalty, following a handball incident but Bankes decided that the appeals were not enough for VAR to intervene, meaning nothing was given.
One more chance was to fall West Ham’s way but unfortunately, Scamacca wasn’t able to beat Bazunu.
Moyes was still hopeful of a late winner so he made a double change by introducing both Lanzini and Michail Antonio for Paquetá and Scamacca.
That draw will leave Moyes’ side in good spirits ahead of the trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on Wednesday night.