English Premiership

Hammers, Saints in stalemate

2013-04-13 18:46
Andy Carrol (AP Photo)

Southampton - Andy Carroll celebrated his return to the West Ham United team with a second-half goal to earn his side a 1-1 draw at in-form Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

With both sides well clear of the relegation places, the encounter at a soggy St Mary's offered little more than an opportunity to move closer to the 40-point mark.

Gaston Ramirez's goal just before the hour put the home side on their way, only for Carroll to equalise seven minutes later.

The draw left both sides on 38 points, with Southampton a place above their opponents in 11th position on goal difference.

Southampton's squad was hit by illness in the build-up to the game, with Jay Rodriguez and Jason Puncheon dropping to the bench and left-back Luke Shaw ruled out altogether.

West Ham, meanwhile, restored loanee Carroll to their starting XI after he missed last weekend's 0-0 draw against his parent club, Liverpool.

The home side created the first chance when captain Adam Lallana ran onto Steven Davis' pass, only for James Tomkins to intervene just as he was about to shoot.

In response, Kevin Nolan drew a good save from Artur Boruc with a low effort, before Ricardo Vaz Te hoisted a shot narrowly over the crossbar from 25 yards.

However, the visitors' momentum quickly faded and in the 18th minute, Lallana's square ball across goal narrowly eluded the onrushing Jack Cork after a neat passage of play.

Only a fine save from Jussi Jaaskelainen stopped the hosts breaking the deadlock seven minutes before half-time, the West Ham goalkeeper brilliantly clawing away an effort from the stretching Rickie Lambert.

Tempers flared shortly before the break, with referee Mike Dean obliged to step in after Lallana took exception to a strong challenge from Nolan on Morgan Schneiderlin.

The breakthrough arrived in the 59th minute and saw Ramirez coolly roll the ball past the advancing Jaaskelainen after his initial attempt had been blocked by Tomkins.

The lead lasted just seven minutes, however, as Carroll beat Boruc with a free-kick that took deflections off both Lallana and Davis to give Sam Allardyce's man a share of the spoils.

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