Austin sent Joe Hart, the West Ham goalkeeper, the wrong way as Mauricio Pellegrino clinched his first win as Southampton manager in a dramatic finale. After the visitors had trailed by two goals, Javier Hernández rolled back the years with a couple of trademark finishes but it proved not quite enough to get the Hammers off the hook.
As Slaven Bilic put it, they “knew what we are getting” with Hernández, a £16m summer signing from Bayer Leverkusen. There was a concerning familiarity about the problems at the other end, though, with his vulnerable back line, that has now been breached seven times in just two matches.
Manolo Gabbiadini opened the scoring, ending Southampton supporters’ 587-minute wait for a home goal in the process. Dusan Tadic then doubled Saints’ lead from the penalty spot, shortly after Marko Arnautovic was given a red card for an elbow on Jack Stephens.
Bilic revealed Arnautovic, who posted an apology to supporters on Instagram, also said sorry to team-mates who played more than an hour without him. “It is hard to play with 10 men for such a long time,” the West Ham manager said. “We are all gutted to know we lost a point but we gained a lot of positive things from this performance.”
West Ham settled quicker and could have taken the lead through Arnautovic who drilled wide after being slid through by Michail Antonio.
Southampton did not look dangerous until Gabbiadini was rewarded for coming deep to collect the ball. After a neat give and go with Nathan Redmond, the striker burst into a gaping hole between Angelo Ogbonna and José Fonte and scuffed his effort home. It was a goal that punctured West Ham’s promising start, before Arnautovic totally deflated them.
After Stephens had played the ball, Arnautovic played anything but, leading with his elbow on the Southampton defender, who fell to ground. The referee, Lee Mason, had little choice but to give Arnautovic a straight red card. It was not the kind of impact West Ham’s watching owners, David Sullivan and David Gold, had hoped for from their £20m club-record signing, who strutted down the tunnel, kicking the floor in anger as he went. Moments before his sending-off, he had gone close, stooping to head Hernández’s low cross from the right.
Then things got worse, with Southampton awarded a penalty after 37 minutes. Fonté tugged on Steven Davis’s shirt inside the box and up stepped Tadic to convert from 12 yards, via Hart’s legs. It summed up a difficult afternoon for the former Southampton captain. But just as Saints were cruising towards half-time, Hernández gave West Ham a lifeline, poking home after Fraser Forster parried Antonio’s hopeful effort from distance. It was his first Premier League goal since April 2014, for Manchester United at Newcastle.
After the interval, Gabbiadini rattled the crossbar from 25 yards in an otherwise stale start to the second half. Bilic made a couple of personnel changes, introducing Diafra Sakho in place of Antonio, who was making his first appearance in four months after a hamstring injury. Sakho made a rapid impact too. His powerful header from Aaron Cresswell’s whipped cross was pushed on to the bar by Forster but again lurking to tap home was Hernández after 74 minutes.
“I think after the second goal, we were a little bit relaxed – not in terms of concentration but in terms of being clinical enough to score the third one,” Pellegrino said. “When you give the chance to an opponent to grab opportunities, you will be in trouble.”
Southampton responded by throwing on the strikers Austin and Shane Long in search of a winner themselves. Long had a goal correctly disallowed after Ryan Bertrand fouled Hart before Redmond crashed an effort on to the crossbar. Eventually, though, Saints got their reward, a minute into added time. Pablo Zabaleta fouled Maya Yoshida and an ice-cool Austin did the rest.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010