- Southampton up to seventh with fourth win in five
- Forster keeps fifth successive clean sheet
- Wanyama sent off for third time this season
- West Ham struggle to create chances despite late flurry
MAYA Yoshida’s early goal gave 10-man Southampton a slender win over West Ham at a rain-soaked St Mary’s.
The Japanese centre-back scored his first Premier League goal since December 2014 in the ninth minute, stabbing home Sadio Mane’s low centre from close range.
Saints defended resolutely after Victor Wanyama was sent off for the third time this season early in the second half for a challenge on Dimitri Payet.
But West Ham struggled to trouble Saints keeper Fraser Forster, who denied Winston Reid’s first-half header on his way to keeping a fifth successive clean sheet since returning from 10 months out injured.
Ronald Koeman’s team have now won four in a five-game unbeaten run which lifts them back up to seventh in the table – two points and one place behind West Ham.
Slaven Bilic’s side dominated for long periods after falling behind and piled the pressure on the hosts late on but could not prevent a second defeat in 12 league games.
Saints began brightly with Cedric’s header forcing Adrian into a fine save just two minutes before Yoshida was in the right place to smash home at the end of a well-worked move.
The defender could have conceded a penalty when appearing to clip Enner Valencia in the box and captain Reid had a header parried superbly by Forster from Payet’s free-kick as West Ham eventually grew in to the game.
The Hammers, who trailed Southampton at Upton Park in December but came back to win 2-1, were in the ascendancy once Wanyama saw red nine minutes after the break.
The former Celtic midfielder lost possession on halfway and raced to win it back by lunging in forcefully on Payet. There appeared to be minimal contact with his opponent although he did not win any of the ball.
Referee Mark Clattenburg appeared to go to his pocket for a yellow card before changing his mind seconds later after West Ham players reacted furiously.
As a result, Koeman introduced Oriol Romeu in place of Mane to protect the advantage but Saints had two good chances to extend the lead.
Shane Long curled over after latching on to Forster’s long clearance and substitute Charlie Austin almost marked his home debut with a goal, firing off target from the right channel.
Hammers boss Bilic introduced Andy Carroll and debutant Emmanuel Emenike from the bench, however, chances were few and far between despite Southampton sat in deep in numbers.
Valencia fired off target on two occasions before setting up on-loan Fenerbache striker Emenike to head wide while Cedric was relieved to see his sidefooted clearance pass narrowly beyond his own post.
But Saints – marshalled by the excellent Virgil van Dijk – survived five anxious minutes of stoppage time to leave West Ham winless at St Mary’s in their seven visits and boost their European ambitions.
West Ham – who have now won just once in eight away games – were dealt another injury blow when James Tomkins hobbled off with a calf problem in the second period.
Substitutes: Romeu (on for Mane 56′), Austin (on for Pelle 72′) and Ward-Prowse (on for Clasie 90+3′).
Not used: Stekelenburg (GK), Martina, Juanmi, Tadic.
Booked: Clasie (83′)
Sent-off: Wanyama (54′)
Goals: Yoshida (9′)
Substitutes: Carroll (on for Moses 61′), Byram (on for Tomkins 61′) and Emenike (on for Antonio 73′).
Not used: Randolph (GK), O’Brien, Oxford, Obiang.
Booked: Valencia (67′), Byram (87′)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear) – 7/10
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