Saints draw is a Hammer blow for Sam
SOUTHAMPTON came from behind to rescue a 1-1 draw at 10-man |West Ham and prevent Sam Allardyce’s side pulling clear at the top of the Championship.
Jos Hooiveld scored a 75th-minute equaliser at Upton Park to keep the visitors just one point behind their opponents.
West Ham played with 10 men since the 18th minute when Matt Taylor was dismissed for a clash with Billy Sharp after the Saints striker had conceded a penalty with a foul on Mark Noble.
Noble then dispatched the spot-kick low into the net, but the Hammers could not hold on as |the visitors eventually made the extra man count.
Cardiff and Blackpool both |won to close on the automatic promotion places.
Cardiff beat Peterborough 3-1 in the Welsh capital to go third and move to within three points of Southampton, while Blackpool |won 3-1 at relegation-threatened Doncaster to sit one place and |one point further back.
Cardiff scored three times in seven first-half minutes to kill off Posh before the break.
Peter Whittingham fired home the first in the 34th minute, Rudy Gestede added a second and Haris Vuckic, on loan from Newcastle, netted his first for the club to make it three.
Paul Taylor pulled one back at the death for the visitors, but it was far too little too late.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher scored twice in the first half to set Ian Holloway’s Blackpool side on their way before El-Hadji Diouf gave the hosts hope from the penalty spot on 43 minutes.
But Nouha Dicko sealed the points with a third in the 72nd minute as Rovers dropped to the foot of the table.
Birmingham dropped to fifth as they were held to a goalless draw at home to Hull.
Reading replaced the Tigers in the final play-off place with a 1-0 win at Derby, Irishman Noel Hunt on target for the Royals just |after the hour mark.