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Saturday 16 December 2017

Ten man Hammers stall Saint's march

West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian battles for the ball with Southampton's Sadio Mane (rear) before being sent off for handball outside of the box
West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian battles for the ball with Southampton's Sadio Mane (rear) before being sent off for handball outside of the box

ADRIAN will have no doubt breathed a sigh of relief when the final whistle sounded at St Mary’s after West Ham managed to hold Southampton despite his moment of madness.

The match was drifting until the Hammers goalkeeper attempted to turn away from Sadio Mane, only to be caught out and handle outside the box as he attempted to make amends.

It led to the Spanish goalkeeper receiving a straight red card and his team having to withstand a barrage of attacks for the best part of 30 minutes - a feat Sam Allardyce’s men impressively managed, defending manfully to hold Saints to a 0-0 draw.

This was a big chance missed for Ronald Koeman’s Champions League hopefuls, who had 20 shots over the course of the evening without finding a breakthrough. Saints dominated from the outset, with Mane and Florin Gardos seeing goalbound efforts denied in a one-sided first half.

A blocked Morgan Amalfitano effort was the best West Ham could muster in an opening period in which referee Craig Pawson was given abuse by the St Mary’s crowd.

It did not take long for the official to find himself back at the heart of things in the second half as he decided not to give Mane a second yellow card minutes before sending off Adrian.

The Hammers goalkeeper inexplicably attempted to turn the pacey winger, only to be caught out and handle the ball outside the box as he attempted to make up for it.

It led to a deluge of Saints attack but West Ham held firm, with impressive defending, wayward finishing and some fine saves from Jussi Jaaskelainen delighting the 3,237 visiting fans.

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