Solid Hammers make their point

Southampton 0-0 West Ham United
Barclays Premier League

West Ham United's solid start to the new Barclays Premier League campaign continued on Sunday with a 0-0 draw at Southampton.

The clean sheet was the Hammers' third from four league games this term and was the second in succession on the road.

They did need the woodwork to prevent Rickie Lambert's header from finding the net on a miserable afternoon on the south coast, while Jussi Jaaskelainen made fine saves from Morgan Schneiderlin and Lambert in the second period.

The visitors' best chance fell to James Collins six minutes from the end, but he could not keep his shot down from inside the box and the points were destined to be shared.

With Joe Cole and Stewart Downing injured, the Hammers had a change in their attacking personnel, as Ravel Morrison came in for his first Barclays Premier League start in midfield, and Mohamed Diame moved out to a position wide on the right.

Diame had a chance to make an early impact when he showed good feet to trick his way past Luke Shaw as he made his way into the area from his flank. All of a sudden only goalkeeper Artur Boruc stood in Diame's way, but he was up to the task, blocking his venomous shot to ensure the Hammers would not make the perfect start.

With eleven minutes on the clock, Southampton's Dani Osvaldo looked odds on to notch his first goal for the club as Jay Rodriguez made tracks down the left and cut back well for the Italian international. The crowd waited for the net to bulge, but Jussi Jaaskelainen had other ideas, throwing himself to his left to get in the way.

Jaaskelainen had to make another stop on 23 minutes, although this one was rather simpler, gathering down low to his right after an untimely slip from James Collins had given Southampton the chance to attack. The ball eventually fell to Lambert just outside the box and his low drive drew the stop.

It was becoming a real blood-and-thunder affair and Diame went into referee Andre Marriner's notebook for a 29th minute foul on Adam Lallana, then Southampton's Schneiderlin was fortunate not to follow suit for an ugly challenge on Diame that Marriner failed to spot as a foul.

After Kevin Nolan had a goal chalked off for a marginal, but correct, offside call on Matt Jarvis, Morrison tried his luck with a 25-yard curler which only just missed Boruc's top corner, but neither side could force a breakthrough before the interval.

Southampton started the second period with a great tempo and Jaaskelainen had to stick up a hand to knock Victor Wanyama's dipping long range shot over the top with 49 minutes played.

Lallana then delivered the corner and Lambert headed against the post with Jaaskelainen well beaten.

The hosts were beginning to properly threaten and Osvaldo split the Hammers centre halves with a pass to Lallana on 52 minutes, and Jaaskelainen needed to come off his line sharply to block and force the ball behind back off the Saints man.

There was another moment of danger just past the hour when Collins had to charge down an Osvaldo effort before Schneiderlin tried his luck with an overhead which Winston Reid managed to flick behind.

The Hammers were struggling to keep pace with the home side and Jaaskelainen produced a fine fingertip save to deny Schneiderlin after Jay Rodriguez picked him out to volley from 12 yards.

Jaaskelainen was in the action again five minutes later, flying to his left once more to deny Lambert, who looked to bend one into the top right corner.

West Ham still had an excellent opportunity to win it themselves with six minutes left to play when Mark Noble danced in down the right to cut back for James Collins, but the centre back could not keep his shot down as the Saints survived.

That proved to be the last serious chance as West Ham held out to make their point.

Southampton: Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw (Chambers 77); Lallana (Ward-Prowse 72), Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Rodriguez; Lambert, Osvaldo
Subs: K.Davis (GK), S.Davis, Ramirez, Guly, Hooiveld

Booked: Wanyama

West Ham United: Jaaskelainen; Demel (Rat 61), Collins, Reid, O'Brien; Morrison (Taylor 77), Noble, Nolan; Diame, Maiga (Vaz Te 68), Jarvis
Subs: Adrian (GK), Tomkins, Collison, Lee

Booked: Diame, Noble

Referee: Andre Marriner

Attendance: 28,794