Andy Carroll is looking forward to a ‘positive’ 2016 after bagging his second Boleyn Ground winner of the season to see off Southampton.
West Ham United ended a run of seven Barclays Premier League matches without a win and scored their first come-from-behind victory in over a year thanks to a stirring second half display.
Southampton dominated the first half and scored through Dusan Tadic, but a half-time change in tactics and personnel – including the introduction of Carroll and Manuel Lanzini – altered the course of the match.
Man of the Match Michail Antonio equalised with 21 minutes remaining when his buccaneering run was ended by a foul tackle, only for Victor Wanyama’s clearance to ricochet off the winger’s head and loop into the net.
Then, with eleven to go, the Boleyn Ground erupted as Carroll signed-off 2015 with a signature header after Antonio had nodded Enner Valencia’s bouncing cross onto the underside of the crossbar.
“It’s been eight or so games since we won so we are all delighted and I’m just glad we got the win in the end,” said a smiling Carroll. “It’s great getting a goal and for it to be the winner. I’ve had a little niggle so it was great to be back out there.”
There was much debate inside the stadium about Carroll’s new braided hairstyle, but the No9 laughed off jokes about his appearance, and instead heaped praise on Antonio and his teammates for showing the resilience to turn the game on its head.
After a challenging first half that saw frustration levels rise in some sections of the crowd, West Ham were a transformed side after the break.
Carroll gave the forward line a focal point, Lanzini started pulling the strings in the No10 position, while the switching of full-backs Carl Jenkinson and James Tomkins also added impetus down the flanks.
The result was a stirring and deserved victory which will see the Hammers end the calendar year in no worse than eighth place in the table.
“The new hairstyle will stay all season if I keep scoring!” laughed the centre forward, who then had words of support for Antonio and the squad as a whole.
“We’ve had some difficult moments over the last few weeks but Michail has put his chance away and won Man of the Match.
“We’ve got players coming back from injury and a big and deep squad so 2016 is looking positive.”