UNITED KINGDOM, February 6 -Southampton overcame the second-half dismissal of Kenyan Victor Wanyama to beat West Ham 1-0 at St Mary’s and maintain their excellent recent Premier League form.
Maya Yoshida scored the only goal of a tightly-contested game in the ninth minute, finishing from Wanyama’s pass.
Saints had to play for the majority of the second half with 10 men after Wanyama’s dismissal – his third of the season – for a tackle on Dimitri Payet.
Aided by fit-again goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who spent 10 months on the sidelines after breaking his kneecap last year, Southampton have now gone five games in the league without losing or conceding a goal.
They climb to seventh place in the table, three points off the European places and two points below Slaven Bilic’s West Ham, who gave a debut to Nigerian loan signing Emanuel Emenike.
Following a mid-season sticky patch in which they lost six times in eight games, Southampton went into the match on a four-game unbeaten run and their rediscovered confidence was clear from the off.
It took the hosts less than eight minutes to create a chance, Cedric Soares drawing a fine one-handed save from West Ham goalkeeper Adrian with a back-post header, and a minute later they went ahead.
After West Ham failed to clear a corner, Sadio Mane’s incisive pass from the right wing was helped into the box by Wanyama and Yoshida steamed in to slam the ball into the roof of the net from six yards.
West Ham felt they should have had a penalty when Enner Valencia went down following a tangle of legs with Yoshida, but referee Mark Clattenburg was unmoved.
Minutes later, Dimitri Payet curled a free-kick into the Southampton box from West Ham’s left and it took a sharp parry from England international Forster to keep out Winston Reid’s powerful header.
Southampton looked comfortable, but their grip on the game was compromised early in the second half when Clattenburg flashed a straight red card at Wanyama after he had scythed down Payet.
Southampton manager Koeman reacted by withdrawing Mane for Oriol Romeu, while Bilic chanced his arm by introducing Andy Carroll and, shortly after, Emenike.
West Ham defender James Tomkins was also forced to make way due to injury, with Sam Byram coming on.
After Shane Long had shot over for Southampton, on-loan Fenerbahce striker Emenike threatened an equaliser for West Ham when he headed wide from Valencia’s inviting cross.
Southampton substitute Charlie Austin spurned a chance to mark his home debut with a goal when he sliced wide from Romeu’s pass and there was a late scare for the hosts when Cedric hooked just wide of his own goal.