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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at the London Stadium

Dull fare, but Aguerd goal ensures it's Hammers who take vital points in basement battle with Saints

West Ham United (1) 1 Aguerd 28

Southampton (0) 0

Nayef Aguerd’s first goal for the Hammers unlocked a turgid affair between the Premier League’s bottom two and sparked the win which could prove so precious.

The Moroccan had to wait an age to have his moment of glory confirmed as VAR scanned replays repeatedly for a possible offside.

In the end it was decided the powerful header with which he met Thilo Kehrer’s free-kick from the right was legitimate.

The goal helped West Ham shake off some of the nervy football they had been serving up in the opening passages and they promised more.

As it was, the match never really elevated itself above an unseemly scrap which made for terrible viewing.

There might have been a goal or two more. Said Benrahma clipped a first-time shot on the turn just over and Jarrod Bowen cut in from the left before cracking a fine shot against the crossbar, with keeper Gavin Bazunu well beaten.

But Saints were poor. Deploying a 20-year-old French striker with few starts to his name underlined their lack of menace. A low Romain Perraud shot was their best chance before the interval – Lukasz Fabianski getting down well to turn the drive aside.

The introduction of Kamaldeen Sulemana injected some urgency for the Saints, but they are over-reliant on James Ward-Prowse for inspiration and this time he could not inspire a recovery, although he did come close by lifting a fine ball to the far post that sub Paul Onuachu headed against the bar.

Overall, the Hammers looked the likelier of the two teams to add to the scoreline and a whipped Benrama free-kick needed Bazunu to make a good save.

The keeper also did well when a Bowen cross arrowed towards the top corner after deflecting off team-mate Duje Caleta-Car. But that alone was never going to be enough to save the sorry Saints.

Hammers: (4-1-4-1) Fabianski – Kehrer, Zouma, Aguerd, Emerson (Cresswell 87) – Rice – Bowen, Soucek (Downes 68), Paqueta (Fornals 87), Benrahma – Ings (Antonio 65). Subs not used: Areola, Coufal, Lanzini, Cornet, Ogbonna

Saints: (4-4-2) Bazunu – Walker-Peters, Bednarek, Caleta-Car, Perraud – S Armstrong Maitland-Nile 72), Ward-Prowse, Lavia, Elyounoussi (Sulemana 54)– Walcott (Onuachu 72), Mara (Alcaraz 54). Subs not used: McCarthy, Maitland-Niles, Lyanco, Aribo, Orsic, Diallo


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