SOUTHAMPTON, England (Reuters) – Declan Rice drilled home a curling effort from outside the penalty area to secure West Ham United a point in a 1-1 Premier League draw at Southampton on Sunday.
Skipper Rice expertly bent in his 64th-minute effort to give the visitors a deserved share of the spoils after Romain Perraud had put the Saints ahead in the 20th minute.
The draw ended a run of four successive defeats for Southampton but the point and performance did little to ease the pressure on beleaguered manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.
They remained in the bottom three on eight points while West Ham moved up to 11th position with 11 points from their opening 10 games of the season.
West Ham complained long and hard about Perraud’s goal, claiming a foul throw from Kyle Walker-Peters in the build-up and that referee Peter Bankes impeded Jarrod Bowen as he made an effort to block Perraud’s shot from the edge of the penalty area.
But a VAR check allowed the goal to stand, to the indignation of the away side who had dominated the early exchanges.
“The referee blocks Jarrod Bowen getting it, ridiculous. You can’t get in the way of somebody,” West Ham manager David Moyes said.
Emerson served early notice with a headed effort inches wide in the third minute followed by several near misses from Gianluca Scamacca, who proved a handful for the home side.
West Ham came closest in the first half, however, when their record signing Lucas Paqueta headed a deft cross from Sacamacca across the goal and onto the outside of the upright in the 38th minute.
That was minutes after an opportunity for the home side when Che Adams’s powerful shot forced a sharp diving save out of Hammers goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Southampton could have doubled their lead six minutes into the second half on the counter-attack but Mohamed Elyounoussi’s cross to Adams was expertly intercepted by Aaron Creswell to deny a golden chance.
West Ham equalised after a quick one-two between Rice and substitute Said Benrahma and the England international picked his spot to strike home a superb effort for his first league goal in 12 months.
Benrahma and Scamacca continued to apply the pressure in search of a win but both had efforts blocked.
“There was times in the first half where we played well. I thought once we got settled we made a lot of opportunities, but we didn’t take them. We certainly deservedly got something,” added Moyes.
Southampton made a late appeal for a penalty after a handball from Tomas Soucek but it was waved away.
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond)