West Ham United goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen kept Southampton at bay with a series of fine saves as the teams played out a 0-0 draw in the Premier League on Sunday.
Neither side could get the upper hand at a windswept St Mary’s, but it was Southampton who created the better chances.
West Ham dominated possession in the early stages, but were lucky not to concede when Pablo Daniel Osvaldo’s side-footed shot from Jay Rodriguez’s cross was brilliantly saved by Jaaskelainen in the 10th minute.
West Ham responded through Mohamed Diame’s long-range shot that flew just over the top-left corner in the 20th minute.
Diame was then booked for a trip on Adam Lallana, then found himself at the receiving end of a dangerous tackle from Morgan Schneiderlin that was left unpunished by the referee.
Ravel Morrison, who was handed his first Premier League start after replacing the injured Stewart Downing in Sam Allardyce’s team, then curled a right-footed shot from outside the area over the bar five minutes before halftime.
The 38-year-old Jaaskelainen proved decisive again in the 49th minute when he tipped the ball out for a corner from Victor Wanyama’s volley. The Finnish goalkeeper then made a stunning one-handed diving save to parry Morgan Schneiderlin’s volley in the 67th minute.
Even in-form England striker Rickie Lambert, who hit the post with a header early in the second half, could not beat Jaaskelainen as his right-footed strike was also denied six minutes later.
“We’re creating chances and we just have to start putting them away,” Jaaskelainen said. “We get one goal and that confidence will come, but I’m happy to keep clean sheets.”
West Ham wasted the best chance of the match with six minutes to go when Mark Noble served up a fine cross in the area for James Collins, only for the defender to drag his shot over the crossbar.
“We could have won it at the end when Ginge [James Collins] had his chance, that was the best chance of game,” Allardyce said. “It was a bit unlucky that it fell to our centerhalf, but from that far out he should hit target. Overall, it was a decent performance. Defensively, we showed how good we are, but we can’t hit the back of the net. That’s my concern at the moment.”
Both teams now have five points from four games, four less than league leaders Arsenal, who are level on points with Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool had the chance to reclaim top spot and maintain their 100 percent record in the league with a win at Swansea City yesterday.