Jos Hooiveld's late equaliser rescued a point for Southampton as the Championship's top two clubs shared the spoils at Upton Park.
Mark Noble put the Hammers in front from the penalty spot before the break after being fouled by Billy Sharp.
The Saints striker was also involved in an incident that saw Matt Taylor sent off shortly before West Ham's goal.
Sam Allardyce West Ham manager
“The biggest problem was the referee missed two of the most blatant penalties you will ever see. Everyone in the ground could see they were penalties”
Sharp was later denied by Rob Green but Saints equalised when Hooiveld poked home from close range.
The result saw leaders West Ham maintain their one-point advantage over Saints, but both sides missed the opportunity to strike a significant blow on their nearest rival in the race for automatic promotion.
In fact, the draw allowed the chasing pack back into the mix as Cardiff City and Blackpool both won to close the gap on the top two.
Saints' poor away record continues with Nigel Adkins' side still without a victory on the road over a side in the top half of the table.
Nonetheless, Adkins will see it as a point gained considering his side's poor start to the game, while his opposite number Sam Allardyce will point towards Taylor's disputed red card as the game's turning point.
Still, Allardyce's side remain top and it will take something special to prevent them from returning back to the Premier League at the first attempt based on tonight's evidence.
Just a point separated these two sides before the game but the gulf in class during the opening stages could not have been greater.
West Ham outclassed, outmuscled and outplayed their opponents early on but once Taylor had been dismissed, a combination of great goalkeeping from Green and poor finishing from Sharp prevented Saints clawing their way back into the contest.
West Ham came flying out of the traps with Ricardo Vaz Te testing Kelvin Davis with a fierce half-volley in the opening minute and they soon took the lead with a hotly-disputed penalty.
DID YOU KNOW
- This is the first season West Ham and Southampton have played in the same division since 2002/03. Prior to West Ham's relegation from the top-flight in 2003, the clubs had gone head-to-head in 10 consecutive Premier League seasons.
Sharp was harshly adjudged to have brought down Noble and then became involved in an altercation with Taylor. The Saints striker collapsed to the floor in a heap and referee Lee Probert handed a red card to the unfortunate Taylor 18 minutes into the game.
Noble kept his cool to convert from the spot but with a man advantage Saints came back into the game.
Recent signing Sharp should have levelled but struck Green from close range and the Hammers keeper later pulled off a fine one-handed save from Rickie Lambert's 18-yard shot.
West Ham started the second half brightly but Lambert came close to connecting from close range as the visitors pressed for an equaliser.
Hooiveld headed a Saints corner over from close range when he really should have tested Green, but the big Dutchman made amends moments later when poking home Lambert's knock down from six yards out.
The Hammers introduced debutant Nicky Maynard from the bench and the former Bristol City man forced a decent save from Davis with five minutes remaining.
It was the last meaningful action of a pulsating contest which leaves the race for promotion well and truly open.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce:
"The Southampton player has held his face when Matt Taylor pushed him in the chest.
"The assistant referee has been conned and unfortunately we lost a man from then on.
"But the biggest problem was the referee missed two of the most blatant penalties you will ever see. Everyone in the ground could see they were penalties."
Southampton boss Nigel Adkins:
"It was a good game of football with lots of incident.
"At the end of the day we've come away from home and got a point. We've totally dominated the game on the balance of play.
"We should have got a penalty of our own in the second half. I've watched it again and it was a clear penalty."
West Ham United
- 01 Green
- 02 Reid
- 05 Tomkins
- 15 Faye Booked
- 17 O'Brien
- 18 Faubert
- 10 Collison (McCartney - 21' )
- 14 Taylor Dismissed
- 16 Noble
- 09 Cole Booked (Maynard - 65' )
- 12 Vaz Te (O'Neil - 71' )
- 03 McCartney
- 22 Lansbury
- 32 O'Neil
- 07 Baldock
- 08 Maynard
- 01 Davis
- 02 Richardson (Connolly - 80' )
- 06 Fonte Booked
- 13 Fox
- 26 Hooiveld
- 04 Schneiderlin
- 08 Cork Booked
- 10 Guly (Puncheon - 55' )
- 20 Lallana Booked
- 07 Lambert
- 11 Sharp Booked (Hammond - 83' )
- 16 Martin
- 14 Hammond
- 42 Puncheon
- 19 Lee
- 22 Connolly
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.90:00 +3:42
Adam Lallana takes the inswinging corner, Robert Green makes a save.90:00 +2:56
The ball is swung over by Jack Cork, save by Robert Green.90:00 +2:24
Corner taken left-footed by Daniel Fox.90:00 +2:18
Jack Cork produces a cross, Gary O'Neil gets a block in.88:37
Strike on goal comes in from Mark Noble from the free kick.88:37 Booking
Booking Jose Fonte receives a yellow card.88:27
Unfair challenge on Nicky Maynard by Jose Fonte results in a free kick.85:16
Corner taken by Mark Noble from the right by-line, save made by Kelvin Davis.84:59
Nicky Maynard takes a shot. Save by Kelvin Davis.83:33
Joey O'Brien fouled by Jason Puncheon, the ref awards a free kick. Mark Noble takes the free kick.82:17 Substitution
Substitution Billy Sharp goes off and Dean Hammond comes on.80:15
David Connolly gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mark Noble. Joey O'Brien takes the direct free kick.79:02 Substitution
Substitution David Connolly is brought on as a substitute for Frazer Richardson.77:53
Frazer Richardson sends in a cross, save by Robert Green.74:28
Assist by Daniel Fox.74:28 Goal scored
Goal! - Jos Hooiveld - West Ham 1 - 1 Southamp'n Jos Hooiveld scores a goal from close in low into the middle of the goal. West Ham 1-1 Southampton.73:39
Billy Sharp fouled by Abdoulaye Faye, the ref awards a free kick. Daniel Fox restarts play with the free kick.72:08
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Adam Lallana, Jos Hooiveld has a header from close range and clears the crossbar.70:44 Substitution
Substitution Gary O'Neil joins the action as a substitute, replacing Ricardo Vaz Te.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mark Noble by Jack Cork. Direct free kick taken by Robert Green.69:22
The ball is delivered by Frazer Richardson, Winston Reid manages to make a clearance.69:04
James Tomkins gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adam Lallana. Jack Cork takes the direct free kick.68:17
Jack Cork crosses the ball.67:41
A cross is delivered by Jason Puncheon, Joey O'Brien makes a clearance.66:11
Adam Lallana crosses the ball.65:01
Adam Lallana gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on George McCartney. Mark Noble takes the free kick.63:58 Substitution
Substitution Nicky Maynard comes on in place of Carlton Cole.63:58
Adam Lallana takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.63:00
Adam Lallana takes the inswinging corner, Joey O'Brien makes a clearance.62:44
Jason Puncheon takes a shot. Blocked by Abdoulaye Faye.62:29
The ball is swung over by Adam Lallana, Julien Faubert manages to make a clearance.61:34
Jack Cork takes a shot. Robert Green makes a save.60:45
Morgan Schneiderlin challenges Ricardo Vaz Te unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mark Noble takes the free kick.58:48
Short corner taken by Adam Lallana.57:49
Richard Lambert takes a shot. Robert Green makes a save.57:09
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Frazer Richardson by Ricardo Vaz Te. Jose Fonte restarts play with the free kick.56:35
Shot from just outside the penalty area by Frazer Richardson misses to the left of the target.56:07
A cross is delivered by Frazer Richardson, clearance by Julien Faubert.54:14 Substitution
Substitution (Southampton) makes a substitution, with Jason Puncheon coming on for Guly Do Prado.54:14
Shot by George McCartney from deep inside the penalty area misses wide to the left of the target.53:08
Jack Cork takes a shot. Robert Green makes a save.52:51
Short corner taken by Ricardo Vaz Te.52:45
The ball is sent over by Ricardo Vaz Te, blocked by Frazer Richardson.52:03
Direct free kick taken by Mark Noble.52:03 Booking
Booking Jack Cork is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.51:55
George McCartney fouled by Jack Cork, the ref awards a free kick.51:13
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jose Fonte by Carlton Cole. Direct free kick taken by Jack Cork.50:29
A cross is delivered by Julien Faubert.50:05
Centre by Frazer Richardson, save by Robert Green.47:58
Daniel Fox delivers the ball, Winston Reid makes a clearance.46:52
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Mark Noble, Kelvin Davis makes a save.46:06
Corner taken by Mark Noble, Jose Fonte makes a clearance.45:01
The second half has started.45:00 +4:06 Half time
Half Time The whistle is blown to end the first half.45:00 +2:31 Booking
Booking The referee shows Adam Lallana a yellow card.44:47
Adam Lallana takes a shot. Blocked by Winston Reid. Richard Lambert takes a shot. Save by Robert Green.44:16
The ball is crossed by Daniel Fox, clearance by George McCartney.40:44
Free kick awarded for a foul by Julien Faubert on Morgan Schneiderlin. Strike comes in from Richard Lambert from the free kick.40:14
Direct free kick taken by Daniel Fox.40:14 Booking
Booking Abdoulaye Faye is cautioned.40:03
Foul by Abdoulaye Faye on Billy Sharp, free kick awarded.39:37
The ball is delivered by Daniel Fox, clearance by Ricardo Vaz Te.33:31
Foul by George McCartney on Billy Sharp, free kick awarded. Daniel Fox has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, Abdoulaye Faye gets a block in.32:58
Adam Lallana takes a shot. Robert Green makes a save. Billy Sharp takes a shot. Robert Green makes a save.28:51
Joey O'Brien produces a cross, Carlton Cole takes a shot. Save by Kelvin Davis.28:17
Kelvin Davis takes the direct free kick.28:17 Booking
Booking The referee shows Carlton Cole a yellow card.27:55
Carlton Cole concedes a free kick for a foul on Kelvin Davis.27:28
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Mark Noble, save by Kelvin Davis.27:13
Ricardo Vaz Te takes a shot. Kelvin Davis makes a save.24:10
Billy Sharp sends in a cross.23:33
Foul by Carlton Cole on Adam Lallana, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Daniel Fox.22:47
Mark Noble takes the inswinging corner, Jose Fonte manages to make a clearance.21:29
Billy Sharp is ruled offside. Robert Green takes the indirect free kick.20:56 Substitution
Substitution Jack Collison goes off and George McCartney comes on.20:27 Goal scored
Goal! - Mark Noble - West Ham 1 - 0 Southamp'n Penalty taken right-footed by Mark Noble and scored. West Ham 1-0 Southampton.18:41 Booking
Booking Billy Sharp goes into the book.17:52 Dismissal
Dismissal Matthew Taylor sent off.17:31
Billy Sharp gives away a Penalty for an unfair challenge on Mark Noble.16:58
Morgan Schneiderlin challenges Joey O'Brien unfairly and gives away a free kick. Matthew Taylor restarts play with the free kick.15:04
The referee gives a free kick against Richard Lambert for handball. Matthew Taylor takes the direct free kick.14:30
Guly Do Prado takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Abdoulaye Faye.14:20
The ball is delivered by Julien Faubert.13:34
Ricardo Vaz Te produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the goal.11:14
The assistant referee flags for offside against Guly Do Prado. Robert Green takes the free kick.10:00
Close range header by Richard Lambert goes wide of the left-hand post.8:39
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Adam Lallana, clearance by James Tomkins.8:02
The referee penalises Matthew Taylor for handball. Daniel Fox has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, Abdoulaye Faye gets a block in.6:50
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Mark Noble from the left by-line, Abdoulaye Faye gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Morgan Schneiderlin. Direct free kick taken by Kelvin Davis.6:18
Foul by Morgan Schneiderlin on Mark Noble, free kick awarded. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Matthew Taylor, Morgan Schneiderlin gets a block in.4:52
Billy Sharp takes a shot. Mark Noble gets a block in.4:28
The offside flag is raised against Julien Faubert. Kelvin Davis takes the free kick.1:27
Adam Lallana delivers the ball, save by Robert Green.0:57
Mark Noble takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance by Richard Lambert.0:46
Ricardo Vaz Te takes a shot. Kelvin Davis makes a save.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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