Allardyce backing for combative Carroll despite drought
West Ham 4 Southampton 1
IT was a tale of contrasting fortunes at Upton Park, with Southampton's insistence on playing passing football bringing no reward once again, while West Ham's more pragmatic style earned them their best win of the season and took them into seventh place.
Much of the post-match discussions centred on the two centre-forwards, with Andy Carroll in the thick of it for the Hammers, while Southampton's Rickie Lambert started on the bench.
Sam Allardyce reiterated his faith in Carroll, who has yet to score since arriving on loan from Liverpool but proved a handful for the Southampton defence.
Lambert, on the other hand, had continued his free-scoring form into the Premier League, having scored most of the goals that won Southampton promotion. He was dropped, however, in favour of youngster Jay Rodriguez before going on for the final half-hour.
Nigel Adkins said the decision to drop Lambert was made with a view to shaking things up.
"Rickie has been phenomenal and one of the major reasons why we've got to the Premier League," Adkins said. "But I had to make a decision that I believe was right at the time. You live and die by your decisions."
Adkins appeared justified at half-time after his side shaded the opening period, before West Ham scored twice in three minutes, through Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan, after the break.
Although Adam Lallana gave Saints hope with a 64th-minute goal, Noble made it 3-1 with a penalty and substitute Modibo Maiga completed the scoring in the closing stages.
Allardyce was unconcerned that Carroll failed to score -- two goals came from free-kicks for fouls on the target-man.
"Andy will score sooner or later. But it is not about him scoring, it is about us winning," he said.
"He is still a young man and has a lot of improving to do. But he's such an important player for us already." (© Daily Telegraph, London)