Belfast Telegraph

Hammers brush aside Saints

Mark Noble's brace helped West Ham continue their fine start to life back in the top flight with a 4-1 win over fellow new-boys Southampton.

Noble broke the deadlock with a 40-yard free-kick that drifted past debutant goalkeeper Artur Boruc before captain Kevin Nolan tapped home a Yossi Benayoun cross at the back post.

Southampton threatened a comeback when Adam Lallana fired home but Noble netted a penalty before substitute Modibo Maiga superbly curled home to secure the three points.

Southampton were arguably the better side before half-time and went into the break without conceding for the first time since their return to the Premier League.

However, the Saints defence was breached less than a minute into the second half.

James Collins could not quite get a toe on Noble's floated free-kick but it bounced in the six-yard box and flew past Boruc.

The opener was followed moments later when Benayoun won the ball from Maya Yoshida and his low cross was met at the back post by Nolan.

Saints reduced the deficit after 63 minutes when Lallana turned beautifully to strike a half-volley past Jussi Jaaskelainen from close range.

The goal came thanks to the hard work - and wayward shot - of Jay Rodriguez, who was replaced by top-scorer Rickie Lambert immediately afterwards.

Southampton were threatening to quieten the home support but undid all their good work when Jose Fonte handled as he challenged Andy Carroll. Noble fired home the resulting spot-kick before Maiga put the match out of sight three minutes from time.

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