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Carlton Cole's 50th Barclays Premier League goal helped secure a fourth straight win for West Ham as they came from behind to beat Southampton 3-1.
The hosts trailed after just eight minutes through Maya Yoshida's towering header, before Matthew Jarvis was played in by Kevin Nolan to level things with a tidy finish. Three minutes later fans' favourite Cole headed Stewart Downing's corner against the post before tucking away the rebound.
The win was wrapped up in the 71st minute courtesy of Nolan's superb overhead kick, much to the delight of manager Sam Allardyce.
Jay Rodriguez, who is currently second only to Daniel Sturridge as the league top-scoring Englishman, was one of six changes to the Southampton side that crashed out of the FA Cup last week, as the visitors sought to penetrate a West Ham defence enjoying a run of four consecutive clean sheets, their best record in the Barclays Premier League era.
A confident start by the visitors was rewarded early on when Steven Davis' whipped free-kick from the right found Yoshida, who rose highest to power home from eight yards.
West Ham, unchanged from the 2-0 win over Norwich City, nearly hit back immediately, after Guy Demel's low cross eventually found its way to Nolan, who could only stab his effort straight at Artur Boruc.
The West Ham captain made amends just 10 minutes later, producing a wonderful ball over the top of the defence for Jarvis, who beat the offside trap to round the keeper and tap home an equaliser.
West Ham looked to be in the ascendency and took the lead three minutes later when Southampton failed to deal with Downing's corner, allowing Cole to head onto the post before lashing home from close range at the second attempt.
A shell-shocked Southampton struggled to regain their early momentum, but nearly restored parity just after the half-hour mark when Rickie Lambert rose to meet Jack Cork's cross from the right, only to be denied by the woodwork.
James Collins nearly stretched West Ham's lead on the hour mark when he headed Downing's corner just over the bar as the Hammers looked to wrap up the match. They were nearly made to pay for their wastefulness five minutes later, with Adam Lallana failing to get on the end of a wonderful low cross from Luke Shaw, before substitute Gaston Ramirez fired over a minute later.
Southampton continued to press and could have levelled through Lallana, who capitalised on a defensive error to race through on goal, but could only guide a tame effort wide.
But West Ham secured the three points with just under 20 minutes left when Cole's flick-on found Nolan, who produced an acrobatic overhead kick to put the game out of Saints' reach.
Substitute Mohamed Diame crashed an effort off the bar late on, but a greater deficit would have been harsh on Southampton, who saw a six-match unbeaten league run stretching back to New Year's Day come to an end.
West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce: "We're now sat with one point more than we were last season after 27 games and I think that says it all about hte volatiility around the game, the fact that people don't have any patience any more.
"It's about the quality of our finishing today, the quality of our finishing as well as some exceptionally good defending. Putting both together has given us an outstanding victory against a side that have picked up as many points away from home as at home.
"It was a magnificent effort, especially with the knock back so early on when Southanmpton scored.
"We all know that we can defend. The whole of this team knows it can defend now and it defends very, very well indeed."
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino: "I am very proud of the performance of the team.
"There were certain situations that put the balance of the game in West Ham's favour, and that had a deciding effect on the game.
"It is clear that we created so many good chances and were unlucky not to take them.
"The result does not reflect on how we played, as we did quite well today."
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|01 Mar 2014||v Everton (A)|
|03 May 2014||v Spurs (H)|
|15 Mar 2014||v Stoke (A)|
|06 Apr 2014||v Liverpool (H)|