This was the kind of match that might have had Roy Hodgson, if no one else, on the edge of his seat. It is not that it was terrible, and the wet and windy conditions by the south coast undoubtedly contributed to a painfully high error count, it was more that there were long periods when neither side could do anything right.

That had more to do with West Ham United, who were deprived of the injured Andy Carroll, Joe Cole and Stewart Downing. Sam Allardyce was happy for it to be ugly, for his side to scrap, battle and show admirable resilience in the face of concerted pressure from Southampton in the second half.

With James Collins and Winston Reid outstanding in defence and Jussi Jaaskelainen producing a number of wonderful saves, Southampton had to settle for the frustration of a goalless draw and, in the end, they were grateful that West Ham's best chance fell to Collins, who fluffed his lines from close range with six minutes remaining. "He supposedly said he was a centre-forward when he was younger," Neil McDonald, West Ham's assistant manager, said.

Southampton did not deserve to fall to that sucker-punch and will feel they merited more than a point but, for all their attacking talent, Mauricio Pochettino's side have not scored from open play in their first four matches. The time may come when Pochettino has to make a difficult decision between Rickie Lambert and Dani Osvaldo. Individually they performed well but they are not on each other's wavelength yet, although Pochettino said he was pleased with the pair's efforts. Nor was he worried that Lambert, England's new hero, has only scored one penalty for his club this season.

"Scoring goals is sometimes a matter of luck, of being on a run of scoring goals or a dry run, or fitness, or how you wake up in the morning, so there are a lot of factors that could influence it," he said. "We had the better chances and we were much closer than they were to getting a victory. But in football it is not just about creating chances, you need to make those chances be goals."

Although they were missing a spark, something to drag the game above the mundane, Southampton had the better chances. Osvaldo should have given them an early lead when Jay Rodriguez sped past Guy Demel on the left and cut the ball back, only to place the ball too close to Jaaskelainen, allowing the 38-year-old to save.

Without Carroll, whose return date from the foot injury he suffered in training last week is unknown, West Ham's focus was on containment rather than adventure and with Mladen Petric not fit enough for a place on the bench after signing on a free last week, Modibo Maïga never suggested he might end a drought that stretches back to last December. "We are pleased we are keeping clean sheets – that always gives you a chance to win a game," Mark Noble said. Indeed this was their third clean sheet in four matches but also their third successive match without a goal. At the moment, West Ham look like they might never score again.

West Ham, who gave Ravel Morrison his first Premier League start, did have their moments. After seven minutes, Mohamed Diamé turned past Luke Shaw and forced Artur Boruc to beat away his fierce drive and Kevin Nolan also had the ball in Southampton's net midway through the first half, only for the flag to go up for offside against Matt Jarvis. It was marginal.

Allardyce was also annoyed that Andre Marriner did not see fit to send off Morgan Schneiderlin, or even award a foul, for what looked like a nasty foul on Diamé. "We're disappointed that Schneiderlin is still on the pitch," Allardyce said. "We didn't get a free-kick and it is a two-footed challenge which we are told by everyone in the referees' department – from Mike Riley down – is a straight red." Southampton, though, could point to an equally hefty challenge from Joey O'Brien on Adam Lallana that only earned the full-back a booking.

Jaaskelainen was the busier goalkeeper by far after the break. He pushed over a volley from Victor Wanyama, who was far too haphazard in possession, and Lambert crashed a header against the post from the subsequent corner. Then Lallana was in the clear, released by a clever pass from Osvaldo, but a heavy touch allowed Jaaskelainen, who also had to save acrobatically from Schneiderlin's volley and Lambert's bending effort, to smother. There always seemed to be a heavy touch, sadly.

Man of the match Jussi Jaaskelainen (West Ham)