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26 April 2014
• St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 31313
A. Alcáraz 1' (own goal)
S. Coleman 31' (own goal)
FULL-TIME: Southampton 2-0 Everton. Two own-goals could prove a fatal blow, and a self-inflicted one at that, to the Toffees' Champions League aspirations as the Saints showed the fire is still burning bright in their season, despite having little to play for. Antolin Alcaraz put through his own net with barely a minute on the board in a nightmre start and it failed to get better for Roberto Martinez and his side as Seamus Coleman unwittingly turned home past Tim Howard to give the Toffees a mountain to climb. They had a second-half penalty shout through Leon Osman turned down but the Saints were well worth their three points.
90' + 2'
Everton also make a change as Luke Garbutt comes on for Baines but it is Southampton who almost grab a third through a sub of their own in Ward-Prowse, his powerful drive, however, is parried aside by Howard.
Substitute Harrison Reed skips past the abysmal Alcaraz and almost provides a telling cross, but the ball had already gone out of play. Pochettino takes the chance to make his side's final change by bringing on Guly Do Prado for the diligent Davis.
Southampton are content to stroke the ball around the St Mary's turf and Everton fans are beginning to filter out of the ground. They know the game is up and perhaps even their top four hopes after an insipid display.
Lallana goes off to a standing ovation after being at his instrumental best this afternoon and Pochettino is quick to congratulate him as he leaves the field. Another tremendous afternoon for the Saints.
Clever footwork from Lallana and intelligent movement from Lambert almost combines to fashion a shooting chance but the Everton defence do well to get rid of the loose ball.
PENALTY?! Everton want another spot-kick but this one looks slightly less clear-cut on first evidence as Lovren and McCarthy become embroiled in a tussle near the byline. Oliver is once again not impressed.
Baines is caught offside as Everton reload after the corner is cleared. The Toffees have had a lot of joy down this near side in the second half but Clyne did well to get out in time there.
Baines gets in down the left but his cross is easily cut out by Jack Cork, even though it comes at the expense of a corner from a Southampton perspective.
Mauricio Pochettino makes his first substitution by bringing on Ward-Prowse for Gallagher as he looks to boost his midfield numbers and fend off Everton's increased pressure.
CLOSE! Everton almost find a route back into the game in the most bizarre of circumstances as Baines' floated cross to the far post gets caught in the wind and deceives Boruc, who can only stand and watch as the ball drops just wide.
PENALTY?! Davis threads through an intricate pass into the path of Lallana, who latches onto it and attempts to cut inside Stones, with the ball hitting the Everton defender on the arm for the third time today. Once again, however, Oliver dismisses the claims.
Lukaku hurdles a couple of feeble Southampton challenges before letting fly from long range, but the shot is deflected away and the Saints survive.
Signs that Everton are cranking the pressure up a notch on their hosts now, with Baines and McGeady combining neatly on the left regularly now.
Lambert is the latest to be mystified by the referee's actions as he decides Alcaraz's challenge on the Saints striker was a fair one, despite Lambert appearing to be blocked off as he bore down on goal.
CHANCE! What an opening for Everton, who really ought to have been back in it there. McGeady does superbly to evade Clyne's attentions on the left and his cross is even better, but the rangy frontman can only manage to direct his powerful header straight at a thankful Boruc in the Southampton goal.
Yellow Card Leon Osman
PENALTY?! Everton look to have been done an injustice as Osman is accused of diving by Michael Oliver despite there appearing to be a rash challenge from Lovren on the substitute in the penalty area. Osman had run off of the central defender on the left-hand side of the area but was scythed down by the Croat only to see a yellow card brandished in his direction.
POST! Lambert goes so close to a third for the Saints and that surely would have killed off an Everton fightback. The home side win a free-kick 25 yards from goal and Lambert steps up to bend an effort onto the outside of the upright. The visitors have brought on Aiden McGeady in the meantime for Deulofeu.
Lallana cuts inside Coleman but can only lash a powerful strike away from goal and it veers well wide, ending up closer to the corner flag then the far corner of Howard's net.
Southampton continue to control the possession and the general flow of the game and almost engineer an opening after clever interplay from Shaw and Lambert, but Lallana cannot quite read the latter's dummy and Everton clear.
Deulofeu tests the Saints rearguard with two whipped crosses from set plays but a deflected Naismith strike aside, there was precious little to worry a well-drilled home defence. Mauricio Pochettino will be delighted with his side's performance so far.
The home side remain largely in the ascendency here and Shaw's teasing cross has to be clutched close to his chest by Howard with Lambert and Gallagher lurking.
Gallagher tries to lead the Southampton counter after Everton had built a head of steam upfield and the youngster does well to win a corner from Alcaraz's challenge but the set piece fails to test the Everton backline.
The quiet James McCarthy brings down Lallana in midfield but the free-kick is wasted as Clyne miscontrols the ball on the right wing. Moments later, Southampton benefit from a kind offside decision as Deulofeu nips in behind Shaw but is adjudged to have strayed beyond the fortunate left-back.
Southampton get the ball rolling once more and we are back underway for the second half, a huge one for Everton, who surely need at least a point here. Martinez has shuffled his pack by bringing on Osman for the peripheral Barkley.
HALF-TIME: Southampton 2-0 Everton. It has been a terrible first half for the Champions League-chasing Toffees, who have been undone by two comical own-goals at St Mary's. Barely a minute had been played when Alcaraz nodded Lambert's clipped centre into his own net before Coleman turned home Clyne's cross beyond a bewildered Tim Howard in the Everton goal. Martinez's side need a minor miracle now to keep their top four hopes alive.
Yellow Card Gareth Barry
Gareth Barry receives the first booking of the contest after dwelling in possession in midfield before Saints striker Gallagher nipped in to rob him of the ball. Referee Oliver felt the challenge worthy of a yellow; Barry's 10th of the campaign.
A Coleman cross to the far post is not dealt with by Clyne and Deulofeu is able to seize on the loose ball, but his deflected cross is headed away by Shaw before Lukaku could pounce.
Lukaku drifts into an offside position and is duly flagged for his early run as the Toffees fail to build any sort of momentum to their attacks. A goal in before the interval, however, could alter this match in their favour.
CHANCE! Lukaku squanders Everton's first real opportunity of the game but it is a difficult chance as the Belgian tried to adjust his body to meet Deulofeu's stunning cross. Moments later the visitors avoid another penalty appeal as Lallana's cross hits Stones' arm but referee Oliver is not interested.
The Toffees win a corner after Coleman's ball in from a wide area is headed away by Dejan Lovren. Yet again though, the corner fails to find an Everton head and the Saints can clear upfield.
Everton trying to rally but the likes of Deulofeu, Lukaku and Barkley have not had any sort of tangible impact on the game and that will have to change if they are to get anything from a game which is slipping away from them.
Southampton fans are in good spirits and start a chorus of "Who needs Rodriguez, we've got your back four." Very apt but very damaging for Everton fans to hear after a nightmare start here.
Own Goal Seamus Coleman
GOAL! Southampton double their lead and Everton's aspirations of a top-four finish have just taken a huge dent here at St Mary's. Nathaniel Clyne gets at Baines and sends a flighted cross to the back post where Seamus Coleman is unable to get out of the way and can only divert a header past Tim Howard for Everton's second own-goal of the contest.
Baines whips in a devilish low free-kick into the danger area but a cluster of Southampton bodies are just about able to get the ball out of the penalty area.
Naismith is visibly struggling and Leon Osman begins a rather rigorous warm-up in the event the Scot has to be replaced.
Adam Lallana twists and turns on the edge of the area but his attempts to pick out Lambert on the far post prove futile as his dinked pass sails out of play.
Southampton continue to dominate the early stages here as we pass the midway point of the opening period. Everton are failing to offer any sort of riposte at this point, with Ross Barkley notably quiet.
CHANCE! Southampton go within inches of a second goal after some more wonderful work from Lambert on the left wing. The frontman peels wide again and brings Stones with him before slotting the ball across the area to an onrushing Steven Davis, but he swipes at his shot slightly and the ball fizzes wide of the far post.
Crisp passing from Southampton opens up some space just outside the area for Cork, who elects to shoot but can only curl the ball into the gloves of Howard before a Baines cross at the other end is caught by Boruc with Everton filling the box in search of an equaliser. It has been a breathless start here.
Naismith is pictured on the touchline writhing in agony after appearing to take a knock on his knee and will need to be attended to when the ball goes out of play.
Deulofeu skips into shooting range and plants a dipping effort on goal in the hope it might veer beyond Artur Boruc, but the Pole claims the ball easily.
Southampton are doing very well in their high-pressing game to try and unsettle an Everton side who have looked nervy and inhibited in the early stages. Can they recover to muster an equaliser?
Steven Naismith shows immaculate control to skip past Luke Shaw with his first touch but the Saints flyer is able to get back to put a block in and concede a corner. The subsequent set piece comes to nothing.
Deulofeu and Lukaku attempt to link up with a neat one-two on the near side but the latter's return pass is too heavy and rolls out of play for a goal kick to the home side.
Everton force a corner on the left flank but it comes to nothing, with the hosts able to clear with relative ease from the near-post delivery.
PENALTY?! The Saints want a spot-kick as they capitalise on early Everton nerves to steal in down the left, where Gallagher's low shot appears to strike John Stones on the arm, but referee Michael Oliver is umoved by the protests.
Everton look shellshocked by a woeful opening to the game. The goal has been timed officially at 58 seconds and all eyes will now be on the Paraguayan defender. His last start for the Toffees? A 4-0 drubbing in the Merseyside derby at Liverpool.
Own Goal A. Alcáraz
GOAL! Southampton take the lead after just a minute as Alcaraz, in for the injured Distin today, nods into his own goal. A swift Saints counter leads to Lambert pulling clear on the left and clipping a cross into the near post where, under pressure from Gallagher, the central defender nodded past the stunned Howard into the bottom corner. Awful start for Everton.
Everton get us underway here in this lunchtime game. Roy Hodgson has been spotted in the crowd just prior to the kick-off.
We are just moments away from kick-off here at St Mary's so stay right here for the latest updates!
STAT: Everton are unbeaten in the last eight meetings between these two sides. With that said, they have gone four matches without a win at St Mary's since 2002 (D3, L1).
Mirallas' injury is ill-timed, but the power of fellow forward Romelu Lukaku should unsettle a Saints backline that was put to the sword by Liverpool last month while the Toffees' midfield will be encouraged by the absence of Schneiderlin, who has been a key component of the Saints' impressive season.
The absence of Rodriguez has been keenly felt, particularly with a lack of viable alternatives up front and they appear visibly jaded. Everton, however, come into this game riding on the crest of a wave having won eight of their last nine league games, will want to show they are still hungry enough to take advantage this afternoon.
Mauricio Pochettino's side have dictated possession in all but four league games this season. That's a remarkable feat, yett there was a distinct lack of a cutting edge in the home defeat by Cardiff and last weekend's stalemate at Aston Villa. It's nearly five hours since they last scored from open play.
Today's game was expected to be a major test for Martinez and his charges but the big question at St Mary's will be whether Southampton's players have anything left to offer. The injury to Jay Rodriguez hardly helped a small tight-knit squad and the Saints have toiled in recent games.
It all began with the costly home defeat by Crystal Palace, followed swiftly by an impressive win over Manchester United, a result which proved the final nail in the coffin of former boss David Moyes at Old Trafford. Successor Roberto Martinez knows complete focus is required if the Toffees are to seal that all-important fourth spot ahead of Arsenal, starting today.
Everton's run-in has been billed as a true test of their Champions League credentials and the Toffees will need to hold their nerve and clear their heads after the emotion-spinning events of the last 10 days.
Everton substitutes: Robles, Hibbert, McGeady, Osman, Garbutt, Browning, Ledson.
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Alcaraz, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Deulofeu, Barkley, Naismith; Lukaku.
Southampton substitutes: Gazzaniga, Ward-Prowse, Do Prado, Chambers, Hooiveld, Targett, Reed.
Here are the teams in full, starting with today's hosts. Southampton: Boruc; Clyne, Lovren, Fonte, Shaw; Cork, Wanyama; Davis, Lallana; Lambert, Gallagher.
Everton are also forced into changes, with Antolin Alcaraz and Gerard Deulofeu replacing the injured duo of Sylvain Distin and Kevin Mirallas, with the latter ruled out for the rest of the season with a groin complaint.
The teams are in, with both managers making two changes apiece. Southampton are without Morgan Schneiderlin, who suffered a mystery last-minute injury while James Ward-Prowse drops to the bench as Jack Cork and Sam Gallagher come in to the starting XI.
Good afternoon and welcome to this LIVE commentary of Southampton v Everton from St Mary's Stadium as the visitors look to continue their chase for Champions League football. My name is Tom Marshall-Bailey and I will be bringing you the latest developments on the south coast.
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