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Premier League

  • 20 December 2014
  • • 20:30
  • • St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
  • Referee: J. Moss
  • • Attendance: 31475

Southampton 3-0 Everton: Saints rout poor Toffees

Southampton 3-0 Everton: Saints rout poor Toffees

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Ronald Koeman's men returned winning ways, with an own goal from Romelu Lukaku and second-half efforts from Graziano Pelle and Maya Yoshida sending the visitors home empty-handed

Southampton ended their poor run of Premier League form by overcoming a lacklustre Everton side 3-0 at St Mary's Stadium on Saturday.

A Romelu Lukaku own-goal combined with second-half goals from Graziano Pelle and Maya Yoshida ensured that Ronald Koeman's men secured their first victory in five league outings.

Much had been made of Southampton's injury woes before kick-off, with a run of five consecutive defeats in all competitions culminating in the League Cup exit at League One side Sheffield United in midweek, but the hosts were clinical against Everton.

By Dan Brett

Before kick-off, you could tell this would be a frantic afternoon.

Southampton, looking to arrest a run of five straight defeats in all competitions, started very slowly and the first half wasn't without controversy, as referee Jonathan Moss denied the hosts a clear penalty. Romelu Lukaku may have been unfortunate to bag an own goal, but he and his fellow forwards offered little.

The Saints' class was apparent all afternoon and goals from Graziano Pelle - who had been questioned for a short barren run - and centre-back Maya Yoshida saw Ronald Koeman's men stop the rot, getting back to winning ways in some style.
Everton were beaten 2-0 in the corresponding fixture last season thanks to two own-goals and that trend continued when Lukaku put through his own net in the 38th minute.

Pelle missed a gilt-edged chance to double the advantage soon after, but the out-of-sorts forward made amends 20 minutes into the second half when he prodded in his second goal in his last nine league appearances.

Roberto Martinez's men showed no real conviction as they attempted to pull one back and Yoshida's 82nd-minute header condemned Everton to their sixth Premier League loss of the campaign.

Southampton were without several key players, with Koeman employing a back three to compensate for the loss of Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama in midfield.

Everton, who made two changes from the team that beat QPR on Monday, retained possession well in the early stages, but Southampton looked dangerous on the counter and were controversially denied a free-kick after Sylvain Distin felled Shane Long just outside the area.

The hosts missed a decent opportunity just a few minutes later when Nathaniel Clyne burst down the right and dinked in an inviting cross, but Pelle headed tamely over the crossbar.

Referee Jon Moss was at the centre of controversy once again when Long was brought down in mid-air by Phil Jagielka after the forward latched onto Steven Naismith's wayward touch, but the penalty claims were waved away.

A corner was awarded instead, despite the last touch coming off Long, but Southampton will feel that justice was done when James-Ward Prowse's cross resulted in Lukaku heading into his own net under pressure from Jose Fonte.

Southampton almost snatched a second two minutes later as Ryan Bertrand drove down the left before drilling in a low cross to Pelle, but the Italian could only fire into the side-netting from close-range.

Ross Barkley impressed in a deep-lying central role in Everton's win over QPR last time out, but the midfielder struggled to make an impact operating on the left flank as the visitors pushed for an equaliser.

Everton stepped up the intensity as the hour mark approached, but Southampton's back-line stayed strong, with the hosts content to play on the break.

And it was Southampton who increased their lead when Pelle latched onto Long's knock-down to poke through the legs of Tim Howard.

The American goalkeeper did manage to prevent Pelle grabbing a second immediately after, diving down low to his left to parry away the striker's header.

Fraser Forster was finally called into action at the other end after 73 minutes when he reacted well to parry away Lukaku's dipping long-range strike.

Matters were made worse for the visitors when Yoshida latched onto a cross to head past Howard and put the result beyond all doubt with just under 10 minutes remaining.