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December 29, 2013
• Goodison Park, Liverpool
Referee: M. Clattenburg
• Attendance: 39092
S. Coleman 9'
R. Lukaku 74'
G. Ramírez 71'
Anyway, that'll be all from me, Sam Wells, today. Thanks for following today's action with me and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Until next time, farewell.
Although they didn't manage to claim any of the spoils in today's contest, Southampton can also enter 2014 with their heads held high and their prospects undoubtedly bright. Their young side equipped themselves excellently today and, led by the exciting talent that is Adam Lallana, proved unlucky not to earn at least a point from the game. Though disappointed that they didn't manage to break the Everton ranks down on a more regular basis, there is much cause for optimism in today's performance.
Everton will be delighted with both the performance and the result there. They played some excellent football and, some shaky goalkeeping aside, looked consummately professional at the back. In what could have so easily been a result for the away side today, this win is the ideal way to bounce back from a disappointing result on Boxing Day as Roberto Martinez's men look well-placed to launch an assault on the top four as we enter 2014.
90' + 4'
And the referee brings an end to proceedings! Everton have claimed a win here, Lukaku proving the matchwinner in what was an excellent, hardly-fought contest - it finishes 2-1 at Goodison Park.
90' + 3'
Sportingly, Rodriguez kicks the ball back to Robles and, after waiting for Lambert to come and put him under pressure, picks the ball up and boots up the pitch. Lukaku picks it up and holds the ball up in the corner as we are seconds away from the end here.
90' + 2'
The game is put to a halt as Naismith goes down clutching his head after an aerial duel with Lovren. He gets up and trots off the pitch, clearly unhappy with the Southampton centre-back's challenge.
90' + 1'
Barkley gives away a foul, going in late on Lovren on the halfway line. Ramirez drives a ball into the area but no Southampton man can meet it and it goes out for a goal kick. Robles will take his time with this one, you imagine.
Three minutes added time are called as Southampton put on pressure in the Everton half. The Toffees are defending really deep as Pienaar manages to get the ball away.
Yellow Card Adam Lallana
Lukaku goes close! Davis produces an excellent save to deny the Belgian a second as, after the ball fell to striker on the edge of the area, he looked to strike into the corner with his left foot. The veteran keeper is equal to it though, tipping wide with aplomb.
Clyne replaces Chambers as the 22-year-old comes into the contest with two minutes remaining. Lallana is booked for dissent as the midfielder appears to be complaining about that contentious penalty decision (or lack thereof).
Another appeal for handball less than a minute later as a Lallana cross hits the hand of Alcaraz. The referee, once more, is unmoved and nothing is given.
Ramirez chips a ball to the back post and Lambert attempts to head into the six yard box. It is blocked and, despite the striker's appeals for handball, the referee deems it unworthy of a penalty and Everton are allowed to clear.
McCarthy indulges in some more sterling defensive work as he prevents Chambers from putting a cross in down the right flank. His clearance falls to Lukaku and, after losing the ball, he brings down Ward-Prowse, giving Southampton a free kick in a dangerous area.
Everton are dealing with Southampton fairly well in the latter stages here; the away side haven't really troubled Robles since Lukaku's potential match-winner as the Toffees have kept possession adeptly.
Gallagher does indeed come on, the 18-year-old replacing Ward-Prowse and going right up top with Lambert. Let's see if he can make an impact on the game as we approach the final five minutes.
Southampton prepare to bring on yet another product of their academy as young striker Sam Gallagher is set to come on. Meanwhile, Shaw strikes a speculative effort over the bar as he attempts to replicate Ramirez's heroics earlier in the half.
Everton press high up the pitch as they look to pen Southampton back deep in their half. The Saints do manage to work a way through but the move ends when Lallana can't quite find Ramirez, with Barkley the man to put a halt to the attack.
Incredible footwork from Lukaku! After Mirallas feeds the striker on the edge of the area, his first touch is poor but he gathers the ball, turning on a six-pence before bamboozling Ramirez. He goes onto beat two more Southampton man with a shimmy before striking goalwards. His strike isn't the best, flying over the bar, but that, as with Lallana's effort in the first half, shouldn't detract from the quality of the earlier play.
The delivery from Ward-Prowse eventually falls to Ramirez on the edge of the area, though his effort is blocked astutely by the extremely impressive James McCarthy.
Ramirez, bright since coming on, receives a clout on the shin from Pienaar, though it does gift Southampton an opportunity to get a ball into the box from deep as they go in search of a leveller.
Yellow Card James McCarthy
Let's see if Southampton can find a similarly resounding response! Everton restored their lead within a matter of minutes all too easily - the Saints will surely go all out for an equaliser with 15 minutes left to play.
Assist James McCarthy
Goal Romelu Lukaku
GOAL! And it's Lukaku! The Belgian restores Everton's lead within minutes of the equaliser as he plants the ball firmly beyond Davis to make it 2-1. Pienaar fed the ball through to the rapidly advancing McCarthy and, with the outside of his right foot, the Irishman found Lukaku. The striker duly smacked it home and the Toffees are one goal to the good!
Yellow Card G. Ramírez
We're all set for a barn-storming conclusion to this game as we're level with 20 minutes remaining in this contest. Mirallas has replaced Osman as Martinez, presumably, looks to push for the win.
Assist Adam Lallana
Goal G. Ramírez
GOAL! And it's absolutely sensational from Gaston Ramirez! After Distin concedes possession with a hopeful punt up the pitch, the ball is worked to Ramirez about 40 yards from goal. He turns and runs at McCarthy, stepping to his left before striking at goal from distance. It moves in the air and is an excellent strike but question marks must be raised about Robles' contribution to the goal!
Southampton are enjoying a good spell at the moment as they're putting pressure on the Everton backline with about twenty minutes remaining in this contest. They've still yet to truly test Robles, though he has looked shaky in the past few minutes or so.
Robles almost makes a costly error! After flapping unconvincingly at a corner, the goalkeeper makes a hash of the ensuing cross, getting in a mix-up with Sylvain Distin as he fumbles the ball in the area. Lambert almost steals it away from his fingertips but the stand-in goalkeeper eventually claims on his third attempt. That was close!
Yellow Card Rickie Lambert
Southampton go close! They have two shots in the space of ten seconds as, first of all, Shaw tries his luck after plucking the ball out of the air with some grace. His right-footed shot is deflected though, falling at the feet of Rodriguez. The forward's strike is also blocked, flying past the post and behind for a corner.
Southampton make their first switch of the game as the largely forgotten figure of Gaston Ramirez comes on for Cork. This as Lambert is booked for an act of petulance as he throws the ball at James McCarthy, palpably annoyed with the Everton midfielder's attentiveness.
Southampton are chasing shadows at the moment as Everton look to be enjoying themselves the past ten minutes or so. Barkley sprays the ball out right to Coleman and the right-back tries another speculative effort. His efforts aren't quite as fruitful as before, however, as his shot is blocked.
Yellow Card Jack Cork
An excellent piece of play from Barkley leaves Everton with another free kick and Jack Cork with a booking. The midfielder tackled before side-stepping his opposing number with a little shimmy. Cork duly brought him down, earning himself a yellow card for multiple offences.
Ward-Prowse, minutes after giving away a foul further up the pitch, fouls in a dangerous area, around 40 yards from goal. Baines puts a delivery into the area but Southampton, again, deal with it well and the chance goes begging.
Apparently not as Oviedo, who has had an extremely bright hour or so, is to be replaced by the diminutive winger. It'll be interesting to see whether he can have the same impact down the left.
Barkley is moving uncomfortably after picking up a knock. Pienaar was primed to come on anyway, perhaps Martinez will rethink who is being replaced after that knock.
Excellent pressure from Everton, and the impressive Oviedo in particular, means that Davis is forced into a hurried clearance. He does just about get it away in time, though it falls to the feet of Baines and the Toffees have possession.
Davis has an opportunity to test Robles from the edge of the area after a corner falls at his feet but, perversely, the midfielder elects instead to try and dink a ball into the back post. It's an odd choice and it doesn't pay off as he gets the delivery all wrong, over-hitting the cross and putting it out for a goal kick.
Southampton have a golden opportunity but fail to capitalise on the attack as Alcaraz manages to spare his defensive partner's blushes, intercepting Lallana's attempted return pas to Rodriguez after the forward fed his compatriot on the edge of the area.
Everton go so close to making it two! Lukaku fed Oviedo down the left and, despite the ball being a bit too strong, the left winger does the best he can with, throwing off a couple of stepovers before driving a low delivery into the area. Barkley gets there but, under pressure from Lovren, he can only divert the ball just wide of the post.
More bright play from Barkley in the centre as his quick feet enable him to get the better of Cork before feeding Coleman down the right. Lukaku, once again, receives the ball in the channels but can't do anything with it and the attack comes to nothing.
Ward-Prowse threatens to get the better of Baines down the right wing as he heads past the international before stretching his leg. He appears to be winning the race but Distin comes across to cover astutely, putting an end to threat.
Yellow Card Bryan Oviedo
Ward-Prowse delivers the subsequent free kick into the area but his cross is wayward, finding no-one and going out for a goal kick.
Oviedo is extremely late in the challenge, catching Chambers with a nasty lunge. He's only booked but that could so easily have been red.
Southampton continue to press with some resolve, forcing Robles into a hurried clearance. The ball falls to the feet of Cork and the Saints prepare to launch another attack.
The bright start from Southampton is put to a halt as Lukaku appears to have picked up a knock. The away side, eventually, put the ball out as Lukaku is given time to gather himself as he pulls his considerable frame off the ground.
The Saints kick off the action with a neat bit of ball retention of the back, culminating in a surge down from the left from Luke Shaw. The left-back uses his pace to thunder down the flank before squaring a dangerous ball into the area. McCarthy makes a vital intervention, however, getting a touch on the ball and allowing Everton to clear.
Southampton get us underway! The Saints kick off the second period as they look to bounce back from that early Seamus Coleman goal with a goal or two of their own in the next 45 minutes.
Southampton, while obviously being disappointed by that opening period, can take solace from some of the nice football that they have played. If they can manage add a final ball to some of that excellent play, it's not difficult to envisage the Saints working their way back into this game in the second half. With their defence looking typically resolute, a cutting edge is all that Southampton are missing - let's see if they can find it in the next 45 minutes!
Everton will be delighted with that first half, they go in a goal to the good after an early Coleman wonder-strike and, since then, have not looked unduly troubled by the potent attacking threat of Southampton. Robles has yet to be truly tested as Distin and Alcaraz have kept Lambert and co. quiet for the most part. Still, with Lallana in particular looking bright, they will be eager to extend their lead as the only black spot in that first period will have been the inability to test Kelvin Davis any further following the opening goal.
45' + 1'
As one minute of injury time is called, Lallana and Distin come together on the edge of the Everton area as they engage in a spot of handbags just prior to the half-time whistle. The referee, perhaps sensibly, just gives them a talking to before blowing the half-time whistle and, with that, a thoroughly entertaining first half draws to a close. It's 1-0 to Everton at the break.
Distin has an uncharacteristically shaky moment as he can't deal with a seemingly aimless ball into the box. He ends up heading down at the feet of Lambert and, despite being on the edge of the area, the striker can't get a clean shot away and Robles claims.
It's a typically excellent cross from Baines but Southampton defend the delivery admirably, Lovren intervening just as Barkley was primed to pounce.
Oviedo wins a free kick on the left wing, allowing Baines an opportunity to whip a delivery into the area from a dangerous position. Barkley stands over it too but one can't help feeling this is Baines territory.
Lukaku receives the ball in the channel once more, this time on the right-hand side, only to find Lovren willing to meet the challenge - the Southampton defender tackles the Belgian, putting the ball out for a throw.
Southampton's strong period continues as they appear roused by that piece of Lallana magic. It comes to a premature end, however, as Ward-Prowse strikes well over the bar from distance.
That is sensational from Lallana! The midfielder receives a flick-on from Rodriguez on the turn and, despite being under pressure from Distin and Osman, flicks the ball up with one touch and past them with the next, allowing him a run on goal. His strike, however, doesn't meet the quality of the build-up as he snatches at it, putting wide of the post. That shouldn't detract from those two touches though - beautifully done.
Baines, as he has done several times in the first half, puts the ball neatly into the left-hand channel. This time, however, Naismith is caught offside.
Fonte does excellently to deny Lukaku as Southampton are almost caught out at the back. With Lovren caught out of position, Fonte had to come across, leaving Oviedo unmarked in the middle. The Belgian striker tries to find the stand-in winger but the Southampton centre-back did well to get his body in the way and put out for a throw.
McCarthy tracks Chambers excellently as the Everton midfielder makes sure the right-back can't get a delivery into the box in, despite not actually touching the ball himself.
Southampton engage in a neat spell of passing but, as has happened several times in this half, the final pass eludes them as Lallana's ball into Lambert is intercepted.
Everton put together a nifty counter-attack as Naismith feeds Coleman down the right. The right-back's pace ensures no-one can catch him but he just overruns it as his cross finds the side-netting. Excellent play from the marauding Welshman nonetheless - he's definitely winning the battle with Shaw in the early stages.
Robles, who has had very little to do thus far, claims a cross from Rodriguez before clearing up the pitch. Despite all the impressive play on show here, both goalkeepers have yet to be tested, that goal aside.
Barkley sidesteps Cork astutely before going down under the same man's challenge as the English midfielder displays both the technical ability and the nous that has characterised his early ascent in English football.
Chambers is given a talking to by the referee after an over-zealous challenge on Oviedo. The Everton fans are baying for a booking but the referee stops short at a dressing-down as the right-back is afforded some leniency.
Lukaku continues to threaten as he is once again played in down the channels. As with before though, support doesn't quite come quick enough and Southampton crowd the striker out before getting rid.
Naismith does excellently to beat Fonte, against all odds (given his height), in the air but Lukaku can't quite latch onto the flick-on and Davis gathers the header.
Rodriguez drives forward from deep before feeding Lambert, who has drifted out onto the right wing. Osman, very bright in the opening stages, is there once more to dispossess the striker and Everton have possession.
Some nice football being played from both sides here as Everton put together a flowing move of their own, Baines working Lukaku in behind the Southampton defence on the left flank. The Belgian's ball into the area is decent but Lovren intervenes, before duly clearing from danger.
Everton are pressing in a manner we're more accustomed to seeing from their opposition today as Lukaku hunts down a fairly short backpass from Lovren. Davis gets it away just in time but that was good work from the striker.
Another excellent passage of play from Southampton as a lovely backheel from Lallana slips Lambert in behind the backline. However, the striker is, somewhat dubiously, called offside and Southampton remain in search of that first clear-cut chance.
The corner is whipped in by Baines but the veteran Southampton keeper comes out and claims adeptly. Southampton come forward once again.
Lukaku is typically powerful in shrugging off Lovren down the right flank, working his way to the byline. The Southampton centre back recovers well, getting back to tackle and put the ball behind for a corner.
Southampton continue to respond reasonably well to that opening goal as they spray the ball around nicely at the back. Ward-Prowse, uncharacteristically, loses patience as he pumps a long ball up towards Lambert. He can't find his man, however, and the ball runs out for a goal kick.
Oviedo, operating on the left wing following Baines' return to the starting eleven, is moving a little gingerly, clutching his calf. Martinez will be hoping that isn't all that serious.
Lallana takes a pass from Chambers on with an absolutely lovely first touch, opening his body up and going past McCarthy. The Everton midfielder responds by pulling the Englishman back and gifting Southampton a free kick.
The home support claim a penalty as Naismith, chasing a long ball in behind the defence, goes down after a push from Lovren as the ball runs through to Davis in the Southampton goal. There wasn't all that much contact but it was definitely a push - Lovren has to be more careful there.
The, admittedly short-lived, strong spell comes to an end through Barkley as the youngster uses both his skill and strength to dispossess Shaw before beating Ward-Prowse and driving his team up the pitch. Excellent play.
Southampton are beginning to put some pressure on here now as Cork finds Rodriguez with a nice ball over the top. The forward is pushed wide, meaning he has to try and find Lambert with a cross into the area. He can only find the head of Alcaraz, however, and the opportunity goes begging.
Lambert, fairly quiet thus far, comes deep and tries to find the advancing Rodriguez with a hopeful ball into the box. It's overhit though and Everton have a goal kick.
A lovely piece of interplay from Southampton there! Steven Davis does excellently to drive forth with the ball, before playing into Rodriguez and going for the return. The England international's ball is good but Osman tracks Davis adeptly and steps in to halt the attack.
It's been a fairly even start and Southampton will be desperately disappointed that they find themselves a goal down just twelve minutes into this contest. They attempt to put a move together but Cork overruns the ball and Alcaraz steps in astutely.
Southampton put together a promising attack of their own but, as Lallana is fed by Ward-Prowse, the forward is deemed offside and the chance comes to an end. That was a tight one!
Although that was undoubtedly an excellent individual goal, one can't help but feel that the Southampton defending was lax there; he was allowed to come inside much too easily and Coleman duly capitalised on the opportunity.
Goal Seamus Coleman
GOAL! And it's a stunner from Seamus Coleman! The ball is worked out to Coleman on the halfway line and the right-back runs at Shaw before turning inside him, perhaps too easily, and venturing inside of the box. He takes a strike from an unlikely angle but it ends up flying into the top corner! An excellent strike and Everton are one goal to the good.
Southampton stroke the ball around patiently at the back as they look for a way forward. It's been a comfortable start from both sides as neither of these two teams has managed to really dominate these opening stages.
Southampton put together a flowing move, primarily driven by the potent attacking threat of left-back Luke Shaw, but a timely interception from Osman puts an abrupt end to the attack.
Barkley is crowded out in the centre of midfield as he tries to turn again and Southampton have a chance to get forward. Rodriguez attempts to beat Alcaraz after receiving the ball from Lallana but the Everton debutant does well and the danger passes.
First effort of the game! And it all comes from Ross Barkley as an excellent turn allows the young midfielder to run deep into the Southampton ranks. He plays it out to Coleman, who finds the same man with a cross into the area. Barkley can't quite get a clean strike on it as the ball trickles through to Davis. Promising from the home side.
Everton retain the ball neatly at the back, despite some characteristically fervent pressure from the Southampton forwards. Baines plays off Lallana for a throw.
Southampton begin in the ascendancy, though a rare poor touch from Lallana affords the home side possession and Everton duly come forward for the first time in the game.
And Everton get us underway! The home side kick off proceedings as they look to bounce back from that Boxing Day defeat with a win today.
Both teams are in the tunnel now as we are minutes away from kick-off here at Goodison Park!
Southampton, meanwhile, make three changes from their Boxing Day victory as Kelvin Davis replaces Paolo Gazzaniga in goal, while Dejan Lovren and James Ward-Prowse also return to the starting eleven at the expense of Maya Yoshida and Morgan Schneiderlin.
Everton make five changes from the team that lost to Sunderland as Antonin Alcaraz replaces the injured Phil Jagielka at centre back, while Joel Robles and Ross Barkley are introduced in place of the suspended Tim Howard and Gareth Barry. Steve Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas also drop to the bench as Leighton Baines and Steven Naismith return to the starting eleven.
Southampton: K. Davis; Chambers, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Cork, S. Davis; Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Rodriguez; Lambert. Subs: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Yoshida, Ramirez, Hooiveld, Reed, Gallagher.
Everton: Robles; Baines, Alcaraz, Distin, Coleman; McCarthy, Barkley, Oviedo, Osman, Naismith; Lukaku. Subs: Springthorpe, Hibbert, Heitinga, Jelavic, Mirallas, Pienaar, Stones.
And here come the team line-ups:
Still, with Gareth Barry alongside Howard on the suspension list and confidence restored after their victory three days ago, Mauricio Pochettino's men will be no pushovers – this has all the potential for a belated Christmas cracker!
That will be by no means easy for the away team, however, as, undoubted quality aside, the stakes are high for the Toffees; Roberto Martinez's side could go third with a win as, with eminently winnable fixtures against Stoke, Norwich and West Brom next in the league, they look to string another run together after their Boxing Day disappointment.
Southampton, meanwhile, are presented with quite the opposite opportunity as, after their winless December ended with a resounding 3-0 win at Cardiff on Boxing Day, the Saints look to continue their recovery with another win today.
Today's fixture brings with it intriguing scenarios for both of these sides; Everton come into the tie off the back of their first defeat in 11 games - the unexpected 1-0 loss at home to Sunderland brought an abrupt end to an excellent run of form. Add to that the suspension of goalkeeper Tim Howard after his dismissal in the same game, and you have a potential slip-up for Roberto Martinez's men.
Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of today's Premier League clash between Everton and Southampton, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through today's proceedings.
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