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January 21, 2013
• St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
Referee: N. Swarbrick
• Attendance: 28359
Southampton - as one wise writer suggested at half-time - will rue their numerous missed chances in the first 45 minutes. On the balance of play, the hosts probably deserved the three points tonight, although David Moyes' men returned from the interval playing with an authority that was distinctly lacking beforehand. By the end, both sides seemed content with a point, and a point was what they got. Thanks for reading. Cheerio!
90' + 5'
And that's it. Three blasts on the referee's whistle means its game over, and a point a piece.
90' + 4'
Corner for Everton... but the referee blows up for a foul after Steven Naismith back into Artur Boruc in the six-yard box. Seconds left now.
90' + 2'
Pochettino's men look happy with their point now, declining a series of opportunities to pour men forward to support attacks. They're looking to see out the remaining couple of minutes now.
Four minutes of stoppage time are announced over the tannoy at the hosts win a free kick just inside the opposition half... Fellaini rises well to clear.
Another corner for the Saints, this time after Lambert's cross is deflected over following a sharp counter attack.
Steve de Ridder
Southampton's attacks are beginning to take an increasingly desperate form, as Jason Puncheon makes a good run but finds himself shepherded away from goal, before a corner is too-easily cleared. Puncheon makes way (straight to the toilets?) for Steve De Ridder.
Fine fire-extinguishing from Schneiderlin, as Everton look to counter dangerously following a fine flick from Anichebe into the path of the onrushing Mirallas. The Frenchman arrives on the scene, dumps the Everton winger to the ground with a casual shrug of his shoulder, and distributes possession tidily. Splendid stuff.
The hosts look, somewhat belatedly, to have regained the control of this half. A good spell of pressure wins them a corner, which Anichebe nods clear at his near post.
Steven Davis's first real involvement is to hang up a nice cross from deep to pick out his captain, Lambert, but the skipper's knock-down lands at a visiting foot and is cleared to safety.
Jason Puncheon dashes down the tunnel to, ahem, answer nature's call. He emerges back out a couple of minutes later, though, with a well-informed home crowd undergoing a number of fine interpretations of 'Sloop John B' to honour their winger's recent bowel activity.
The new Southampton manager makes his second change of the night, sending on Steven Davis for Gaston Ramirez, whose buzzing creativity has died down somewhat since the break.
Boruc makes a superb save. Fellaini collects Pienaar's pass on the edge of the box, and feeds Victor Anichebe down the inside left channel with a smart through ball, and the Nigerian's left-footed drive is palmed away by the Saints keeper at his near post.
Kevin Mirallas is the second Everton substitute to get stripped off, and he will be replacing Jelavic, whose had a poor hour in all honesty. Visiting fans will be delighted to see the winger back in action.
Guilherme Do Prado
Pochettino responds to the reverse in momentum by making a positive switch: Guilherme Do Prado makes way for striker Jay Rodriguez.
And the visitors should probably be in front. Anichebe makes a clever run, peeling out to the left wing, and feeds a low ball into Jelavic. But the Croatian's left-footed attempt rebounds off his heel and away from goal. Poor from the striker.
Everton's most sustained spell of pressure so far sees Leon Osman's lashed effort deflected narrowly wide, and a pair of wonderfully shaped Leighton crosses cause trouble for the home defence. At long last, David Moyes' men are beginning to resemble the side we've seen this season.
Steven Pienaar, so often the catalyst for Everton's attacks, is beginning to finally grow into the game having barely managed a kick in the first 45 minutes. Some tidy link-up play with Fellini results in an away corner as Anichebe enters the fray.
It looks as though Moyes will soon be forced into making his first change. Seamus Coleman has pulled up with what looks like a hamstring injury. Victor Anichebe peels off his tracksuit in the away dugout.
Luke Shaw does well to win his side a corner, marauding forward from left back to whip in a low cross which is cleared behind. He looks a fine prospect, Shaw - incredibly comfortable on the ball, and with no shortage of explosive pace.
Yellow Card Leon Osman
Artur Boruc makes his first pair pair of saves, as Everton begin to click ominously into gear. A foraging run from Coleman ends with a chipped cross picking out Fellaini, whose low drive rebounds of the keeper's shins at the near post. From the resulting corner the Belgian again draw a save, this time with a header from close range.
Fellaini bursts forward from midfield and feeds Coleman, who can't get past a gaggle of red shirts on the right wing. Better from the visitors, though.
David Moyes emerges from the tunnel with the steely glare of a man who has just administered the mother of all rollickings. His side certainly earned one. Let's see how they start the second period.
What are my thoughts on the game so far, you ask? Well, Mauricio Pochettino could only be happier with his first half as Southampton manager if his side had managed to turn their utter dominance into a goal or two. It would be the least the deserve, having looked dangerous almost every time they've gone forward, and with David Moyes' men, in all honesty, wretched in possession. That said, you just can't help but wonder if the Saints won't live to regret not taking advantage of their superiority, given that their visitors are unlikely to come out for the second half and offer up as many chances again.
45' + 2'
The referee blows for half time. 0-0 at the break.
45' + 1'
Ramirez fails by a matter of inches to latch onto a zipping through ball from Puncheon, in what will surely be the hosts' last attack of the half.
How Rickie Lambert has not scored in this half I do not know. Another chance passes the striker by as he rises superbly to meet Jason Puncheon's fine left wing cross and connects brilliantly, only to see his header sail agonisingly wide of the left hand post with Tim Howard rooted. He's been terrific this half, the striker, and he deserves to be on the scoresheet.
Yellow Card Morgan Schneiderlin
Morgan Schneiderlin makes himself the second home player to enter the referee's book, clattering into birthday boy Phil Neville in the centre circle.
Astoundingly, the hosts are still not in the lead. Rickie Lambert (again) meets a Gaston Ramirez corner and sees his powerful header hacked off the line by Nikica Jelavic. The ball is half-cleared and floated back into the lingering Hooiveld, who chests down, swivels and volleys at goal from close range, only for Time Howard to intervene once again and parry clear.
Stark contrast in the potency thus far of each team's attacks, as Seamus Coleman's aimless hack down the line fails to land anywhere near a blue shirt, before Rickie Lambert picks up the ball on the left flank, turns inside and swings a beautifully shaped long pass out to the opposite wing. The Saints have been far, far more impressive in this opening half an hour.
The home fans are appealing for a penalty after seeing Sylvain Distin shove Maya Yoshida to the ground after a Southampton set piece. It wasn't the smartest challenge from the Frenchman, but he escaped punishment on the grounds that the Japanese international was never going to reach Ramirez's overhit delivery.
Everton's most potent creative outlet - Baines and Pienaar - are struggling to click into gear here. Not for the first time, the South African miscues a simple ball to the England left back.
Southampton's front pairing link up to fantastic effect once again as Gaston Ramirez slides in Rickie Lambert down the inside right channel, whose fine dummy leaves Phil Jagielka on his backside, but the big striker sees his shot beaten away once again by Howard.
Yellow Card Jos Hooiveld
Jos Hooiveld earns a booking, blocking off a positive run from Seamus Coleman.
And the set piece almost results in the game's opener, as the captain, Lambert, steps up and bends a terrific right-footed effort up, over the Everton wall, and soaring towards goal from a good 25 yards out. Howard scrambles to his right, arriving at the last second to claw the effort away from the top corner of his goal.
Gaston Ramirez is emerging as the primary threat for the hosts in these early stages, finding pockets of space in behind target man Lambert. This time he draw a free kick in a good position after latching onto a flick-on from the striker.
Morgan Schneiderlin is getting about the midfield area to good effect for Pochettino's side, the Frenchman not giving the likes of Neville and Osman a minute's rest on the ball.
The hosts resume their early positivity with a pair of mightily cheeky efforts from Gaston Ramirez. First, the Uruguayan sees a speculative long-ranger loop wide after a wicked deflection, then he hits a direct attempt at goal from the resulting corner. His left-footed inswinger has just too much purchase on it though, and lands on the roof of Tim Howard's net.
Marouane Fellaini offers a hints of what he can offer, as he flicks on a long ball into the path of Nikica Jelavic, but the Croatian cannot steer a difficult header on target.
A game featuring plenty of early pressure from the Saints has lapsed into a few minutes of scrappy midfield play, with neither side keeping the ball for anything like an extended period.
Another dangerous attack from the hosts - and its come down the right side again. Jason Puncheon this time forages towards the edge of the box, cuts inside, and his low strike is deflected wide by an Everton knee. Promising start from the hosts.
And Southampton have more joy down that flank, with Lambert peeling away and whipping in a low ball which Jagielka diverts inches wide of his own post. The resulting corner comes to nothing.
Southampton have since recovered the ball and started brightly. Ramirez, Clyne and Puncheon engage in some neat interplay on the right wing, but are unable to conjure a final ball.
And we're underway at St Mary's. Everton enjoy the opening spell of possession before Phil; Neville wins a free kick just inside the Southampton half. Jagielka just overhits his delivery.
Mauricio Pochettino emerges from the tunnel to polite applause - only fair really, given he's not the man who made the decision that was met with such vitriol amongst the Saints fanbase. A lesson for Chelsea fans, perhaps? Not for me to say.
Unsurprisingly, Rickie Lambert keeps his place up front for the hosts, having scored in each of his last two games - he'll make sure Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin don't get a moment's rest tonight. For the Toffees, the return of Kevin Mirallas to the bench could be a big moment in their season. The probing winger has been missed over the last couple of months after a fine start to his time on Merseyside.
Everton starting XI: Howard; Coleman, Baines, Jagielka, Distin; Naismith, Pienaar, Neville, Osman; Fellaini Jelavic. Subs: Mucha, Heitinga, Oviedo, Mirallas, Hitzlsperger, Anichebe, Duffy.
Southampton starting XI: Boruc; Clyne, Yoshida, Hooiveld, Shaw; Puncheon, Schneiderlin, Cork, Guly, Ramirez; Lambert. Subs: K Davis, S Davis, Rodriguez, Fox, Richardson, Chaplow, De Ridder.
Evening all, and welcome to Goal.com's live play-by-play coverage of Southampton against Everton. All eyes, of course, will be on Mauricio Pochettino in the home dugout as he takes charge of his first match as Saints manager following last week's uber-controversial dismissal of Nigel Adkins. The team news is in, and will follow shortly....
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