After securing their first win of the season at home to West Ham United, Everton went to St Mary’s today and came from behind to claim another vital three points.
This victory was a really important one, maintaining as it did the momemtum Everton had gained with the success against the Hammers at Goodison Park before the breaks in the Premier League due to the Queens’ death and then the international break.
Still without Dominic Calvert-Lewin (will he ever return!) manager Frank Lampard made a surprise selection decision in attack bringing Dwight McNeil back for a start in place of Anthony Gordon. It would prove a fine decision later in the afternoon.
The first half was not the most exciting with neither team playing particularly well although the Toffees’ started brightly and were certainly the better side.
There wasn’t though much in the way of concrete attacking threat from either of the sides apart from odd moments and chances to score were at a premium.
One thing this match underlined again, is that if Calvert-Lewin isn’t going to get fit soon it will be tough for this team to score enough goals to win games.
Apart from Neal Maupay, the only genuine striker in the side, there is little other consistent goal threat. Others, particularly the midfielders, need to add some more goal threat in the final third.
After being the better of the two teams in the first forty-five minutes, it was Southampton who came out strongly after half-time and they got the lead.
The goal came early in the second half and at that stage Everton were under the cosh a bit and struggling to find any rythym to their play.
However, despite going behind the Blues’ rallied immediately and scored two quick goals to turn the game around completely.
First of all Amadou Onana doing what he has shown he can got forward and headed a ball across the box which Conor Coady, himself always so willing to get forward and alive to a chance as he had been in the first half, slotted home.
This time, unlike his strike in the Merseyside derby, it wasn’t ruled out by the officals and the Toffees’ were level.
Then a few minutes later they were ahead. Alex Iwobi crossed and McNeil latched in and buried his left foot strike to make it 2-1. It’s an obvious point, but he former Burnley man needs to do a lot more of that if he gets the chances to play.
Now though after going behind, the home team got the bit between their teeth and started to pressure Everton consistently.
They should have been level but missed a couple of great chances and the Blues’ held on thanks again to Jordan Pickford’s excellence. While Asmir Begovic didn’t let anyone down when he played, what a good sight it was to see Pickford back fit and in that Everton goal.
So, in the end an excellent three points on the road, the first of the campaign, and another defensively solid if a little uninspiring a performance.