Everton 1-0 Saints
It seems that the terms of his loan deal mean that Boruc won’t return as cover for Forster, so Kelvin Davis started at Everton, and is now likely to do so until at least the end of the season – Gazzaniga took his place on the bench. Steven Davis missed out through injury, while Elia was surprisingly preferred to Mané in an otherwise strong starting line up. It should have been too strong for the Toffees who have disappointed their fans this season, and Saints began as if they would romp home: Clyne and Long gave Baines a severe early test on the right flank.
From a Long cross, Pellè’s touch seemed certain to find the net but for an acrobatic save from Howard, but this was Goodison, a place where things always seem to go wrong for Saints at some point. The killer blow was landed in the 16th minute when the ball popped around the box from a corner before Jagielka stabbed it past Davis.
All a bit messy, in contrast to a Ward-Prowse free kick that had Howard rooted to the spot, and the midfielder wasn’t the only one with head in hands as the ball strayed inches wide.
The same player came close again with a shot that had Howard confused but his outstretched arm preserved the lead. The game took the graveyard slot on Match of the Day, and the reason lies in a second half more or less condensed to one half-hearted header towards goal from Long. It was an easy 90 minutes for the veteran Davis, but Everton won’t worry about that as they protected their own keeper pretty well, other than the first half efforts already described.
Manager Koeman always gives the impression of calm, but a late change to introduce Djuričić for Alderweireld smacked of desperation as goal-shy Saints once more failed to get on target.
LSSC Man of the Match: Nathaniel Clyne, edging out Wanyama because of his first half attacking play.
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