Southampton’s own web site, no less, reminded everyone of the club’s woeful record at Goodson Park: two wins in thirty two attempts, and most of the thirty that got away were defeats, including a couple of embarrassingly heavy ones. Ronald Koeman is only responsible for one of the losses, but the latest game at Everton was a great opportunity to turn things round, with the home side missing key players while Saints were unchanged. A very forgettable opening did much to relegate the game below West Brom. v. Watford on MotD, but then Saints took over the bulk of possession and territory, despite the loss of Fonte with a head injury. They’ve done that a few times, which is good, but turning the situation into goals is a problem, and maybe it’s not just from free kicks that we miss a player with the ability to shoot home from 20 yards. The team do carry a threat from corners, and from the last one before the break, Long was unfortunate to see his header come back off the post. As the game continued in the same vein in the second half, Tadić suffered a similar frustration when an incisive run ended with a shot that rattled the bar. Saints sent on Davis for Pellè in response to the introduction of Barkley for the home side, but it did release Mané into a more forward position, which was to pay dividends later. First, though, the team suffered a surprise reverse when Long made a hash of a clearance from a corner and Funes Mori shot home through a forest of legs – well almost through, as the ball finally came off Bertrand. The Everton hoodoo was alive and well, but Saints weren’t finished and at long last they broke through when the ball fell nicely for Mané following another dribble by Tadić, and then a second goal looked certain when Tadić put Long clear and the striker pulled the ball back into the path of substitute Rodriguez, only for Stones to intervene. At this point there looked only one winner, but that was the nearest Saints came to taking the two extra points that really got away.
LSSC Man of the Match: Sadio Mané. Both Long and Mané worked very hard, but only Mané turned the promptings of Tadić into profit.
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