Carabao Cup 3rd Round Everton Away Full Time 1 – 1 , Won 3 – 4 on Penalties
Mark Hughes announced that he treated the EFL Cup with respect, which doesn’t quite explain the wholesale team changes made at Brighton. For Everton, though, only McCarthy, Bertrand and the two centre backs were notable absentees, with Soares, Lemina and Højbjerg somewhat surprise inclusions, supported by Soares and Targett in wide positions in front of a three at the back formation . They started well enough before being pegged back by a less experienced Toffees line-up, and then came back strongly as half time approached. Just before the interval, Redmond led a break on the left and almost embarrassed Stekelenburg at his near post, but his shot came back off the post. No matter, as Southampton turned round in front anyway after another raid by Redmond ended with a shot from Ings that beat Stekelenburg’s ineffective dive. Saints looked comfortable as the second period got under way but Lookman should have levelled the scores, only to be denied by good goalkeeping by Gunn, while at the other end Stekelenburg atoned for earlier lapses by saving from Bednarek. Everton upped the ante with some expensive introductions from the bench and Saints fans had to endure two VAR reviews that fortunately maintained the status quo. The second of these, five minutes from the end, may have caused a lack of concentration as immediately Yoshida was knocked off the ball by Niasse and substitute Walcott was freed to score.
Straight to penalties with no extra time these days and Saints looked ready to introduce Austin and Ward-Prowse in added time, but it ran out before they could do so – it beggars belief that the coaches should make such a basic mistake, so maybe Mr. Hughes decided to trust those already on the pitch. Everton had the supposed advantage of first dibs but Ings equalised and milked the abuse the Gwaldys Street stand reserves for ex-Liverpool players. Davis kept the contest all-square but then Richarlison lifted his effort high over the bar and Højbjerg put Saints ahead. Zouma managed to force a dodgy shot past Gunn and Targett missed to complete a bad fourth round for us, only for Gunn to dive to his left to deny Walcott, leaving Soares to win it by sending Stekelenburg the wrong way. The players celebrated with gusto mixed with relief after recent reversals, but giving so many shirts away seemed excessive; at least they were only those unnecessary red and black efforts.
LSSC Man of the Match: Angus Gunn as the match includes the penalty contest. The save from Lookman was also important.