Everton Home Won 2 – 1
Højbjerg and Ings were both able to return against Everton, immediately strengthening the side, but Valery was again preferred to Soares in a defence that reverted to three centre backs. Southampton’s legs would have been the heavier thanks to a two hour outing the previous Wednesday, but they still pursued their pressing style and although the visitors had a lot of the ball in the first half (ending up with a solid 61% overall), they failed to trouble McCarthy while Saints went close with their more direct approach: Ings drew saves from Pickford and his run into the box was halted by an interception by Gomes that sent the ball against the post, while Redmond grazed the same upright with a cross shot. McCarthy was finally called into action just after the restart but Saints went ahead on 50 minutes with Ward-Prowse purposefully moving onto a loose ball and then unleashing a fine shot to beat England’s number one. J W-P was also instrumental in another Saints strike, passing to Redmond who couldn’t quite take the ball in his stride; no matter as Digne’s defensive intervention sent the ball past Pickford from outside the box for the second time. Having a healthy lead does a lot for weary limbs and maybe a third goal looked as likely as Everton getting back into the game. In fact we had already entered what was advertised as four minutes of added time when Saints failed to clear with several defensive headers and eventually the ball fell for Sigurđsson to stroke it home. According to the BBC’s ‘Live Text’ feed, those four minutes had expanded to nine by the time referee Scott brought the match to an end – it certainly felt that way as well as for the second Saturday running, Saints had to clear a corner with the opposition’s goalkeeper lurking in their own penalty area.
LSSC Man of the Match: It’s welcome to the MotM club for Jan Bednarek, his contributions including a fine block to deny Lookman.
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