Everton v Southampton
Goodison Park, Saturday 16th April 2016
> Mané equalises after Everton score against run of play
> A case of two points dropped
> Still in seventh place with four games left
My favourite away game of the season, would highly recommend to anyone that's not been there before, Liverpool is a great night out, Goodison is a massive old fashioned ground which has so much character, Everton do the match day so well, the fan zone outside the ground has so much going on, Everton related songs blaring over the tannoy, Saints could learn so much from this, the only downside to going to Everton is that Saints rarely win there, the last time I saw a Saints win there, a young Kevin Davies scored the only goal, which seems a lifetime ago.
In the pub before the game the Everton fans told me how bad there home record is this season, when the teams were announced, we find out Everton have rested quite a few players, maybe this could be a rare Saints win, so expectations started to rise.
The game started, Saints looked very lethargic, Everton had all the early play. Bertrand did well to clear a dangerous cross on the edge of the 6 yard box and there was a panic moment shortly after, when Forster dropped a simple catch in the centre of the goal from an Everton free kick. Fortunately Saints scrambled the ball clear. The starting performance from Saints was a bit concerning, Everton seemed to have all the play. After 15 mins Wanyama went down injured holding his back, at the time it seemed disastrous, but it turned out to be significant, the break in play gave Koeman the opportunity to speak to a couple of players,
Once play restarted it became obvious that Koeman had changed tactics. Saints started pressing and gained control of the game, a mis-hit cross from Martina nearly sneezed in under the bar, but the Everton keeper tipped it over, Pellè made a great ball through to Long, who was ruled offside, which seemed very harsh. Tadić, who in recent games has been guilty of taking a touch too many, hit a first time volley over from close range, when on this occasion he probably should have taken a touch.
After half an hour Fonte went off with a head injury to be replaced by Yoshida, The change didn't alter Saints domination, Mané shot wide, the Everton keeper making a great save from a Bertrand shot from a free kick, Long hit the post from a header following a corner and Van Dijk put a chance just over the bar.
Half time Everton 0 Saints 0
Scores level, Saints really should have been winning comfortably, but like in many games this season, the opposition were still in the game.
The Second Half started, Saints once again were on the up. Tadić having a superb game, put in a great cross for Mané, but a defender managed to get there first. Tadić had a shot which had the keeper well beaten, but it hit the bar. Saints were in such domination of the game, Everton had to make a change.
Barkley came on for Everton and immediately it had an effect. Everton gained a lift which they badly needed, they started keeping hold of the ball and were back in the game. Then, from an Everton corner, a header out from Saints fell to Funes Mori who shot and the ball was unfortunately deflected past Forster, giving a very undeserving Everton lead,
Saints almost immediately made a change, Jay Rod on for Wanyama and almost immediately Saints were back in control of the game. Tadić ran into the box and his cross was deflected to Mané inside the 6 yard box, who scored the equaliser.
The last 15 minutes was all Saints, Long played a great ball to Jay Rod who showed his lack of match fitness by reacting far too slowly, allowing the defender to get the ball away. Mané had a shot saved from a tight angle, but despite Saints pressure, there was no further score.
Everton 1 Saints 1
At the final whistle boos echoed around Goodison, you'd have thought they'd had been relieved to get a point, but in hindsight I'm guessing it was because Everton had been that dreadful.
This result has probably ended any hope of Europe next season, Saints have got to learn to kill poor teams off, the two positives for me were Tadic, who probably had his best game in a Saints Shirt & Yoshida who had a decent game when he came on
With the departures last summer, I guess we should be pleased at an 8th place finish, but my frustration is that in so many games this season we should have done so much better.
23 Coleman (Connolly 54')
25 Funes Mori
4 Gibson - Booked 42' (Davies 83')
19 Deulofeu (Barkley 64')
6 Fonte (Yoshida 38')
17 van Dijk
12 Wanyama (Rodriguez 72' - Booked 84')
19 Pellè (Davis 64')
- Funes Mori 68'
- Mané 76'
Referee : Craig Pawson
Attendance : 36,761
- Everton 49%
- Southampton 51%
- Everton 7
- Southampton 18
Shots on Target
- Everton 2
- Southampton 4
- Everton 3
- Southampton 10
- Everton 8
- Southampton 14