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Everton 1-1 Southampton

Richarlison super strike rescues a point.

A super strike from Richarlison late in the first half earned the Blues a valuable point after Ings had put the Saints ahead and Ward-Prowse crashed a penalty shot against the crossbar.

After the woeful showing against Spurs, Everton were back in action on Thursday hosting the visit of in-form Southampton, fresh from their victory over Manchester City.

With Europa League qualification probably now beyond the Blues, the remaining games in Project Restart will surely be about finishing as high up the table as possible, and salvaging some pride to take into the 20/21 season.

First though, the resurgent Saints needed to be overcome and Carlo Ancelotti continued to have to deal with injuries as Mason Holgate joined Fabian Delph and J-P Gbamin on the not available for selection list.

Despite the loss at Spurs on Monday evening, the manager remained upbeat when he commented, “I didn’t know how the players would react to the unusual atmosphere at these games and I have been pleased with the commitment and fight from all of them. There is no home advantage without having fans here but still we have had good results and it is nine Premier League matches at Goodison with no defeats.”

For this Thursday tea-time encounter, he named his starting eleven: Pickford, Coleman (c), Keane, Mina, Digne, Iwobi, Davies, Gomes, Gordon, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin. On the extended bench were sat: Stekelenburg, Baines, Sidibe, Branthwaite, Baningime, Bernard, Sigurdsson, Walcott and Kean.

Southampton, not surprisingly looked to start the same eleven who overcame Manchester City as manager Ralph Hassenhuttl continues to revive the fortunes of the south coast outfit.

Such is their turnaround in form since they were hammered 0-9 at home by Leicester, the Saints came to Goodison looking to record a third straight victory away from St.Marys’ and add to their 14 games of having scored on the road, do not an opponent to be taken lightly.

The Austrian who was largely unknown when he was appointed but who has just been awarded a new 4-year contract remarked, “After that game against Leicester, we had a lot of work to do to rebuild confidence and I pay tribute to my staff and the players for the job they’ve done and continue to do.”

As expected, Hassenhuttl did indeed name the same side that beat Manchester City last Sunday namely: McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Stephens, Bednarek, Bertrand, Armstrong, Ward-Prowse (c), Romeu, Redmond, Ings and Adams. Pierre-Emile HojBjerg, reportedly a transfer target for Everton, was named among the Saints substitutes.

Our referee was Lee Mason.

The visitors defended an early free kick and Everton corner before a ball from Richarlison into the left channel saw DCL ruled offside. Bertrand pinged a free kick on the left to the back post and Digne took no chances in conceding a corner that Bertrand took only to find the head of Mina.

Ings away on the left crossed to the back post for Walker-Peters to find Armstrong to finish, but thankfully for the Blues, the offside flag was correctly raised to rule out the goal. The opening ten minutes had been played at a decent tempo, the complete opposite of Monday’s opening at Spurs.

Poor ball control by Mina allowed Redmond to break away, find Romeu who found Ward-Prowse, and his searching ball was just too strong for Walker-Peters arriving in the area. Everton countered and Armstrong was yellow carded for a foul on Richarlison to half the Blues momentum, Digne curling the free kick around the wall, but not enough to bend back inside the post.

Iwobi was needed to clear the Blues lines as the visitors got forward quickly, shots from Armstrong and Ward-Prowse blocked before the former Arsenal player got the ball away. Southampton were certainly looking lively with the movement of Ings and Adams a threat Mina and Keane needed to stifle.

Gordon linking with Digne was again fouled by Armstrong only for the free kick, he took himself to fail to find a blue shirt, but the Blues got the ball forward again, a cross from Digne headed on by Richarlison to Iwobi who saw his powerful shot pushed away for a corner by McCarthy.

A foul by Mina on Ings gave the visitors another free kick in a dangerous position 25 yards out, Ward-Prowse forcing Pickford into a fingertip save over the crossbar. Ward-Prowse found Ings with the corner and Everton were again fortunate to survive thanks to a combination of Pickford and the crossbar but a minute later, Gomes brought down Ward-Prowse who then saw his penalty shot cannon to safety off the crossbar.

Half an hour gone and the deadlock was broken as Armstrong scuffed a shot very fortunately into the path of Ings who was just onside and he got the ball around Pickford to put the visitors justifiably in front.

Richarlison and Gordon both went down at Everton tried to get something going, referee Mason waving away half-hearted claims for a penalty for the challenge by Walker-Peters on Gordon; Stephens was rightly booked for his challenge on Richarlison.

Everton were struggling to string much together while Southampton looked full of confidence, cohesion, movement and pace in just about every area of the field – worrying for the watching Carlo Ancelotti that his side were being all too easily outworked and outplayed.

Keane set Richarlison away down the left and again, the Brazilian was fouled, Ward-Prowse the offender to give away a free kick that Digne swung in for DCL to head aimlessly high and wide.

Gomes went down and four minutes before the break, Gylfi Sigurdsson replaced the out-of-sorts Portuguese midfielder.

Somewhat against the run of play, a long ball from Digne picked out Richarlison in space and his first touch was excellent and he finished superbly over McCarthy to tie the game up. Lee Mason then booked Richarlison for a foul on Adams and DCL for his part in a bit of push ‘n shove in the follow-up.

Level at the break, Everton will have breathed a sigh of relief as they had been second best for almost the entire 45 minutes.

Half Time: 1-1

Another change for the Blues for the start of the second half saw Djibril Sidibe replace Alex Iwobi on the right hand side of the midfield.

Southampton were straight back on the front foot as Adams tried a shot from twenty yards that Pickford dealt with comfortably, and Keane conceded a free kick for a foul on Armstrong. Ward-Prowse saw his shot deflected away for a corner off the head of Sigurdsson. The low corner caused mayhem in the Everton penalty area with Ings causing no end of problems until the bar was hooked clear.

A cross from Sidibe came out for Sigurdsson to shoot, but his effort didn’t trouble McCarthy. Keane to Gordon and the youngster played a quick through ball for Richarlison however, McCarthy was quick off his line to get to the ball first and clear. A ball over the top from Davies found DCL only for him to get caught in two minds and the half chance was lost.

Keane got back to quickly to deny Ings another chance at the expense of a corner that was easily cleared by Sidibe.

Southampton were still looking to build through their midfield whereas Everton were looking to play more directly to try and get the ball to DCL and Richarlison more quickly. And that ploy led to the Brazilian getting clear only for Bednarek to bring him down on the edge of the area and pick up a yellow card. Digne hit the wall, Sigurdsson saw his shot blocked and find Sidibe whose low shot forced McCarthy to go full length to his left to hold his shot.

Sidibe with a good ball found Gordon and his pass to Digne wasn’t great but the Blues won a corner off Walker-Peters, the set piece saw DCL head over the bar, and that was his final contribution as he was replaced by Moise Kean on 68 minutes.

Southampton made a double change, Adams replaced by Long and Hojbjerg replacing Romeu.

Kean was straight into the action with a bustling burst into the Southampton area before being called for a foul. Everton were trying to play quicker but needed to be better as retaining possession.

Bernard come on for Anthony Gordon on 73 minutes, the youngster just beginning to tire as a foul on Walker-Peters suggested.

Into the final ten minutes and the game was still there to be won as both teams began to tire and the play became disjointed. Southampton got forward and after Armstrong and Hojbjerg exchanged passes, Ings chipped a ball toward Long, Coleman clearing only as far as Redmond who bent a shot well wide of the far post.

Coleman climbing all over Redmond gave away a free kick that saw Bertrand cross for Long to head down for Armstrong to slice his shot wide of the target. Keane did well to deny Ings and find Bernard but Southampton recovered to stifle the chance of an Everton attack developing.

Two added minutes were signalled but neither side could force a winner and the honours were shared with Everton probably more pleased than the visitors with the final score.

Full Time: 1-1

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