Everton hold off Saints for Silva's first win

Saturday, 18 August, 2018 0comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 2 - 1 Southampton

Everton registered their first victory of the season as Richarlison scored the winner on his home debut.

The Brazilian added to his two-goal salvo at Molineux last weekend with a powerful header that put the Blues 2-0 up and coasting with half an hour gone at Goodison Park.

16 minutes earlier, Theo Walcott had finished off a brilliantly-worked free-kick routine to put Marco Silva's men and it looked at times as though it would be a question of how many a confident-looking Everton would get.

The second half was made an unnecessarily nervy affair, however, by the concession of a goal eight minutes into the second half, one which owed to horrendous defending that allowed Danny Ings to convert unmarked from in front of goal.

Thankfully for Silva, his new charges were able to hold out and might have added to their lead were it not for a close offside decision that saw a Walcott ”goal” chalked off and a bad miss from the former Arsenal man that would have put the game to bed.

With Phil Jagielka suspended, Mason Holgate was promoted to the starting XI and the young defender made a strong case for replacing the 36-year-old skipper on a permanent basis with a confident display in central defence.

Richarlison made his first start in front of the Goodison faithful but he was a largely peripheral figure for the opening half of the first period despite Everton controlling the game.

A succession of free kicks that would end in four Saints players going into the book before half-time saw Michael Keane and Cenk Tosun steer headers on target but straight at Alex McCarthy in the Southampton goal.

After Charlie Austin had guided a free header wide at one end, it was from a training-ground set-piece routine along the floor that Everton scored at the other with a quarter of an hour gone.

Leighton Baines rolled the ball into the box to Morgan Schneiderlin whose layoff to Walcott was just about controlled by the winger, allowing him to prod it home via the ‘keeper's out-stretched hand.

Schneiderlin was forced off with an injury following yet another foul before 25 minutes had elapsed to be replaced by Tom Davies while Southampton went close to levelling shortly afterwards after Jordan Pickford spilled Cedric Soares's swerving drive.

The England goalkeeper recovered superbly as Ings latched onto the ball to score what looked to be a certain goal and got a crucial deflection on the striker's shot with his arm to divert it onto the crossbar.

Having survived that scare, the Toffees went on to double their advantage with another well-crafted goal. Seamus Coleman exchanged passes with Walcott, finding the latter with a pass down the right flank and when the cross was whipped in from the right, Richarlison stole in front of Cedric to power his header past McCarthy.

Ings again glanced wide with a header of his own from a Southampton corner but the score was unchanged going into the interval.

The visitors came out from the dressing room on the front foot and were level by the 54th minute after Ings had got to the byline behind Keane and Oreol Romeu's shot had deflected behind. When Lemina flicked on the resulting dead ball delivery from the Saints right, the ball fell to Ings in the six-yard box and he had the simple task of firing the ball in.

Walcott thought he had restored the two-goal lead 23 minutes from time but Tosun was adjudged to have been fractionally offside as Gylfi Sigurdsson split the defence with a pass to allow the Turk to slide in a low cross.

Walcott really should have made it safe two minutes later, however. A brilliant interchange with Sigurdsson twisted the Saints defence and knots leaving the winger with an open shot but he screwed his effort across goal and past the post.

Southampton pressed into the closing stages but despite throwing Shane Long and then Manolo Gabiaddini on, they weren't able to fashion any more clear opportunities and Everton were able to see out the win and claim three points.