Watson drives away travel sickness

Southampton 0 Everton 1
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The Independent Football

Everton finally beat their away-day jinx at Southampton, with a battling 1-0 success which allowed them to leapfrog their St Mary's Stadium hosts. Full-back Steve Watson's 41st-minute dinked finish, after a threaded Kevin Campbell through-ball, was the undoubted high point of an end-of-season mid-table squabble.

The Toffees – the Premiership's joint-worst team on the road, along with relegated Leicester – were jubilant at only their third away League win of the season. The Saints were booed off.

Armchair supporters who paid to watch this pay-per-view fixture will wish they had saved their cash – the contest never clicked into gear, with players on both sides performing with one eye on their summer holidays.

Campbell, Everton's former captain, made his first start of the David Moyes reign, following the ankle injury which had limited him to two substitute appearances. He came in for the suspended Duncan Ferguson. For the Saints, the centre-back Claus Lundekvam returned after a two-match absence with a thigh injury and replaced Tahar El Khalej.

Gordon Strachan's men started brightly, with Rory Delap sending a diagonal drive skidding wide. Three early injuries disrupted the game, however, with a nasty clash of heads between Jo Tessem and Watson resulting in treatment for both. Campbell then needed the magic sponge after a bad late tackle by Delap, which earned him the first yellow card.

Before Watson's tidy goal, Saints' goalkeeper Paul Jones did well to block a strike by young forward Nick Chadwick, who was later stretchered off with a twisted left ankle.

However, it was Strachan who provided some of the best entertainment of the evening, with his furious response to an offside decision. The Scot raced half-way down the touchline to confront the linesman – and then vented his fury on the referee, Mark Halsey, as the fourth official tried to restrain him.

Watson did nothing to lighten Strachan's mood when his clever finish put the visitors ahead. He raced on to Campbell's pass and dinked it over the onrushing Jones, 16 yards from goal.

After the break, Jones kept his side in the game with two spectacular saves – one from Tomasz Radzinski's volley and the other from Watson's deflected cross. Southampton offered little going forward – and their fans' frustration was increased by a series of decisions against the home side by the referee.