Southampton vs Everton match report: Saints hold out for all three points following Charlie Austin's early strike

Southampton 1 Everton 0: Victory over a former manager and one illuminated by the performance of young debutant Josh Sims ensured this was a satisfactory outcome for Saints

Ian Winrow
at St Mary's
Sunday 27 November 2016 19:10
Comments
Charlie Austin struck once again to hand Southampton the lead early on in the game
Charlie Austin struck once again to hand Southampton the lead early on in the game

Ronald Koeman’s return to Southampton could hardly have gone any worse. Met with the kind of reception expected from home supporters slighted at the decision of their former manager to jump ship last summer, the Dutchman was forced to endure the sight of his current side fall behind to Charlie Austin’s goal after just 41 seconds and then fail dismally to correct a run that has now brought just one win in eight Premier League games.

Austin’s ninth goal of the season ensured Southampton quickly recovered from Thursday’s Europa League defeat to Sparta Prague although their failure to add to that early goal was a justifiable source of frustration for Claude Puel, the manager.

Nontheless, victory over a former manager, and one illuminated by the performance of Josh Sims, a 19-year-old winger making his debut, ensured this was a satisfactory outcome for the south coast club.

Jose Fonte rises above Phil Jagielka to meet a corner delivery

Koeman’s record as Southampton’s most successful manager in the Premier League era – the Dutchman secured seventh and sixth place during his two seasons at St Mary’s, the club’s best ever Premier League finishes – was never likely to protect him from a hostile reception.

The manager insisted he was prepared for whatever might come his way, but the last thing he needed was for his own players to contribute to the atmosphere by conceding inside the opening minute. And it only added to the home side’s satisfaction that Austin’s goal was set up by a remarkable moment of composure by Sims.

With Everton failing to clear Cedric’s right wing cross. Sims kept his nerve to lift the ball calmly into the path of Austin who headed over the line from just two yards out. For Saints, it was the perfect response after the disappointment of the midweek Europa League defeat at Sparta Prague while for Koeman, the goal merely confirmed this would be a difficult afternoon.

Josh Sims takes a shot on goal as Gareth Barry rushes to block

It could have got much worse for the Dutchman had Sims not wasted the chance to add a second when he headed into the arms of Everton keeper Maarten Stekelenberg when unmarked just ten yards out. A goal then would have confirmed Southampton’s dominance but having survived that and a number of other scares, Koeman’s side finally began to get a foothold in the game and should have levelled in the 25th minute when Seamus Coleman set up Idrissa Gueye who shot wastefully over the bar.

Everton looked as though they had yet to get the previous weekend’s sluggish performance out of their system, although Gareth Barry had an excellent opportunity to head them level ten minutes before the break. The visitors’ performance, though, was distinctly below par and prompted boos from the visiting supporters at half-time.

A general view of St Mary's during Sunday's Premier League clash

Koeman’s efforts to inject more urgency into his side at half-time appeared to have had little effect with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg striking the woodwork following an early corner before Austin was denied his second goal when Stekelenberg’s excellent one-handed save diverted the forward’s header to safety.

Stekelenberg’s efforts kept Everton in the game but their failure to threaten Fraser Forster’s goal meant Southampton’s narrow lead remained intact.

Teams:

Southampton (4-3-3): Forster; Soares, Fonte, Van Dijk, Bertrand; Hojbjerg, Romeu, Ward-Prowse; Sims (McQueen 84), Austin (Long 89), Redmond (Clasie 79).

Subs: Taylor, Yoshida, Rodriguez, Reed.

Everton (4-2-3-1): Stekelenberg; Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Baines (Valencia 83); Gueye, Barry; Lennon (Deulofeu 65), Barkley (Mirallas 70), Bolasie; Lukaku.

Subs: Robles, Cleverley, Funes Mori, Holgate.

Referee: C Pawson

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in