Stephens laments "easy" leveller


Jack Stephens was left frustrated by the manner of Everton’s equalising goal – the key moment that turned the tide in favour of the home side at Goodison Park on the opening day of the season.

Southampton were good value for their half-time lead earned through organised defending and some timely pressure from the front by Ché Adams, who freed strike partner Adam Armstrong to mark his Saints debut with a goal – his first in the Premier League.

But it was Richarlison’s painfully preventable leveller – two minutes into the second half – that shifted the momentum, before Abdoulaye Doucouré and Dominic Calvert-Lewin secured the points in the final 15 minutes.

“It’s frustration – to be in that position after the first half when I thought we were good, we played well, got the goal, but then the frustration of letting them back into the game just after half time,” Stephens said.

“It’s just so disappointing to give them that easy way back in. It’s so frustrating.

“They didn’t have to work for it. They put us under a little bit of pressure – not much – and we’ve caved in.

“It’s just disappointing the goal has come from a set-piece, and we’re normally spot on with our set-pieces.

“It’s a second phase nothing header back into the box, but we’re just not in a line as a defensive unit, which we should be, so it’s just bitterly disappointing.

“I thought in the first half we played well. We frustrated them, we created chances, we limited their chances, and then unfortunately in the second half we’ve given them that first opportunity.

“We managed to get ourselves back in the game. We couldn’t create a clear chance really, but they didn’t really have any chances either.

“To concede the second one… it’s a great finish from the lad, but it’s another soft one – just inside the box, so to not get a block on it is disappointing.”