Ward-Prowse on target as Saints win again

By SFC Media Sat 19 Jan Saints v Everton
Photo by Matt Watson | James Ward-Prowse
Sat 19 Jan 3PM
Premier League
Southampton
2
Everton
1
Ward-Prowse [50'] Digne (og) [64']
Sigurdsson [90+1']
Redmond (67') Long (90+7')
Gueye (67')
Referee: Graham Scott | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 29,989

James Ward-Prowse’s second goal in a week and a comical own goal from the unfortunate Lucas Digne combined to give Saints back-to-back Premier League wins for the second time under Ralph Hasenhüttl.

Saints had not achieved the feat since April 2017 before Hasenhüttl was appointed last month, but showed their staying power to recover from an exhausting midweek Emirates FA Cup replay to pull clear of Everton in the second half at St Mary’s.

Ward-Prowse, who opened the scoring from the penalty spot at Leicester, was on target again from outside the box this time – a crisp strike from 20 yards to beat England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford five minutes after the interval.

When the hapless Digne took the ball off the toes of Nathan Redmond, the Frenchman was left cursing his luck as he watched it fly into the bottom corner from even further out than Ward-Prowse’s strike 14 minutes earlier.

Just as the fourth official indicated four added minutes, Gylfi Sigurdsson rolled the ball through a crowded penalty area to deny Alex McCarthy a clean sheet, but Saints held on.

Hasenhüttl made two changes to his side who performed manfully with ten men in the win at Leicester last time out in the Premier League, reintegrating Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Danny Ings into the starting line-up after suspension and injury respectively.

Making way were Stuart Armstrong and Shane Long, despite both men finding the net over the past seven days.

The visitors were the first team on the front foot, forcing two early corners, but the hosts who first threatened to score.

Ward-Prowse’s first touch to kill a pass at his feet before spreading the ball wide for Matt Targett injected some speed into the attack, but his shot was deflected wide after collecting Targett’s ensuing cross. 

James Ward-Prowse opens the scoring with a pinpoint strike from distance

After 14 minutes, Saints launched another raid, powering forward with the pace that was missing from their play early in the season.

Ings and Oriol Romeu combined to free Redmond, before Targett’s cross from the byeline deflected behind for a corner.

From Ward-Prowse’s delivery, Ings’s near-post header looked destined for the bottom corner only for Pickford to get down sharply and claw the ball up and away from danger.

Everton’s best moment of the first half arrived in the 20th minute. Richarlison found Sigurdsson on the edge of the box, before the Icelander saw Bernard to his right, whose first-time lay-off was struck firmly in his stride by Ademola Lookman. Very well hit and goal-bound, but flying through the air was Jan Bednarek to make a crucial block.

Bednarek seems to be getting better with every game at the moment. Bringing the ball out of defence, his scooped pass over the Everton backline offered a sniff of a chance for Ings, whose driven shot on the half-volley stung the palms of Pickford.

When the keeper booted downfield to Bernard with trademark precision, it was Bednarek who came across to diffuse the danger to mass applause.

Hasenhüttl was forced into his first substitution earlier than he would’ve liked, doing so ten minutes before half time as Targett hobbled off to be replaced by Cédric, by which time Redmond had come closer than anyone to making the breakthrough.

Ings’s sharp lay-off to Højbjerg invited the skipper to feed Redmond, who had the pace to pull away from Michael Keane and go eye to eye with Pickford.

Forced to shoot with his less favoured left foot, his attempt was not fiercely struck but looked on course to sneak inside the far post only to clip the upright on its way wide.

If that was the outside of the post, Saints were about to go closer still. Ings’s neat footwork carried him to the edge of the six-yard box, surrounded by blue shirts, before André Gomes eventually dispossessed him only to hit the foot of his own post – the same one Redmond had struck just moments earlier.

Nathan Redmond cannot believe his luck as Digne inadvertently doubles Saints' lead 

Goalless at the break, it never felt likely to stay that way. Saints needed just five minutes to make the breakthrough after the restart, but not before Alex McCarthy was called upon to make his first save of the match.

Left-back Digne, often a creator of chances in this Everton side, burst forward and crossed towards Sigurdsson, whose header was sneaking inside the near post until McCarthy reacted to preserve parity.

Having cleared the resulting corner, Saints launched an attack and took the lead themselves.

Kurt Zouma towered over Højbjerg to win the ball but only headed as far as Ward-Prowse, who picked up possession and only had one thought in his mind.

Advancing towards the edge of the box, the midfielder let fly from 20 yards with a crisp strike that sailed out of reach for the diving Pickford, nestling just inside the keeper’s right-hand post to bring St Mary’s to its feet.

Everton boss Marco Silva responded by introducing a supplementary forward in Dominic Calvert-Lewin, but soon found his team with a mountain to climb as Digne did what Gomes threatened to do in the first half.

The visitors are no strangers to own goals at St Mary’s. Back in 2014, Antolin Alcaraz and Seamus Coleman both put through their own net, albeit not from 25 yards – the feat achieved by Digne here.

As Ings’s pass through for Redmond just forced his teammate to wait a split second for the ball to reach him, Digne charged back to nick it off his toe, only for the ball to shoot off his foot and zip past the despairing Pickford, who could not get down quickly enough to keep it out.

Two goals in 14 minutes had rocked Everton, but Hasenhüttl would have been only too aware of events in both of the recent cup ties against Derby, in which Saints had surrendered an identical position of strength.

Nerves were understandable when crosses twice looked like dropped awkwardly underneath McCarthy’s crossbar, but the England international was there on both occasions to punch clear the danger inside a crowded six-yard box.

Saints would have been out of sight had Jack Stephens not headed wide from a golden chance to make it 3-0, but still looked comfortable until Sigurdsson’s placed shot found the bottom corner in the final minute of normal time.

Cue a late bombardment from the visitors, as an injury to substitute Shane Long extended the drama, but Saints held on to secure a fourth victory in their last seven league outings.

Today's Match Sponsor: SportPesa
Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Everton
  • Possession (%)
    39
    61
  • Shots
    11
    7
  • Shots on target
    4
    2
  • Corners
    7
    6
  • Passes Complete
    206
    348

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy (GK)
4
Jannik Vestergaard
5
Jack Stephens
35
Jan Bednarek
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
16
James Ward-Prowse
14
Oriol Romeu
43
Yan Valery
33
Matt Targett
Cédric Soares (35′)
9
Danny Ings
Shane Long (74′)
22
Nathan Redmond
Stuart Armstrong (86′)
7
Shane Long
66
Kayne Ramsay
55
Callum Slattery
15
Sam Gallagher
28
Angus Gunn
17
Stuart Armstrong
2
Cédric Soares

Everton

1
Jordan Pickford (GK)
5
Kurt Zouma
23
Seamus Coleman (C)
12
Lucas Digne
4
Michael Keane
31
Ademola Lookman
20
Bernard
Theo Walcott (75′)
17
Idrissa Gueye
10
Gylfi Sigurdsson
8
André Gomes
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (57′)
30
Richarlison
Cenk Tosun (65′)
14
Cenk Tosun
3
Leighton Baines
22
Maarten Stekelenburg
26
Tom Davies
13
Yerry Mina
11
Theo Walcott
29
Dominic Calvert-Lewin
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