Davies breaks Saints hearts with equaliser at the death

Saturday, 5 May, 2018 0comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 1 Southampton

Everton denied Southampton two priceless points with a goal deep into stoppage time after Nathan Redmond's header looked to have settled it.

The Saints were heading for a deserved victory having taken the lead earlier in the second half through Nathan Redmond but were pegged back in the 96th minute when Tom Davies's shot deflected past Alex McCarthy to earn the Blues a draw.

It was cruel on Mark Hughes's men who could have lifted themselves clear of Swansea near the bottom and confirmed West Bromwich Albion's relegation had they been able to hold onto a deserved lead.

Everton and Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, were not spared the ire of the Goodison Park crowd as they were booed off at the end of each half following a dreadful display and the team, minus the manager whose departure from the club was called for again by chants during the match, were left with a mostly empty stadium for the post-match lap of appreciation.

Theo Walcott (calf) and Wayne Rooney (knee) were the key absentees from the starting XI, with neither named in the match day squad because of injury.

Nikola Vlasic retained his place in the side and was joined by the returning Tom Davies and Yannick Bolasie.

Wearing the new 2018-19 home strip, Everton made a bright enough start and Davies raked a left-foot effort a couple of feet wide from around 20 yards in the third minute.

That was about as exciting as it got from the home side for the remainder of the half, however, and they were booed off at the break after the Saints began to assert control as they went in search for a crucial goal in their quest to avoid the drop.

Cenk Tosun dropped a header narrowly over from a right-wing cross but at the other end Jordan Pickford was forced into a terrific save by Charlie Austin who tested him with a well-struck half-volley from just outside the box.

A few minutes later, Phil Jagielka was prompted to make an important block in front of goal as the ball pinged around the box following another parried save by Jordan Pickford from Oriel Romeu.

Bolasie, who was anonymous in the first 45 minutes, was withdrawn at the break in favour of Ramiro Funes Mori with the Blues switching to a five-man back line.

Hughes, meanwhile, belatedly replaced the injured Mario Lamina with Redmond.

As Everton toiled in uninspired fashion, the visitors made the breakthrough they had been threatening. Cedric made a strong run on the overlap down the right flank and crossed impressively for Redmond to plant a downward header between Pickford's legs and make it 1-0 in the 56th minute.

Allardyce responded by taking off Vlasic and throwing Oumar Niasse up front and after he won a corner, Michael Keane headed narrowly wide of Alex McCarthy's right-hand post.

And Niasse was involved again in the 66th minute when he controlled Leighton Baines's deep cross and whipped the ball across goal where a Saints head got in front of Tosun to head it behind.

Back in front of the Park End, Ryan Bertrand got to the byline and Jagielka had to flick a header over his own crossbar.

Redmond saw a shot cannon off a defender and fall behind as Klaassen was prepared to come on for Jagielka with 11 minutes to go and the Saints' goalscorer went close to doubling his tally when he flashed an effort just over.

Ward-Prowse then tested Pickford with a free kick searching for a gap inside the 'keeper's left-hand post but Southampton's task of holding out for three priceless points was complicated five minutes from time.

Maya Yashida, already booked for an earlier challenge, caught Niasse late and was shown a second yellow by referee Jon Moss.

Still Southampton came forward and Redmond's jinking run ended with another save from Pickford.

Mark Hughes's men were seeing things out fairly comfortably until Wesley Hoedt caught Coleman with a late tackle setting up a direct free kick for Baines but McCarthy came to Southampton's rescue with a flying save.

That looked to have been that but as the clock ticked on for over a minute beyond the four signalled for stoppage time, Davies sent a side-foot shot goalwards that took a wicked deflection off Hoedt and past the wrong-footed McCarthy.

Kick-off: 5.30pm, Saturday 5 May, 2018
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Last Time: Everton 3 - 0 Southampton

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Baines, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Davies, Bolasie, Vlasic, Tosun

Subs: Robles, Martina, Funes Mori, Kenny, Baningime, Klaassen, Niasse  

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