- Austin grabs only goal of the game
- Saints move on to 17 points
- Everton have one win in eight
- Saints’ first win in five
SOUTHAMPTON — Ronald Koeman‘s return to St Mary’s was not a happy one.
His old club Southampton beat Everton 1-0 in the Premier League on Sunday as Charlie Austin‘s goal after just 41 seconds proved the difference, and in truth the winning margin should have been much greater.
[ MORE: Saints just fine without Koeman ]
With the win Saints move on to 17 points, while Everton remain on 19 points.
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After just 41 seconds St Mary’s went wild as a cross from the right was flicked on by youngster Josh Sims and Austin poked home. 1-0 to Saints. Koeman stood on the edge of his technical area with his hands in his pockets and his team in a hole.
Saints continued to press and had a few half chances as they settled into the game quicker and had Everton on the back foot. 19-year-old Sims, making his Premier League debut, then had a good chance but he couldn’t get enough power on his header from close range following Nathan Redmond’s cross.
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As half time approached Saints continued to press with Austin having a tame effort which Maarten Stekelenburg easily saved after a surging run forward from Virgil Van Dijk. Moments later Everton should have been level as a cross found Idrissa Gueye on the edge of the box but he blazed well over.
Saints continued to look more dangerous with Pierre Hojbjerg having several attempts from distance and not quite getting on the end of a header following Cedric Soares’ cross.
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At the start of the second half Hojbjerg wriggled free on the byline but his shot struck the side-netting at the near post with plenty of teammates in the box. Yannick Bolasie then broke free but dragged his shot horrible wide as he entered the box.
Austin was then denied his second of the game as a perfect cross from the right from Cedric found him eight yards out but Stekelenburg produced a great save to tip his header out when it looked destined for the bottom corner. Fraser Forster then produced a great save at the other end with Bolasie sending in an acrobatic overhead kick but the winger was then pulled up for a foul.
In the closing stages the game opened up with Sims racing clear but his final pass was intercepted and then Bolasie curled an effort from distance inches over.
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Saints continued to squander chances as Sims’ cross was hooked clear just as Austin was about to convert and moments later Austin rounded Stekelenburg and drilled the ball into Ward-Prowse who couldn’t get his feet right three yards out as put his effort wide.
The chances kept coming for Saints as Ward-Prowse was found at the back post and he controlled well but Steklenburg saved his effort, yet the looping, spinning ball was going in until Phil Jagielka hooked it off the line.
At the other end Jose Fonte made a superb block from Seamus Coleman‘s effort as Everton chucked the kitchen sink at Saints. Substitute Enner Valencia flashed a header just wide in the 90th minute but that was as close as the Toffees came.
Saints showed that there is well and truly life after Koeman.