Everton claimed their first away win of the season to move out of the lower reaches of the table at the expense of opponents Southampton.
The result sees Marco Silva’s side climb up from 17th to 13th, a place and a point ahead of Manchester United, who host Brighton on Sunday.
Tom Davies put the visitors in charge, heading in from close range after Mason Holgate diverted Gylfi Sigurdsson’s corner back across goal.
Marco Silva’s side then wasted a succession of chances to double their lead before the break, allowing the hosts to hit back.
Substitute Sofiane Boufal skipped past Morgan Schneiderlin on the right and his deflected cross was tapped in by Danny Ings from a yard out.
The hosts, though, still have the worst defensive record in the division and were unable to hold out for a point with Richarlison turning in Djibril Sidibe’s right-wing cross from six yards out in the 75th minute.
Southampton’s sixth defeat in seven league matches sees them remain in the bottom three on eight points – the same tally as at the same stage last term under former boss Mark Hughes.
While Everton delivered an improved performance in their draw with Tottenham last Sunday, this felt like a pivotal day for manager Marco Silva, with this team starting the day just three points ahead of their opponents.
A failure to win at Southampton, who were thrashed 9-0 by Leicester City in their last home game, would have only added to any pressure already being felt by the Portuguese boss.
But as it was, his team largely delivered another positive display even if their errant finishing handed the hosts a way back into the game.
Sigurdsson, Davies and Schneiderlin gave the Toffees control in midfield and the pace of Theo Walcott and Richarlison saw the visitors continuously carve the hosts open down the flanks.
Cenk Tosun, Davies and Sigurdsson all pressed Saints keeper Alex McCarthy into action, the only downside being Everton did not make the most of their 24 shots on goal to record a wider margin of victory.
While the boos rang out and Southampton fans threw their scarves on the pitch at full-time, Ralph Hasenhüttl’s team could not be accused of displaying a lack of effort or spirit.
Confidence, though, is another matter and the Austrian boss saw his side start hesitantly at St Mary’s to hand the initiative to Everton.
They were also not helped by Cedric Soares’ deployment out of position on the left, which consequently allowed Walcott to repeatedly expose Jannik Vestergaard’s lack of pace.
With Everton sweeping forward, particularly down that side, the first 45 minutes bore a striking resemblance to their capitulation to Leicester.
However, Boufal’s introduction in place of Soares had a transformative effect.
Instead of surrendering, the Saints drew level and were pressing for a vital second goal but their defensive vulnerability on the left again proved their undoing.
Southampton has now conceded 21 goals in their first six home Premier League games this season – that’s five more than the next leakiest defence, Norwich.
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Source – BBC