Everton march on against Saints
Jelavic nets twice in comeback victory
Last Updated: 29/09/12 5:27pm
Nikica Jelavic scored twice as Everton continued their strong start to the season by sweeping aside Southampton 3-1 at Goodison Park.
Goal of the match: Nikica Jelavic's opener, which made it 2-1 to Everton, was a scintillating team goal as Everton broke quickly and Kevin Mirallas slipped a fine pass through for his team-mate to finish with aplomb.
Moment of the match: Everton had struggled to get going and Southampton were looking good early on, but Leon Osman's leveller proved to be the turning point and from then on it was one-way traffic for the rest of the first half.
Save of the match: Paulo Gazzaniga produced a number of fine stops and one in particular stood out, a reflex save to deny Nikica Jelavic. The ball was cleared but, unfortunately, it came back just moments later and Jelavic headed in to make it 3-1.
Talking point: Can Everton sustain their flying start and finish in the top four? Do Southampton have the quality to survive in the Premier League?
Everton actually started the game slowly and fell behind after just six minutes when Gaston Ramirez guided home a free header from Adam Lallana's corner for his first Premier League goal.
The early setback jolted the Toffees into top gear and they turned on the style to take complete control before half-time thanks to Leon Osman's equaliser and Jelavic's brace.
Osman smashed in the leveller after Southampton had failed to deal with a Kevin Mirallas cross, and Mirallas then released Jelavic to make it 2-1 following a thrilling counter-attack.
Everton were rampant by this point and Jelavic added a third before the interval when he powered a header past Paulo Gazzaniga after great work by Seamus Coleman.
Southampton battled hard after the interval in an effort to get back into the game but were not able to respond as they slumped to a fifth defeat in six league games.
After such an impressive start to the season the Everton players were having to deal with the prospect of handling rising expectations but they were not so adept at dealing with Southampton's set-pieces.
From Lallana's corner Ramirez was given the freedom of the penalty area to nod in the simplest of headers.
It was the Uruguay international's first goal in English football following his club-record £12million summer transfer from Bologna and the first time Everton have conceded in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League game this season.
Southampton were to regret Jay Rodriguez's inability to hit the target - let alone test Tim Howard - when he outpaced the Toffees defence soon after.
Everton turned the game on its head in a 14-minute period which exposed all the flaws characteristic of a newly-promoted team.
Mirallas swung over a right-wing cross and although Jelavic threw himself at it he succeeded only in diverting it back to Osman who smashed the loose ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Mirallas' through-ball then sent Jelavic running through the inside-left channel and Gazzaniga's poor positioning made it all-too-easy for the Croatia international to fire a shot across him and make it 2-1.
Southampton's goalkeeper redeemed himself slightly by brilliantly clawing out the striker's header destined for the top corner but was powerless to prevent him nodding in Seamus Coleman's cross to the far post.
The visitors have the leakiest defence in the top flight and it was easy to see why as they were so open in the second quarter of the game they appeared to be in disarray.
Everton should have had the game wrapped up before the break; their confidence was highlighted by Mirallas' attempted overhead kick before Marouane Fellaini hit the crossbar with a header.
Fellaini almost clinched the result early in the second half with a long-range effort tipped just wide by Gazzaniga before Osman and Mirallas also tried their luck from the edge of the box as their toothless opponents offered little in the way of resistance.
However, without the fourth goal to kill off Southampton, Everton were always a hostage to fortune and Ramirez's clip past Howard but past the far post from a narrow angle was a warning of that.
But luck seemed to be on the hosts' side as Leighton Baines almost caught Gazzaniga unawares with a hanging cross-shot which the goalkeeper had to backpedal to tip over.
For Southampton manager Nigel Adkins, a Birkenhead-born Liverpool fan, it proved to be an unhappy return to the region.As far as Everton are concerned their progress could not be more serene and with trips to struggling Wigan and QPR up next there is every prospect of it continuing.
|3||1st Half Goals||1|
|8||Shots on Target||5|
|8||Shots off Target||5|
|59.1||1st Half Poss.||40.9|
|46.4||2nd Half Poss.||53.6|
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
|16||West Bromwich Albion||16||15|
|17||West Ham United||16||14|
Everton v Southampton
Kevin Mirallas is aware Everton's start to the season is raising expectations but he also wants to remain realistic.
Everton defender Seamus Coleman says the whole team has been lifted by the form of Nikica Jelavic.
Nigel Adkins felt there were positives to take from Southampton's performance against Everton despite losing 3-1.