PA Everton fans hold up banners in protest against the clubs board after the Premier League match at Goodison Park.
# Trouble
Everton woes worsened by Southampton comeback win at under-threat Goodison
Nottingham Forest boost survival hopes with victory over Leicester, and Wolves beat relegation rivals West Ham.

Everton 1-2 Southampton

EVERTON’S BOARD OF directors were ordered to stay away from Goodison Park due to perceived security risks but what they missed was their relegation-threatened team plunging into further trouble after a 2-1 defeat to bottom side Southampton.

In an unprecedented move the executives did not attend after offensive messages – including death threats to chairman Bill Kenwright – were made to specific individuals during the week by angry fans.

Club officials called it a “profoundly sad day” but things were not much better on the pitch as Everton squandered a lead given to them by Amadou Onana’s first goal for the Toffees.

James Ward-Prowse scored twice as the Saints moved level on points with their hosts, who are only kept off the bottom of the table by goal difference after just one win in 11 league matches and have their lowest tally (15) at the halfway stage of a Premier League campaign.

It added extra numbers to the previously-planned sit-in protest after the final whistle by fans angry at the way they perceive those executives have run the club.

By then Southampton’s players, who had enjoyed a morale-boosting midweek Carabao Cup win over Manchester City, had long departed with new manager Nathan Jones celebrating his first league win after four successive defeats.

Those same home supporters had resurrected the team coach welcome, replete with flags and blue smoke, first implemented during last season’s late escape from relegation and the atmosphere was positive before kick-off.

There was Irish representation on both sides, with Gavin Bazunu in goal for Southampton and Seamus Coleman starting for the struggling Toffees.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s tame header and Demarai Gray’s shot wide offered some further encouragement but anxiety appeared to be affecting both sides with Ward-Prowse opting to pass inside the area when faced with the option of shooting at Jordan Pickford.

The midfielder was to find himself in space in or around the penalty area a further three times: he hit the post on one occasion in first-half added time before punishing Everton with the equaliser two minutes after the break.

Che Adams’ cushioned header dropped to him 20 yards out and he side-stepped Ben Godfrey to slot past Pickford to cancel out Onana’s maiden goal.

The Belgium international was the host’s best player and he got his rewards after a fairly nondescript opening 39 minutes by beating Bazunu with a downward header from Gray’s right-wing corner.

everton-v-southampton-premier-league-goodison-park PA Bazunu fails to make a save. PA

Everton have been guilty of not pressing home their advantage on the rare occasions they have had one this season and, moments later, Alex Iwobi cut in from the left and curled a shot wide of the far post. It was no surprise when their bubble was burst early in the second half.

It gave Saints the confidence to exert greater control on the game, with Ward-Prowse at the heart, and under-pressure manager Frank Lampard’s response was to switch from five at the back to 4-3-3 with wing-back Coleman replaced by forward Anthony Gordon.

Godfrey bundled an Onana cross into the side-netting but Gordon’s reckless and unnecessary foul on Adams 30 yards out, 12 minutes from time, was right in Ward-Prowse’s range and he duly whipped a free-kick over the wall leaving Pickford motionless.

The Gwladys Street chanted “sack the board” at the final whistle after a fourth successive home league defeat, the first time that has happened since a club-record run of seven in 1958.

It was a marked contrast to the celebrations taking place in the away section, who sang: “We’re staying up.”

Nottingham Forest 2-0 Leicester City

Brennan Johnson scored two second-half goals as Nottingham Forest further strengthened their Premier League survival bid with an impressive 2-0 win over Leicester, whose miserable run continues.

The Wales international registered his first league goals since September to move Forest above their East Midlands rivals, who have now lost four in a row, and four points clear of the relegation zone.

It is a marked turnaround since the reverse fixture in October that saw Leicester win 4-0 which Forest boss Steve Cooper called the worst game of his managerial career.

His side looked doomed that night, but now they have real hope of staying out of relegation trouble after an impressive run that has seen them lose just one of their last six Premier League games.

That victory kick-started Leicester’s season but their form has been woeful since the season resumed after the World Cup as they have lost all four games.

nottingham-forest-v-leicester-city-premier-league-city-ground PA Brennan Johnson was Forest's hero. PA

The pressure is back on Brendan Rodgers, who is desperate for reinforcements this month as his side try to avoid getting pulled back into a relegation scrap.

Wolves 1-0 West Ham

David Moyes’ West Ham slumped into the Premier League bottom three following defeat at fellow strugglers Wolves.

Both sides went into the Molineux meeting out of form in the league but it was the hosts who sealed a 1-0 victory courtesy of a smart Daniel Podence strike which lifts them out of the relegation zone.

West Ham headed to the Black Country having won just one of their last nine Premier League games, taking a single point from their previous six.

It left the Hammers looking over their shoulder and into the drop zone, where their hosts sat following an equalling galling run of results.

Julen Lopetegui has arrested a slide but is still calling for more from his new charges, who had just one victory in eight before this game.

They were not at their best here but still had enough to beat a poor West Ham side, with the visitors barely testing Jose Sa in the Wolves goal throughout the afternoon.

Nathan Collins played the full game for Wolves, Joe Hodge was held in reserve and Darren Randolph was on the West Ham bench.

Brentford 2-0 AFC Bournemouth

Ivan Toney and Mathias Jensen fired Brentford up to eighth in the Premier League as Bournemouth’s collapse continued.

Toney’s first-half penalty and Jensen’s late strike earned a 2-0 win and inflicted a sixth straight defeat since the World Cup on the freefalling Cherries, all since Gary O’Neil was made their permanent manager.

It was a third consecutive Premier League win for the hosts and made it seven games unbeaten, a run which includes victories over Liverpool and Manchester City.

Thomas Frank’s enterprising side are now ahead of Liverpool, while only defeats for West Ham and Everton kept Bournemouth out of the relegation zone.

WSL: Aston Villa 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

Two goals within four first-half minutes lifted Aston Villa to a 2-1 Women’s Super League victory over Tottenham at Poundland Bescot Stadium.

Jordan Nobbs made her first start for Carla Ward’s side after joining from Arsenal last week, while Bethany England made her Spurs debut following her January move from Chelsea.

England opened her account for Tottenham when she struck in Kerys Harrop’s cross from the edge of the six-yard box. 

Kenza Dali levelled with a low strike into the bottom left past a diving Tinja-Riikka Korpela on 34 minutes before Rachel Daly pounced on Kirsty Hanson’s ball from the left and fired home the winner.

Press Association
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel