Everton’s Champions League hopes were dealt a crushing blow at St Mary’s as two own-goals condemned them to a miserable defeat.
The visitors got off to the worst possible start, Antolin Alcaraz heading into his own net after just 52 seconds.
Roberto Martinez’s charges never recovered and disruption to Everton’s centre-half pairing was telling when John Stones missed a simple headed clearance which saw Seamus Coleman head beyond Tim Howard.
The away side failed to find any attacking rhythm and were limited to few efforts on goal in the, Romelu Lukaku heading over Everton’s best chance in the first half and directing another after half time straight at Artur Boruc.
There were two strong penalty claims in the second half the first resulting in the booking of Leon Osman for simulation when Dejan Lovren tripped the substitute. James McCarthy was then grappled to the floor by Jose Fonte but referee Michael Oliver was less than impressed.
The insipid defeat all but ends Everton’s slim chances of finishing in fourth spot as Arsenal have the opportunity to race four points clear with two games remaining.
Howard- 4- it was a bad day at the office for the entire back five and the man between the sticks should have been more commanding in the absence of senior figures Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin.
Baines- 5- offered his support in attacking areas but lacked the urgency were used to seeing. Delivery was often found wanting and the England full-back was withdrawn with an injury late in the game.
Alcaraz- 3- got off to the worst possible start in his first start since January. Completely miss timed his header to put beyond Howard. Lazily threw his head at the ball when he perhaps could have shifted his body to ensured a better clearance.
Stones- 5- one of few Everton players to come off with the pitch with a shred of credit. Showed composure while under pressure from Southampton’s high pressing but should have headed away the cross which led to the Saints’ second goal.
Coleman- 4- despite showing tremendous stamina to get up and down the right flank, the Irishman will be having nightmares about the own goal which put Southampton in the driving seat.
Barry- 4- struggled to get on the ball and was often crowded out in midfield by the likes of Wanyama and Davis. Picked up a yellow card and was nearly caught out on a number of occasions.
McCarthy- 6- the midfielder will always give 100% work rate but it was not enough in a midfield battle that Everton lost out in. Showed good desire to push us forward even when it wasn’t ticking between our flair players.
Deulofeu- 5- started brightly but was quickly found out by the right back Clyne. His predictability and decision to slow play down in the final third allowed markers to dispossess the Spaniard far too easily. Did produce a great cross for Lukaku in the first half.
Naismith- 5- operating just behind Lukaku, the Scot was bright and lively for the most part but waned in the second half. Showed tidy feet to keep the ball in some moments; conceded possession too easily in others.
Barkley- 4- demonstrated a nice range of passing but didn’t show enough intent in the areas that would really hurt Southampton. Subbed at half-time.
Lukaku- 3- not a performance the Belgian will look back on fondly. Showed too much of the ball to centre-halves when he should have held it up longer. Missed a decent chance in the first half and should have scored in the second with a headed straight at Boruc. Needs to work harder in bringing others into the game while his basic short passing was awful at times.
Osman- 5- desperately unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when it was clear Lovren caught the midfielder. If not winning the penalty was bad enough, Oliver brandished the yellow card for simulation. Terrible decision on a mixed afternoon for the man in charge.
McGeady- 5- showed one moment of skill which allowed him the room to deliver a wonderful cross from which Lukaku should have scored. Unfortunately that was his only contribution and the winger struggled to make an impact.
Garbutt- unfair to give the youngster a rating for his injury time cameo. Replaced Baines at left-back for his first ever Premier League appearance.
Where did it all go wrong for Everton?…Two too many individual mistakes?…Who needs to take the blame: Alcaraz…Coleman…Martinez?…Where does the result leave Everton’s Champions League hopes?…and can they still qualify for Europe with Spurs breathing down their neck?…please leave your comments below…