Southampton vs. Everton: Final score 0-0, neither side makes most of chances

Ian Walton

Mauricio Pochettino's first game in charge of Southampton could have gone better, but it also could have gone far worse. The Saints had plenty of chances to win the match, but they were ultimately forced to settle for a point against an under-performing Everton side in a 0-0 draw.

Southampton were in the mood to make life very, very difficult for David Moyes' men, and should have taken the lead three or four times in the first half alone. A brilliant free kick from Paul Lambert rocketed off Tim Howard's left upright before the goalkeeper denied the in-form striker from a tight angle a few minutes later.

Then Nikica Jelavic, not doing much of anything up front, was forced to clear a Lambert header off the line, with Jas Hooiveld's follow-up directed -- somehow -- straight at a stranded Howard. The fourth miss came from Lambert again after an overload down the Saints' left allowed Jason Puncheon to pick out the unmarked striker in the centre, only for his header to skim just wide of the post.

To say it was a Southampton onslaught would have been to rather thoroughly understate just how severely the Saints had dominated the proceedings. They were attacking Everton with verve and intensity and the Toffees responded with a risible display, with passing so off-target that one almost got the feeling that they were being deliberately ironic about the fact that they each make five digits a week to play sports.

After the break, however, it was the visitors' turn to impose themselves. They did so, unsurprisingly, through the imposing figure of Marouane Fellaini, and the Belgian was thwarted by Artur Boruc twice in quick succession when he first tried to force home a cross with his right foot and then sent a thumping header straight at the goalkeeper from a corner.

Leon Osman then nearly decapitated Maya Yoshida with an impressive half-volley from outside the box before Jelavic fell over the ball rather than converting Victor Anichebe's cross from close range, apparently taking the opportunity to pretend that he's Fernando Torres. After an embarrassed Jelavic was hauled off the pitch by Moyes, it was Anichebe's turn to be denied by Boruc, the stopper standing tall to palm the Nigerian's vicious shot past the post.

But, just like Southampton in the first half, Everton couldn't make their dominance count, and a match with either side could have won in a landslide ended up finishing 0-0.

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