Enner Valencia inspires Everton to win over Southampton in Premier League
By Andrew Dickson
Last Updated: 02/01/17 5:47pm
Enner Valencia came off the bench to inspire Everton to a 3-0 victory over Southampton at Goodison Park on Monday.
The game was a poor spectacle until the on-loan West Ham player was introduced as a replacement for Aaron Lennon just after the hour mark.
Valencia tapped in the opener with 17 minutes to go and then won a penalty when he drew a foul from Maya Yoshida, with Leighton Baines converting.
Romelu Lukaku got the third a minute from time, again with Valencia assisting, as Southampton slipped to a third consecutive defeat.
Everton, who remain in seventh place in the table, took time to get going, with the first half a lame affair which saw the sides cancel each other out.
Whether it was the toll of a heavy festive schedule or a couple of early injuries which influenced that, neither seemed to help.
There was a robust start to the match but that was quickly lost as Southampton's Cedric was replaced within six minutes by Jack Stephens after suffering a head knock.
Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin soon followed him down the tunnel after suffering an ankle knock on his first Premier League start.
With those changes, a general malaise came and there was a distinct lack of clear-cut chances in the opening exchanges.
Visiting striker Jay Rodriguez did have the ball in the net, though he put it there with his hand and did little to claim otherwise as the goal was disallowed.
Southampton were creating more at first, with Nathan Redmond heading just off target and Oriol Romeu later forcing a frantic clearance.
At the other end, Fraser Forster denied Lukaku with his legs and Seamus Coleman's shot deflected behind.
Having put the ball in illegally before, Rodriguez showed much more craft as he had the best opportunity before the break.
He spun away from Tom Davies then got past Ashley Williams and was unlucky to see his well-struck attempt from the edge of the area soar just over.
The second half was also tepid - until Valencia's entry provided a spark.
Immediately he was in support of Lukaku and acted as a good decoy before the Belgian pulled a disappointing shot across goal and wide.
In response, Southampton drew a fine stop from keeper Joel Robles as Redmond was denied - and that proved to be crucial as Valencia put the hosts ahead 17 minutes from the end.
Coleman hit the byline and clipped back for Lukaku, whose header was saved but then rebounded back to him and came off his thigh, with Valencia tucking the loose ball in.
Eight minutes later he won the penalty, which Baines stroked in.
Suddenly Everton looked confident and they finished the game strongly as Lukaku scored a fine third - Baines won back possession and spread to Valencia, who threaded through for the striker to make it 3-0.
Everton: Joel (7), Baines (7), Funes Mori (6), Williams (7), Coleman (7), Gana (6), Davies (6), Lennon (5), Barkley (7), Calvert-Lewin (3), Lukaku (6)
Subs: Mirallas (6), Valencia (8), Barry (2)
Southampton: Forster (6), Cedric (1), Yoshida (5), Fonte (5), McQueen (6), Ward-Prowse (5), Romeu (5), Clasie (6), Redmond (7), Rodriguez (6), Tadic (5)
Subs: Stephens (5), Boufal (3), Long (2)
Man of the match: Enner Valencia