Ward-Prowse brace gives Southampton victory at ailing Everton
James Ward-Prowse scored twice as bottom side Southampton came from behind to claim a vital 2-1 Premier League victory at fellow strugglers Everton and deepen the crisis at Goodison Park on Saturday as home fans protested against the club's board.
Amadou Onana gave the home side a first half lead but Ward-Prowse equalised in the first minute of the second period and then curled in a trademark free-kick to give Southampton their first victory at Everton since 1997.
Southampton stay bottom of the standings with 15 points from their 19 games, the same number as Everton, who are above them on goal difference.
The result comes on a day when members of the Everton board were advised to stay away from the ground over what the club termed a "real and credible threat to their safety and security". Everton fans conducted a pre-planned ‘sit-in’ at the stadium following the game in protest at the club’s current plight.
The victory ends a run of six straight league defeats for Southampton and comes in a week in which they dumped Manchester City out of the League Cup, a marked improvement for new manager Nathan Jones after a difficult start at the club.
"I feel like we’ve finally turned a corner," Ward-Prowse said. "Today was a huge, huge step. We were up against it at halftime but we’ve dug in and shown what we’re all about in the second (half).
"Playing further forward suits me. The manager has given me license to get forward and into the box which gives me the chance to score more goals."
Everton looked the more composed in the first half and were ahead on 39 minutes as Onana met Demarai Gray's corner to score with a header, his first goal for the club.
Southampton were level 46 seconds into the second period when Che Adams steered a header into the path of Ward-Prowse, who showed excellent composure to pick his spot and score.
The visitors hit the front with 12 minutes remaining after Everton substitute Anthony Gordon gave away a needless free kick just outside his own box that was the perfect range for dead-ball specialist Ward-Prowse to score.
The post-match ire from the home support was mostly towards the club's board of directors rather than the players and manager Frank Lampard, with one banner unfurled at the end providing a message for chairman Bill Kenwright.
It read: "18 years as chairman, lie after lie. There's been no "good times", you've let our club die."
Everton defender James Tarkowski admitted the mood in the home dressing room was low.
"Down, disappointed, frustrated. Not a great day at all. Things need to change quickly," he said, adding the club's fans had the right to voice their opinion.
"It is completely out of our control. Fans are allowed their opinion. As a group of players and staff we need to focus on our job. We weren't good enough."
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