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Everton 1 - 0 Southampton: Instant Reaction

Hey, a clean sheet in the league!

Clint Hughes/Getty Images

Everton notched their third straight win in Premier League play on Saturday, grinding out a nervy win against Southampton at Goodison Park.

Southampton came out of the tunnel with guns blazing and looked to be a superior side to Everton, at least for the opening minutes. But the home side gained a foothold in the match around the tenth minute, and just a few minutes later the fans at Goodison Park were rewarded with a Phil Jagielka opening goal. The first half was a physical one, and a nervous one for Everton supporters. But the Toffees went back into the tunnel up 1-0 at the break.

Southampton again were the better side after the second half kickoff, but Everton were able to retain the lead due to strong defensive performances from the captain and much-maligned goalkeeper Tim Howard. The Saints performance in the final third was subpar at best, and the American goalkeeper was the beneficiary of a long-awaited clean sheet.

The Blues managed to take all three points at home, likely putting relegation worries to rest for good. However, they did do the team across the park a favor, as the win kept Liverpool one point clear of Southampton for fifth place. The Blues catapult to 11th on the table with the win, though Crystal Palace and Newcastle have matches left to play this weekend. Everton travel to Wales to take on Swansea City next Saturday.