Daily Echo:

James Ward-Prowse scored in consecutive Premier League games for the first time in his career as Saints made it two top flight victories in a row with a 2-1 win over Everton.

Ward-Prowse, who netted from the penalty spot as Saints defeated Leicester the previous weekend, scored an absolute belter from open play to help his team to a thoroughly deserved victory over the Toffees at St Mary’s.

A bizarre Lucas Digne own goal put the icing on the cake for Saints who brushed aside their midweek FA Cup penalty shootout exit to Derby to bag another vital three points with only their second home win of the campaign.

Only Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late consolation blotted the copybook.

With Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Yan Valery returning from bans and Danny Ings back from injury, Ralph Hasenhuttl only had to ask four of the team who played the full match against Leicester and Derby to start – and that included the influential Ward-Prowse.

Saints were looking threatening in the early stages and caused Everton a defensive scramble as Matt Targett found James Ward-Prowse and the midfielder’s shot deflected just beyond the reach of the diving Danny Ings.

They continued to look the more dangerous team and extended Jordan Pickford on 15 minutes from a set piece.

Ward-Prowse delivered an inswinging corner from the left and the simplest of near post movements from Ings allowed him the space to flick a header across goal that the Everton keeper dived to his left to turn away.

Everton eventually came to life in an attacking sense and Jan Bednarek had to come to the rescue with a sliding block after Ademola Lookman had drilled in a low shot following some slick passing.

Daily Echo:

Ings worked Pickford again on 27 minutes as Bednarek lofted a ball over the top and into his path. The striker took it on the half volley and leathered it from the edge of the box, but the stopper parried it away.

It just wasn’t quite happening for Saints in front of goal, despite their dominance in the game, as they hit the post twice in the space of eight minutes.

Nathan Redmond came agonisingly close as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s pass played him in behind. Redmond took on a left footed shot from 12 yards out that went across goal, flicked the outside of the post and went wide.

They had heads in hands again on 41 minutes as Ings produced a mazy run through the Everton backline and Andre Gomes got a foot to the ball before he could shoot. His inadvertent intervention went past Pickford and hit the foot of the post to allow the Toffees to clear when it could easily have been an own goal.

Daily Echo:

In between Saints were forced into a change with Targett hobbling off after hurting his left knee and Cedric Soares forced into action at left wing back.

Everton had half a shout for a penalty early in the second period as Lookman went down under the challenge of Oriol Romeu, but referee Graham Scott was unmoved.

After an underwhelming first period, the Toffees tried to start fast and forced Alex McCarthy into a diving save as he turned wide Gylfi Sigurdsson’s powerful header at the near post.

However, it was Saints who grabbed the lead five minutes after the restart – and it was all about the determination and quality of Ward-Prowse.

He showed persistence to win the ball and power towards the area before shooting right footed from 20 yards, producing a wonderful strike that moved in the air and rocketed past Pickford for 1-0.

If there was a concern in the first period that it was just going to be one of those days for Saints, it was dispelled on 64 minutes as Saints doubled their lead with the most remarkable piece of good fortune.

Daily Echo:

Saints won the ball back in the centre of midfield and played it in to Redmond. Lucas Digne came across to tackle him and only managed to drive the ball into the bottom corner of his own goal from 20 yards out.

Everton made a series of attacking changes to try and get back into the game but continued to be on the backfoot as Saints continued to dominate.

Jack Stephens had the chance to add another but powered a header from a Ward-Prowse corner just wide while Shane Long’s first-time effort forced Pickford to turn wide.

Everton produced a late rally with Sigurdsson side footing into the bottom corner from the edge of the area to pull one back but it proved a mere consolation.