Jelavic helps Everton to another win

PA Sport
Nikica Jelavic, left, grabbed a brace for Everton
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Nikica Jelavic, left, grabbed a brace for Everton

Everton's impressive start to the season continued - as did striker Nikica's Jelavic's goalscoring run - against a Southampton side whose top-flight inexperience was exposed at Goodison Park in a 3-1 win for the home side.

David Moyes' team equalled their best points haul of 13 from six Barclays Premier League matches from the 2004-05 season to cement their place just three points behind leaders Chelsea.

Jelavic scored twice to take his tally to 10 in his last 11 league matches after Leon Osman had cancelled out Gaston Ramirez's early opener.

After such an impressive start the players were having to deal with the prospect of handling rising expectations but they were not so adept at dealing with Southampton's set-pieces. From Adam Lallana's corner Ramirez was given the freedom of the penalty area to nod in the simplest of headers.

Everton turned the game on its head in a 14-minute period which exposed all the flaws characteristic of a newly-promoted team. Kevin Mirallas swung over a right-wing cross and although Jelavic threw himself at it he succeeded only in diverting it back to Osman who smashed the loose ball into the roof of the net from close range.

The goalscorer returned the favour when his through-ball sent Jelavic running through the inside-left channel but Paulo Gazzaniga's woeful positioning made it all-too-easy for the Croatia international to fire a shot across him.

Southampton's goalkeeper redeemed himself slightly by brilliantly clawing out the striker's header destined for the top corner but was powerless to prevent him nodding in Seamus Coleman's cross to the far post.

Without the fourth goal to kill off Southampton Everton were always a hostage to fortune and Ramirez's clip past Tim Howard but past the far post from a narrow angle was a warning of that. But luck seemed to be on the hosts' side as Leighton Baines almost caught Gazzaniga unaware with a hanging cross-shot which the goalkeeper tipped over.

For Southampton manager Nigel Adkins, a Birkenhead-born Liverpool fan, it proved to be an unhappy return to the region.

As far as Everton are concerned their progress could not be more serene and with trips to struggling Wigan and QPR up next there is every prospect of it continuing.

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