A limp Everton side fell to a damaging 2-0 defeat away at Southampton.

Second-half strikes from Stuart Armstrong and Shane Long were enough to finish off Frank Lampard’s side, who failed to register a shot on target all afternoon.

It was the same starting XI that was so impressive in the previous Saturday’s 3-0 demolition of Leeds United but on the south coast, the Toffees were nothing short of dreadful and continue their search for a first away win in the league since August.

After a somewhat bright start, the Blues were perhaps unlucky not to receive a penalty in the first few minutes when Oriol Romeu appeared to handle in the area, but the players’ protests were waved away after a VAR review.

Thereafter, the hosts began to grow into the game and forced a number of fine stops out of Jordan Pickford.

However, there was nothing the England shot-stopper could do on 52 minutes when Armstrong’s low, accurate hit found the bottom corner at his near post after Andre Gomes cheaply gave up possession.

Everton never really looked like responding and instead it was the Saints who looked the more threatening.

And inevitably, with six minutes remaining, Long scored with his first touch, having just came on as a substitute, and put the outcome beyond any doubt.

It was a frustrating day for the Toffees at a ground where they have historically struggled, winning just three of their previous 14 visits.

Throughout the match, the Blues struggled to string passes together through the opposition’s energetic press and there is an argument to be made that Lampard would have been better off have starting the game with an extra man in the central midfield.

It didn’t help that Allan put in one of his worst performances in an Everton shirt, often giving up possession and receiving a needless yellow card before being hooked at half-time for an equally poor Gomes.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was once again ineffective up top while Alex Iwobi failed to build on his magnificent display against Leeds from the previous weekend.

It was only really Pickford who could hold his head up high after being forced into nine saves which gave his side a fighting chance of getting back into the game.

However, it was a chance Everton squandered and with other sides around them in Watford and Burnley gaining vital wins, it is not yet clear just how costly this wasted opportunity will prove to be.

One thing is for certain, Lampard’s side are going to need a miracle if they are to bounce back when Manchester City come calling to Goodison next Saturday evening.

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