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David Moyes pragmatic over Everton title chance

Moyes pragmatic over Everton title chances after beating Southampton

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UPDATED:

17:35 GMT, 29 September 2012

Everton manager David Moyes admits his side's lofty position in the Barclays Premier League may not be a concern for the title contenders just yet but it would be later in the season.

A 3-1 victory over Southampton, where the Toffees recovered from Gaston Ramirez's first goal in English football with a close-range effort from Leon Osman and two strikes from Nikica Jelavic in a 14-minute period before the interval, put them within three points of leaders Chelsea.

With a rebel Jel: Nikica Jelavic (right) just wanted more after netting the leveller

With a rebel Jel: Nikica Jelavic (right) just wanted more after netting the leveller

Everton have equalled their best
points haul of 13 from six Barclays Premier League matches from the
2004-05 season – when they went on to qualify for the Champions League
for the first and only time.

Moyes is keen for people to not get carried away but admits he is holding out hope of securing 'a dream spot' in the top four.

'I don't think Everton managers can
come in here and say “Let's avoid relegation” but I think that is always
the first route for every club and it still is for Everton,' said the
Scot, whose side are perennially poor starters.

fast start: Southampton's Uruguayan midfielder Gaston Ramirez celebrates after his opener

fast start: Southampton's Uruguayan midfielder Gaston Ramirez celebrates after his opener

Knockout blow: Everton's Nikica Jelavic (left) and Southampton's Frazer Richardson battle for the ball

Knockout blow: Everton's Nikica Jelavic (left) and Southampton's Frazer Richardson battle for the ball

'The next part is then “can we make a European spot” and if you are very good “can you make the dream spots, the big ones”

'I'd like to be in there, in the mix,
during the season but I don't think Manchester United and Manchester
City will be worried to see Everton there at this time of the year.

'They might be worried if in April time we slip to the top of the league.'

Jump to it: Maya Yoshida (centre right) and Everton's Marouane Fellaini (centre) vie for posession

Jump to it: Maya Yoshida (centre right) and Everton's Marouane Fellaini (centre) vie for posession

Moyes was pleased with the way his
side responded after going behind early on, especially after their
disappointing Capital One Cup exit at Leeds.

'We played ever so well at times in
the first half but it took us 15 minutes to get going as I felt there
was a bit of a hangover from the result in midweek,' he added.

'But they deserve great credit for going about their job and how well they played.

We're flying: Leon Osman notched Everton's third goal which effectively ended the game before the break

We're flying: Leon Osman notched Everton's third goal which effectively ended the game before the break

'It was nearly action every minute: it was great theatre for 30 minutes before half-time and we maybe could have scored more.

'I was clapping at the number of
opportunities and chances and you could see how much the crowd are
enjoying it so when you drop off (after half-time) it is quite
noticeable.

'It is always a dangerous score when
you are leading by two because you are worried if you concede one they
are back in the game and I think we played like that in the second
half.'

Three 'n' easy: Osman nets the killer third for Everton

Three 'n' easy: Osman nets the killer third for Everton

Crunch: Kevin Mirallas feels the full force of Nathan Clyne's challenge

Crunch: Kevin Mirallas feels the full force of Nathan Clyne's challenge

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins rued missed chances which would have turned the match in their favour.

'I think we started the game very well and for the first 20 to 25 minutes we have taken the game to Everton,' he said.

'We scored a good goal from a corner
and if Jay Rodriguez had gone in and scored (when clean through) to make
it 2-0 it might have been a different final reflection.

Pragmatic: David Moyes (left) is not getting carried away

Realist: Nigel Adkins

Pragmatic: David Moyes (left) is not getting carried away and Nigel Adkins (right) remains upbeat

'Goals change games and with 25
minutes gone the first real passage of play when Everton put a
consecutive period of passes together gave them a goal.

'The crowd got behind them, they
upped their tempo and the second goal came from a counter-attack which
changed the complexion of the game.

'For the 10 minutes before half-time Everton were well in the ascendancy and we weren't able to deal with it.

'Second half we came out with good
composure to pass the football and if Gaston Ramirez's little chip had
just gone inside the post rather than outside it could have been an
interesting final period.'

No strings: Nikica Jelavic (centre) netted a brace to keep Everton in sight of Chelsea at the top of the table

No strings: Nikica Jelavic (centre) netted a brace to keep Everton in sight of Chelsea at the top of the table

Southampton 4 Derby 0: Saints return to top of Championship

Southampton 4 Derby 0: Saints return to top of Championship

Southampton went two points clear at the top of the npower Championship with a comprehensive victory over Derby.

With West Ham not in action due to
Blackpool's participation in the FA Cup, Saints had the chance to move
to the top of the league.

And they took it in fine style, with Jos Hooiveld, Aaron Martin, Adam Lallana and Tadanari Lee all on target.

On the march: Jos Hooiveld celebrates Saints' opener

On the march: Jos Hooiveld celebrates Saints' opener

MATCH FACTS

SOUTHAMPTON: Davis, Harding, Hooiveld (Martin 46), Fonte, Fox, Chaplow (Puncheon 72), Schneiderlin, Cork, Lallana, Sharp (Lee 46), Lambert. Subs: Hammond, Connolly.

Booked: Harding

Goals: Hooiveld, 15, Martin 57, Lallana 65, Lee 75

DERBY: Fielding, Brayford (Ball 58), Barker, Shackell, Roberts, Green, Hendrick, Bauiley (Davies 72), Carroll, Ward, Tyson (Robinson 67). Subs: Legzdins, Buxton.

Booked: Bailey

Referee: Graham Scott

Hooiveld put Nigel Adkins' men in
front from a corner but they wasted several chances and had to wait
until 12 minutes after half-time to double their lead.

Martin finished from close range
after another corner, while Daniel Fox completed his hat-trick of
assists by teeing up Lallana.

Lee then scored his first goal for Southampton as they extended their unbeaten run in the league to five games.

Mid-table Derby started the second
half well but the hosts' second goal broke their spirits and they are
now without a victory in six league and cup games.

Saints made two changes to their
side, with Dan Harding and Richard Chaplow replacing the injured Frazer
Richardson and Guly, who missed out due to illness.

John Brayford and James Bailey came back into Derby's line-up as Craig Bryson and Callum Ball made way.

Beaten by Reading in midweek, the
visitors were coming up against a Southampton side who had only lost
twice at home in 16 games this season.

Jos like that: Hooiveld bundles home the first goal

Jos like that: Hooiveld bundles home the first goal

And Saints showed plenty of attacking
intent in the early stages, with Harding's free-kick from the right
wing forcing Derby goalkeeper Frank Fielding to make a save.

However, there was nothing he could do as Hooiveld gave the hosts a 15th-minute lead.

Fox's corner from the left was bundled in at the far post by the former Celtic defender.

Lallana was giving Derby's defenders a
headache as the half wore on and the winger curled wide from a good
position before he also missed the target after taking advantage of
Shaun Barker's misplaced pass.

Against the run of play, Tom Carroll
nearly levelled matters but his fierce low effort was magnificently
kept out by Saints stopper Kelvin Davis.

Arms race: Billy Sharp is hauled back by Derby's Jason Shackell

Arms race: Billy Sharp is hauled back by Derby's Jason Shackell

Immediately after, Fielding was
called upon to make equally impressive stops from Jack Cork's 20-yard
strike and Rickie Lambert's long-range free-kick to keep the deficit to
one goal at the interval.

The Rams showed greater urgency
after the break but, after Lallana's header was brilliantly tipped over
by Fielding, Southampton doubled their lead from the resulting corner.

Another Fox delivery, this time from
the right byline, was fired high into the net by Martin at the back post
in the 57th minute.

Ram raided: James Bailey is tackled by Richard Chaplow (left)

Ram raided: James Bailey is tackled by Richard Chaplow (left)

And the game was ended as a contest as Lallana finished off a great flowing move from the hosts eight minutes later.

Cork fed Fox on the overlap and his cross was tucked away by Lallana.

Substitute Lee sealed a thumping triumph for Southampton with a spectacular blast into the top corner from the edge of the area 15 minutes from time.

Southampton 2 Burnley 0: Saints rediscover home form to pile pressure on Hammers

Southampton 2 Burnley 0: Saints rediscover home form to pile pressure on Hammers

Adam Lallana set Southampton on their way as they roared back to within a point of the top of the npower Championship.

Nigel Adkins' side secured only their second victory since Boxing Day to close the gap on leaders West Ham, whose game at Peterborough fell foul of the wintry weather.

Lallana opened the scoring with his ninth goal of the season and Billy Sharp was credited with the second, although Burnley defender Ben Mee got the final touch.

Well on the way: Southampton celebrate Billy Sharp's goal

Well on the way: Southampton celebrate Billy Sharp's goal

MATCH FACTS

Southampton: Davis, Richardson, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox, Do Prado (Hammond 78), Schneiderlin, Cork, Lallana, Lambert (Lee 90), Sharp (Connolly 64).

Subs Not Used: Martin, Puncheon.

Goals: Lallana 8,Sharp 33.

Burnley: Grant,Trippier,Mee (Hines 74), Duff, Edgar, Marney (Bartley 46), McCann, Wallace, Treacy (McQuoid 46), Austin,
Rodriguez.

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Easton.

Att: 24,099

Ref: Trevor Kettle (Rutland).

And a deserved win sets up a mouthwatering clash top-of-the-table clash against West Ham at Upton Park on Tuesday night.

Burnley arrived at St Mary's having won five of their last six away games while Saints' recent wobble has seen them without a win in four at home, including Tuesday's FA Cup defeat by Millwall.

But it took the hosts just eight minutes to take the lead when full-back Frazer Richardson overlapped down the right and stood up an inviting cross. Lallana looped in a glancing header at the near post for his second goal in a week.

Three minutes later, with Burnley reeling, former Claret Danny Fox crossed for Rickie Lambert whose shot was fingertipped wide by Lee Grant and from the corner, Lambert's header was cleared off the line by David Edgar.

Sharp, making his full debut since moving to Southampton from Doncaster, got his first sight of goal when he was played in by Jack Cork but his angled effort was deflected wide by Michael Duff.

Keeping track: Jay Rodriguez of Burnley runs at Jos Hooiveld

Keeping track: Jay Rodriguez of Burnley runs at Jos Hooiveld

And in the 33rd minute Saints got the second goal their dominance deserved.

Lambert swung in a cross towards Sharp but as Mee challenged the striker the ball cannoned off his knee, bounced past Grant and into his own net.

Burnley manager Eddie Howe made a double substitution at the break, throwing Josh McQuoid and Marvin Bartley into the action.

But Saints were still in control and could, and probably should, have added to their tally in the second half.

Cork's superb pass sent Lambert charging towards the Burnley area and his cross just eluded substitute David Connolly.

Grant also kept out Lallana's close-range shot before Connolly thought he had snaffled a third after the Burnley goalkeeper spilled a long-range effort from Lambert, but an offside flag curtailed his celebrations.

Nevertheless, Southampton were rarely troubled as they registered a first home win of 2012 as well as the perfect preparation for Tuesday's trip to east London.

Southampton 2 Crystal Palace 0

Southampton 2 Crystal Palace 0: Do Prado at the double to keep Saints top

Guly do Prado”s two goals helped npower Championship leaders Southampton beat Crystal Palace and maintain their unbeaten home record.

The Brazilian attacker netted headers either side of half-time to stretch Saints” unbeaten league run at St Mary”s to 24 matches in front of a sold-out crowd.

Nigel Adkins” side dominated the first period and only a fine save from Julian Speroni prevented Rickie Lambert breaking the deadlock with a stooping header inside nine minutes.

Heads up: Guly Do Prado nods home the second goal

Heads up: Guly Do Prado nods home the second goal

Match facts

Southampton: Davis, Richardson, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox, De Ridder (Connolly 79), Schneiderlin (Hammond 87), Cork, Lallana,
Do Prado, Lambert.
Subs Not Used: Bialkowski, Harding, Martin.
Booked: Fox.
Goals: Do Prado 34,77.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Clyne, McCarthy, Gardner, Parr, O”Keefe (Garvan 76), Ramage (Martin 66), Dikgacoi, Scannell, Zaha,
Murray (Easter 83).
Subs Not Used: Price,Ambrose.
Booked: Ramage,Clyne,McCarthy.
Att: 31,524
Ref: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire).

Southampton”s first-half performance belied their recent poor form and they broke the deadlock in the 34th minute, with patient build-up play paying dividends when Do Prado connected with Steve de Ridder”s cross.

Play-off contenders Crystal Palace – who were unbeaten on Boxing Day since 2004 – never look like securing a third successive league win on the south coast and saw defeat confirmed when Do Prado connected with a Frazer Richardson cross with 13 minutes remaining.

Heading into the match, Southampton made one change to the side held to a 1-1 draw at bitter rivals Portsmouth as they brought in De Ridder for captain Dean Hammond.

Jose Fonte was named skipper against his former club, who made several changes and recalled highly-rated Wilfried Zaha after suspension.

The south Londoners won the pair”s previous encounter this season in the Carling Cup fourth round and Southampton looked to make amends from the offset.

Having dominated the opening exchanges, Southampton went close to taking a ninth-minute lead through Lambert.

Morgan Schneiderlin”s superb right-footed cross to the far post was headed with gusto by the Saints striker, although Speroni reacted superbly to thwart the point-blank effort.

Palace”s defence-minded philosophy meant it took until the 29th minute for them to eke out their first opportunity, while Saints were denied at the other end when Jack Cork had a shot blocked.

However, Southampton did not have to wait long for a goal as De Ridder darted down the right flank and, having turned Peter Ramage inside out, drove in a cross for Do Prado to head home.

Palace came out of their shell as the first period came to an end, but were back defending after the break.

Only a last-gasp Patrick McCarthy block stopped Do Prado doubling his tally within two minutes of the restart, before Adam Lallana put a shot narrowly wide from just inside the area.

Palace”s tactics, though, were beginning to frustrate the home side and, after referee Graham Salisbury rejected an appeal for handball against Frazer Richardson, Murray forced Kelvin Davis into action.

The 2,786 visiting fans were in good voice on the south coast but were quietened as Do Prado headed in his second of the afternoon in the 77th minute, converting Richardson”s right-wing cross.

The Brazilian”s goal was Southampton”s 100th in league and cup matches against the Eagles, who could not find a consolation as the home side held out for a clean sheet.