An early Richarlison finish was enough to see Everton to their 13th league victory of the season, seeing off a tight Southampton outfit on Monday night.
The Toffees had not won on home soil in the Premier League since December 19 prior to the game.
Fraser Forster, who made his second Premier League start of the season, was called into action for the first time after six minutes. The England international did well to nip the ball away from Dominic Calvert-Lewin but wasn’t quite so fortunate a few minutes later.
The striker’s flick from a long ball to Gylfi Sigurdsson allowed the Icelandic to coolly slide in Richarlison. The Brazilian rounded Forster and slotted home to draw first blood on nine minutes.
Southampton played a brave but sturdy back-line throughout the game. Everton thought they had grabbed a second in the 25th-minute when a cleverly rehearsed free-kick ended with Michael Keane hitting the back of the net.
However, the Saints’ defence had held firm and the goal was ruled out for offside. The visitors managed to catch their opponents offside frequently throughout the half thanks to their tight line.
Che Adams had a penalty shout waved away by referee Martin Atkinson seconds from half-time in what was Southampton’s most notable chance of the first 45 minutes.
After the break Everton came out the stronger again, Southampton just about managing to contain the hosts’ threat.
A largely uneventful first half-an-hour of the second period was highlighted by Lucas Digne’s penalty shout being dismissed by Atkinson.
Michael Keane directed a header wide just after the hour mark to send another warning sign to the uninspiring Saints.
Mohammed Salisu headed his own effort just off-target on 63 minutes. Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl then ended his night early, replacing the defender for the more attacking Nathan Tella.
Following the switch, Everton continued to press but the visitors did manage to provide more final-third threats.
However, despite Danny Ings and Moussa Djenepo mustering sharp efforts on goal, Southampton failed to provide a shot on target until the 89th-minute.
This came in the form of a poorly dealt with ball into the Everton box. Jordan Pickford had to make up from his mis-keeping by blocking a goal-bound Jannik Vestergaard effort in the away side’s best chance of the game.
Pickford then presented another late opportunity for his opponents but Ings’ attempt was blocked away by Allan.
The Saints would finish the game with ten men as Djenepo exited the pitch with an injury. The winger looked in some discomfort as he went off.
Southampton already have a number of key players injured and the loss now means they go nine games without a win.
They will be looking over their shoulder in 14th, just six points away from the drop zone.
Everton meanwhile go level on points with Liverpool, only kept beneath them in 7th on goal difference.
A win for them in their game in hand would see them leapfrog their arch rivals.