Match ends, Southampton 2, Everton 1.
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl hailed his team for producing their "best game" under his charge as their resurgence continued against a dismal Everton side at St. Mary's.
The 51-year-old Austrian has now won four of his eight games since replacing Mark Hughes - who won three of his 22 matches - in December.
"We played good football, we were good in transition and created a lot," Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports.
"It was a complete team performance and with the right decisions in the right moments. It was the best game so far which was defensively good. We gave two chances away but had a lot of chances to score, it could have been four or five."
While Southampton had dominated the first period it took a superb 20-yard effort from James Ward-Prowse, which found the top corner, to confirm their superiority and illuminate proceedings.
Lucas Digne's toe-poke past his own goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, summed up a miserable afternoon for the visitors who had travelled to the south coast hoping to earn a first league double over Southampton since 2001-02.
While Gylfi Sigurdsson's late effort into the bottom left corner briefly gave them hope of retrieving a point, Marco Silva's side generally toiled in attack.
And they were fortunate that Saints, who twice hit the post in the first period, did not win by an even greater margin.
The result moves Southampton up to 15th, three points clear of the relegation zone, with Everton remaining 11th.
Ward-Prowse & Redmond star for revitalised Saints
Having been on a winless stretch for 11 matches, there is now a buoyancy to Southampton's play that had been absent prior to Hasenhuttl taking charge.
This victory though, which marked the second occasion they have won consecutive matches under the Austrian, was the perfect boost before a sequence of crucial matches against clubs around them in the table.
With a trip to Burnley sandwiched between home games with Crystal Palace and Cardiff, they can enter that period with the confidence that their new approach is working.
"The guys really showed they are focused and committed and that is the key for the future, 11 players going in the same direction," Hasenhuttl added.
"We have very important games in January and February, they are the most important months - if you do it well you have a big chance to leave the relegation zone."
The form of James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond is central to that, with both appearing revitalised under new management.
Ward-Prowse, who barely featured in the first four months of the season, bombed forward at every opportunity from midfield, covering more ground and having more shots than any other home player (3).
His reward was a fine individual goal, while Redmond's pace - coupled with that of the returning on-loan Liverpool forward Danny Ings - caused chaos in the Everton defence throughout.
Ings was unfortunate to see Pickford save a powerful first-half volley after he had raced behind the Everton rearguard, but in the second period a similar run by Redmond brought Digne's own-goal.
Everton faltering as best of the rest?
With an 11-point gap separating Everton from Arsenal, a top six place appears to be disappearing over the horizon for Marco Silva's side.
However, they remain only three points adrift of seventh-placed Watford and have, despite changing managers seven times in the last decade, displayed consistency in finishing eighth or better in seven of those seasons.
That now appears to be the immediate challenge facing Silva, rather than transforming his side initially into one that can compete for a top-four place - and beyond that, for the Premier League title.
On this evidence, though, improvements are required across the board. Defensively stretched throughout, Everton's midfield - particularly Idrissa Gueye, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andre Gomes - was culpable for misplacing too many passes.
And while that did not allow them to build a platform to attack, another recurring complaint among Everton supporters is the club's failure to recruit a central striker to adequately replace Romelu Lukaku - the first Everton player to score over 20 league goals in a season since Gary Lineker (1985-86).
While 21-year-old Brazilian Richarlison has managed nine goals this term, he struggled to get involved in the game as a centre forward and was withdrawn after 65 minutes.
Only the introduction of two more conventional centre forwards, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun, allowed Everton to exert any attacking pressure as they pulled a goal back in the closing stages.
"First-half we didn't create at all, we were faster second-half and more aggressive with fast decisions. Then their goal changes the game," Silva said.
"When you lose like we lost this afternoon we are not happy, we didn't perform well and they deserved three points."
Man of the match - James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Everton's away day blues - the stats
- Southampton have won five of their last six home league games against Everton, losing only in August 2015 (0-3).
- Southampton have won more Premier League games under Ralph Hasenhuttl (4 in 8) than they did with Mark Hughes (3 in 22).
- Everton have lost four of their last five away games in the Premier League (W1).
- Southampton's James Ward-Prowse has scored in consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time in his career.
- Everton's Gylfi Sigurdsson has ended on the losing side in four games in which he's scored in the Premier league this term, a league-high.
- Southampton have won two of their last four Premier League games at St. Mary's, as many as they'd won in their previous 20.
Southampton resume their Premier League duties on Wednesday, 30 January (19:45 GMT) when Crystal Palace visit St. Mary's. Everton travel to Millwall in the fourth round of the FA Cup next Saturday, 26 January (17:30 GMT) before visiting Huddersfield in the Premier League on Tuesday, 29 January (19:45 GMT).
- 33TargettSubstituted forCédric Soaresat 35'minutes
- 22RedmondBooked at 67minsSubstituted forArmstrongat 86'minutes
- 9IngsSubstituted forLongat 74'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 2Cédric Soares
- 8André GomesSubstituted forCalvert-Lewinat 57'minutes
- 17GueyeBooked at 67mins
- 10G Sigurdsson
- 20BernardSubstituted forWalcottat 75'minutes
- 30RicharlisonSubstituted forTosunat 65'minutes
- Graham Scott
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Southampton 2, Everton 1.
Corner, Everton. Conceded by Yan Valery.
Shane Long (Southampton) is shown the yellow card.
Michael Keane (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Shane Long (Southampton).
Foul by Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton).
Shane Long (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Shane Long (Southampton) because of an injury.
Foul by Lucas Digne (Everton).
Shane Long (Southampton) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Goal! Southampton 2, Everton 1. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kurt Zouma.
Attempt blocked. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Lucas Digne (Everton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Southampton).
Attempt blocked. Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton) header from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by James Ward-Prowse with a cross.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Kurt Zouma (Everton) because of an injury.
Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Jordan Pickford.