Southampton moved out of the relegation places on goal difference after drawing one-all with Everton.
Nathan Redmond’s second half header looked to have given Saints a vital and deserved win in their quest to survive in the Premier League, until a sickening late equaliser from Tom Davies spoiled their day.
Mark Hughes was apoplectic following the goal, which arrived in the 96th minute when only four had been allotted by the referee John Moss. The ball passed through the middle of the pitch - when referees usually see fit to end matches - on several occasions.
Similarly, Moss blew for a Redmond foul despite being some thirty yards away from the incident, which looked to have been a perfectly decent tackle. The assistant referee - who was just a few yards from the incident - did not signal for a foul.
Everton restarted the game some distance away from where the supposed foul was awarded and scored via a deflected shot off Wesley Hoedt. Ryan Bertrand chased down a ball bound for the touchline and a Toffee’s throw-in, and should have blasted the ball away but instead fed the ball back to Everton and Davies via Idrissa Gueye. Davies hit a shot from the edge of the box that took a huge deflection resulting in the most undeserved equaliser.
Maya Yoshida saw red for a second bookable offence on Oumar Niasse in the 85th minute, and Alex McCarthy made an excellent save off Leighton Baines’ curling free kick .
Despite a dour first half, Southampton approached the game in the right attitude and took the game to Everton. First half chances for Charlie Austin and Oriol Romeu were comfortably saved by Jordan Pickford.
Half time arrived to jeers by the Everton faithful, and Mario Lemina left the field through injury. His replacement Nathan Redmond nodded in the opener and was excellent after being introduced, attacking down the left wing and looking lively.
The goal arrived following Dusan Tadic’s excellent play opened Everton up and freed Cerdic Soares down the right wing, whose cross found Redmond at the back post. The English forward headed the ball down and through Pickford’s legs to give his side a deserved lead.
The Toffees improved as the game wore on, but Southampton dug in well and nearly doubled the lead when Phil Jakielka nearly headed Bertrand’s cross into his own net.
Yet it was to be Saints who conceded an unlucky goal late on, for which referee Moss should be ashamed for allowing to happen with three erroneous decisions late on: not blowing the final whistle despite ample chance to do so, overruling his linesman and awarding a foul for Redmond’s fair challenge and then allowing Everton to take the free kick in a totally different position to where it should have been.
The deflection off Hoedt was huge, and sets up a relegation decider against Swansea on Tuesday evening. Win that and Saints should beat the drop, with West Brom now alive again and in with a chance of taking it to the final day of the season should there be a draw at the Liberty Stadium.
Mark Hughes has turned Saints around, setting them up to play effective football and Saints looked solid here until the final seconds of the game. If he keeps Saints up then he deserves huge credit for picking up a squad whose confidence was on the floor following two years of regressive and uninspiring leadership.
Roll on Tuesday...
Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Jagielka (Klaassen 80), Keane, Baines (c); Gueye, Schneiderlin; Davies, Bolasie (Funes-Mori 45), Vlasic (Niasse 58); Tosun.
Subs: Robles, Martina, Kenny, Funes-Mori, Baningime, Klaassen, Niasse.
Saints: McCarthy; Cédric, Yoshida, Hoedt, Bednarek, Bertrand (c); Romeu, Højbjerg, Lemina (Redmond 45); Tadić (Ward-Prowse 70), Austin (Long 76).
Subs: Forster, Stephens, McQueen, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Long, Gabbiadini.