Everton, Norwich share spoils
E Everton were made to rue their wastefulness in front of goal as Norwich rallied from behind to claim a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road in Norwich yesterday.
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku fired the visitors ahead early on in the game and could easily have added another three or four to his tally in a one-sided first half.
However, Norwich restored parity just two minutes after the half-time interval and very nearly snatched all three points in an entertaining second stanza.
Much of the prematch talk about this Premier League clash focused on the goal-scoring form of Lukaku, who had scored in all of his side’s last five league fixtures.
The Belgium international started brightly and went close to firing his side in front after only 13 minutes of play, but dragged his shot wide of the mark from just inside the area.
However, he was not to be denied two minutes later, as he rose above his marker in the centre of the penalty area to head home from Gerard Deulofeu’s inviting cross.
Everton should have been two goals to the good a few minutes later, but Arouna Koné saw his goal-bound effort blocked by goalkeeper Declan Rudd, who had quickly rushed off his line to snuff out the danger.
Norwich were struggling to contain the threat of the Toffees as the first half wore on, with Roberto Martinez’s men looking dangerous every time they broke forward at pace.
Despite showing a clinical touch in front goal early on, Lukaku was guilty of wasting a number of guiltedged chances in the latter stages of the first half.
The Belgian contrived to fire wide from close range after latching on to Tom Cleverley’s deflected cross, and it would be no exaggeration to suggest Lukaku should have, at the very least, netted a first-half hat-trick as he squandered chance after chance.
Everton finished the first stanza with a flurry of clear-cut chances, but could not find a way past Rudd. The fit-again Leighton Baines struck the right-hand post, while Koné and Lukaku both went close to scoring in one-on-one situations.
Rudd’s heroics were most certainly not in vain as Norwich went on to level the scores just two minutes into the second half.
Following a chaotic goalmouth scramble, Ross Barkley blocked Ryan Bennett’s header on the line, but the ball fell kindly to Wes Hoolahan, who managed to force the ball home from a couple of yards out.
The equaliser silenced the visiting supporters, who had seen their side dominate proceedings for much of the match, while it also gave Alex Neil’s men a newfound belief.
What followed was a remarkable swing in momentum as Norwich piled forward with a renewed vigour and purpose.
The Canaries really should have gone in front in the 71st minute, but striker Cameron Jerome inexplicably failed to hit the target from a few yards out after being teed up by Hoolahan’s back-heel pass.
Everton could not find a way past a committed Norwich defence, as evidenced by Argentinian defender Ramiro Funes Mori’s wayward effort from all of 30 metres on 83 minutes.
Norwich also tried their luck from range at the death, but Jonny Howson’s effort was a little bit too high, while at the opposite end of the pitch, Darron Gibson fired over with a right-footed shot from outside the box.
– TEAMtalk Media