Norwich City 2 Everton 1
Report of match 23rd February 2013
Reporter Mark Burchett
Everton came unstuck at Carrow Road!
The Canaries came from behind to record not only their first Premier League win of 2013 but the first since the 15th December last year!
They scored twice within the last ten minutes to overcome a dogged Everton side that at one-nil ahead away from home had looked comfortable. Leon Osman headed David Moy's side ahead six minutes before the break and that's the way the scoreline stayed until the 84th minute, when substitute Kai Kamara headed in the equaliser to set up a grandstand finish!
And just when you thought that Chris Hughton's side had left it too late, Grant Holt nodded the ball home to send the home fans away delirious!
The City boss had changed his tactics and began with two strikers up front with Luciano Becchio keeping his place alongside the returning Grant Holt. And it was his side that carved out the first opportunity, with midfield dynamo Robert Snodgrass seeing his goal bound shot blocked by Silvain Distin for a corner.
In the next minute it was the visitors forcing Mark Bunn into making a save from Nikica Jelavic and this set the tactical tone for the remainder of the half that was like a chess match.
Jelavic as well as Marouane Fellaini continued to probe the City defence but kept coming up against the imperious pairing of Sebastian Bassong and Michael Turner. While for the Canaries Becchio justified his start winning flick on's for Holt, who was a constant threat keeping the veteran keeper Tim Howard busy.
It remained a fairly even half until the Toffees just edged it getting the all important goal. It was one rare lapse of concentration in the home defence that allowed Osman to beat Bunn from close-range, heading in Leyton Baines free-kick.
HALF-TIME: City 0 Everton 1
The second half showed no sign of being any different with each side canceling each other out. And unusually for the City boss, he grasped the situation and made what proved to be a decisive early substitution after just 58 minutes.
He withdrew Becchio, who despite stepping up to the Premier League from Championship Leeds United in the January transfer window, is not looking out of his depth and had played his part in keeping City in the game.
And replaced him with another January acquisition Sierra Leone International Kamara, who had so far only played just five minutes against Fulham in their last home game. Although the impact he made then, meant his introduction suddenly increased the expectation levels within Carrow Road! And it took him just two minutes to get a shot on target that forced Howard into a save.
The pendulum had swung in favour of the Canaries, with Everton now struggling to get over the half-way line. Kamara had another effort on goal, this time a header that went fractionally wide.
Hughton then added to his sides momentum by replacing the tiring Wes Hoolahan with out and out winger Anthony Pilkington, who still had just under 20 minutes to make his impact and helping push back Everton still further.
His foraging run down the wing in the 84th minute and subsequent cross was deflected out for a corner. This signaled the moment that Kamara became an instant Canary hero when he produced a bullet hero to bury Snodgrass's delivery.
This dramatically lifted the atmosphere in Carrow Road, with the home fans believing their side could get a second to win the game. The players weren't sitting back either, sensing that Everton were buckling under their pressure.
Holt went very close in the first minute of extra time and the Toffees somehow managed to force it out for another corner for the home side.
But in dying seconds of the game he re-discovered the scoring touch that's eluded him since 8th December in the 4-3 victory at Swansea. Russell Martin's deep cross was headed on by Bassong and there was the City captain to complete a remarkable comeback, giving his side the three valuable points.
Although the majority of the results at the bottom of the table went the Canaries way, with Wigan thumping Reading 3-0, had City lost they would have been just 5 points above the relegation zone. This is probably the result that will set City on their way to securing their Premiership status in the infamous second season after promotion from the Championship.
The whole of the Norwich City squad couldn't have had a better lift before their next game at Old Trafford, which now does not look as tough a game as it did a few hours ago.
FULL-TIME: City 2 Everton 1
2 R Martin
|18 Garrido||23 Coleman|
|22 Pienaar **|
|14 Hoolahan **||25 Fellaini|
|07 Jelavic *|
|19 Beccio *||14 Naismith|
|3 Whittaker||05 Heitinga|
24 R Bennett
|12 Pilkington ** 73||34 Duffy|
|08 Oviedo ** 86|
17 E Bennett
16 Kamara *58
|11 Mirallas * 78|
City: Kamara (84); Holt (90+3)
Everton: Osman (39)
City: Holt (54);
Everton: Baines (43)
Mr Lee Mason