For photos from the match, scroll to ‘Photostream’ above left, while click on the statistics tab for the match stats. Manager reaction to follow
Sebastien Bassong headed a last-gasp equaliser as Norwich City snatched a 1-1 draw against Everton in their Barclays Premier League encounter at Goodison Park.
Everton had led when Steven Naismith swept in from close range after 12 minutes, but their top-four hopes were hit by a late free-kick, where Bassong headed past Tim Howard at the far post in the final minute. It was a fifth draw in seven games for David Moyes’ side but another encouraging result for Norwich after last week’s defeat of Manchester United.
Just two minutes had gone when Naismith played in Leon Osman and the England midfielder curled an effort narrowly wide of former Everton goalkeeper John Ruddy’s post. Phil Jagielka, captain in the absence of Phil Neville and playing right-back with Seamus Coleman also out, flicked in an excellent cross but Nikica Jelavic could not direct a header on target.
Everton’s superiority was rewarded when Naismith emphatically finished off a slick move. Bryan Oviedo burst down the left after being picked out by Thomas Hitzlsperger and Naismith crashed his low ball into the roof of the net from six yards. The home side could have doubled their lead as Steven Pienaar linked well with Hitzlsperger and Leighton Baines. The latter powered into the box and tested Ruddy with a fierce shot that he could only parry into Osman’s path but the follow-up attempt went over.
Norwich looked to Grant Holt to drag them back into the game and the captain was caught offside a couple of times as they attempted to play him through. That might have served as a warning and Everton had a let-off when Holt powered through challenges from John Heitinga and Sylvain Distin, only to slice his shot wide.
Everton responded as Osman clipped an effort straight at Ruddy and the goalkeeper also did well to smother the ball as Naismith threatened again. Another chance opened up for Osman as the first half drew to a close but again could only shoot at Ruddy. Norwich ended the half much better than they started it and had another chance when Bassong won a header at a corner but his effort was well wide.
The second half took time to get going. Norwich got an opportunity from a set-piece and Anthony Pilkington curled an effort over the wall but Howard saved. Distin, still forward after a free-kick, had a chance for Everton as Hitzlsperger delivered a deep ball into the box but his header did not trouble Ruddy.
Norwich went close to an equaliser as Wes Hoolahan put Robert Snodgrass through on goal but his shot beyond Howard was hooked off the line by Heitinga. Ruddy saved well to deny Baines a second Everton goal after the left-back had charged into the area and let fly with a fierce shot.
Naismith then slipped in Osman but he got caught in two minds between crossing and shooting and dragged the ball across goal and wide. Norwich suffered a blow eight minutes from time as Ruddy was forced off with an injury and manager Chris Hughton needed to turn to substitute Mark Bunn.
Everton paid for their missed chances as Norwich snatched an equaliser just as the fourth official held up his board to indicate four minutes of stoppage time. Javier Garrido curled in a free-kick from the right that dipped over several heads before landing perfectly for Bassong to power a header on target.
Everton manager David Moyes: “We played well for the first 25, 30 minutes and controlled the game. But give Norwich credit, they grew into it. We managed to get through a spell of pressure from them at the start if the second half and were probably more likely to go on and make it 2-0 rather than them equalising. But they did and we only came away with a point.
"Norwich have had some good results. It was always going to be tight. Norwich have been playing well and I never thought we would win it comfortably. We were chasing it and we didn't have an awful lot to chase it with.
"They are the facts. I hoped he [Naismith] would come here and get six, eight goals. That would be a decent contribution. He's now beginning to get a few goals, so good on him."
Norwich City manager Chris Hughton: "Over the 90 minutes we had a long time to get back in the game. From our standards of late, we conceded a very soft goal and in that first half we didn't keep the ball well enough.
"Everton were the better team over that first 45 minutes. But when you are 1-0 down, you have to chase it and ask a little bit more of the players. I think we got that. We responded really well. We showed great character. I don't think there was masses in it. It was quite a tight affair.
"We won't know until tomorrow [aboupt John Ruddy’s injury]. Hopefully he came off at the right time. I certainly had to make sure I brought him off."
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