Everton 1 Norwich 1: Bassong salvages draw in final moments to scupper Toffees win
17:27 GMT, 24 November 2012
Sebastien Bassong headed a last-gasp equaliser as Norwich snatched a point from a bruising Barclays Premier League encounter at Goodison Park.
Everton had started superbly and deservedly led when Steven Naismith swept in from close range after 12 minutes.
But the Toffees' top-four hopes were again undermined as they switched off at a late free-kick and Bassong headed past Howard at the far post in the final minute.
Spoiler alerts: Sebastien Bassong headed home from a Javier Garrido free-kick in the dying moments to steal a draw
One up: Steven Naismith (right) celebrates after opening the scoring
Everton: Howard, Baines, Heitinga, Jagielka, Distin, Oviedo, Hitzlsperger, Osman, Pienaar, Jelavic, Naismith (Vellios 90)
Subs not used: Mucha, Hibbert, Duffy, Barkley, Kennedy, Gueye
Goal: Naismith 12
Norwich City: Ruddy (Bunn 82), Whittaker, Bassong, Garrido, R Bennett, Johnson, Pilkington, Hoolahan (Morison 75), Tettey, Snodgrass (Jackson 89), Holt
Subs not used: Barnett, Tierney, Howson, E Bennett
Booked: Johnson, Garrido, Tettey
Goal: Bassong 90
Referee: Mike Jones
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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.
After their frustrating recent results, Everton had appeared to mean business from the outset.
Just two minutes had gone when
Naismith played in Leon Osman and the recently-capped England midfielder
curled an effort narrowly wide of former Everton goalkeeper John
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 early superiority was rewarded when Naismith emphatically finished off a slick move.
Bryan Oviedo burst down the left after
being picked out by a fine ball from Thomas Hitzlsperger and Naismith
crashed his low ball into the roof of the net from six yards.
Everton could have doubled their lead
as Steven Pienaar, apparently on the right but roving across the field,
linked well with Hitzlsperger and Leighton Baines.
What a run! Bassong's header meant that Norwich have now gone six games unbeaten
In it goes: John Ruddy is no way near Naismith's shot as it flies in
Maestro: Steven Pienaar teases Javier Garrido in front of the home crowd
Baines powered into the box and tested
Ruddy with a fierce shot which he could only parry into Osman's path,
but the follow-up attempt went over.
Everton appealed for a penalty when Alexander Tettey slid in on Naismith but referee Mike Jones showed little interest.
Norwich looked to inspirational
forward Grant Holt to drag them back into the game and the Canaries
captain was caught offside a couple of times as they attempted to play
That might have served as a warning
and the Toffees had a let-off when Holt powered through challenges from
central defenders John Heitinga and Sylvain Distin, only to slice his
Everton responded as Osman clipped an
effort straight at Ruddy and the keeper 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 some while to get
going and it was a good 10 minutes before Everton produced a move of
note, and then Naismith strayed offside.
No cigar: Nikica Jelavic aims a shot at goal
Catch me if you can: Leon Osman weaves his way past Bradley Johnson (right)
Norwich got an opportunity from a
set-piece after a foul by Heitinga and Anthony Pilkington curled a good
effort over the wall but Howard saved comfortably enough.
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.
Everton were annoyed when Jelavic's shot from a corner appeared to be deflected behind but Jones awarded Norwich a goalkick.
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 the backtracking Heitinga.
Ruddy saved well to deny Baines a
second Everton goal after the Toffees left-back had charged into the
area and let fly with a fierce shot.
Good luck! David Moyes (left) and Chris Hughton (right) greeted each other warmly
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 then suffered a blow eight
minutes from time as Ruddy was forced off with an injury and manager
Chris Hughton needed to turn to substitute keeper Mark Bunn.
Dead-ball specialist Baines may have
fancied his chances of killing Norwich off as he lined up a free-kick on
the right with three minutes remaining.
Faded: Everton's exceptional start quickly petered out
Tettey blocked but was booked for encroaching and Baines fired a second attempt narrowly over.
Everton paid for their missed chances
as the Canaries 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 which dipped over several heads before landing perfectly
for Bassong to power a header on target.
Howard, who might also have done better for the cross, failed to get his body in the way and Norwich held on to claim a point.
Dogged: Robert Snodgrass is pursued by Leighton Baines