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Premier League

  • 17 December 2011
  • • 15:00
  • • Goodison Park, Liverpool
  • Referee: L. Probert
  • • Attendance: 31004

Everton 1-1 Norwich City: Late Leon Osman equaliser halts Toffees’ losing run after Grant Holt opener

Everton 1-1 Norwich City: Late Leon Osman equaliser halts Toffees’ losing run after Grant Holt opener

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David Moyes' side avoided a third consecutive defeat by coming from behind against Paul Lambert's side, following great work from Royston Drenthe

Everton and Norwich played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Goodison Park on Saturday, with the hosts remaining three points behind their visitors in the Premier League standings.

A clever Grant Holt turn and finish put the visitors ahead in the first half before substitute Royston Drenthe’s shot, after a brilliant run, was diverted in by Leon Osman.

David Moyes made two changes to the side which suffered defeat at the Emirates, bringing in Leon Osman for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and handing Magaye Gueye a first league start as Seamus Coleman dropped out.

Paul Lambert kept faith in the Norwich side which comfortably beat Newcastle United at Carrow Road last weekend, meaning that strike partners Steve Morison and Holt continued in attack after both getting on the scoresheet against Alan Pardew's side.

A cagey start from both sides saw few chances created with defences firmly on top. Morison perhaps enjoyed the best of either side’s opportunities as he drove over from range with the ball breaking at the edge of the box.

Tim Cahill then almost provided the breakthrough after his clever first time pass to Marouane Fellaini, but the Belgian was just unable to poke home beyond the oncoming goalkeeper John Ruddy.

The Blues went on to dominate the opening exchanges with Cahill again unfortunate not to end his scoring drought after toeing beyond the post following a sumptuous spell of football from the hosts.

Norwich struggled to put their stamp on the game throughout the first half with long balls to Holt and Morison seemingly their only reprieve from Everton pressure.

Therefore, it was something of a surprise when the visitors took the lead entirely against the run of play.  A ball into the box was held up by Holt, before the forward managed to fight off Johnny Heitinga sufficiently to turn and slide the ball beyond Howard.

         Norwich Holted | Osman's late equaliser cancelled out Canaries' captain's opener

That goal had been Norwich’s first shot on target of the afternoon and gave them the opportunity to slow the play down to prevent an Everton backlash.

They almost piled further woe on Moyes’ side just moments later as a Phil Neville slip allowed Wes Hoolahan in on goal but the midfielder unwisely chose to cross when the angle to shoot was available and saw the ball bundled away.

A scrap between goalscorer Holt and Everton’s Fellaini almost threatened to see the teams end the half with 10 men but referee Lee Probert sensibly kept his cards in his pocket to ensure the full 22 returned after the break.

The second half started in much the same vain as Everton dominated possession but failed to find the final ball.

Leighton Baines looked to have worked a great position after a clever exchange with Louis Saha but was flagged offside with Fellaini waiting for the tap in.

Cahill then had his best chance of the game after Baines’ powerful cross, but could not direct his header goalward.

Norwich then served to remind the hosts of their threat on the break after Kyle Naughton’s cross-field pass allowed Holt to nod at goal, only to see his effort loop over the crossbar and bring a gasp of exasperation from the travelling support.

The lack of bodies in the box clearly troubled Toffees manager Moyes and led to the Scot introducing Denis Stracqualursi in place of the ineffective Cahill.

Though the forward did little to bring the hosts' attack to life, it was the addition of fellow substitute Drenthe which eventually reinvigorated the home side.

The Dutchman’s direct running presented an opportunity for Saha to shoot but the Frenchman’s shot was brilliantly blocked by the impressive Ruddy.

And it was Drenthe's run that created the goal to draw the scores level. Cutting in brilliantly from the right, the forward let fly before Osman got a clever touch on the ball to see it beyond a despairing Ruddy.

Everton subsequently pushed hard for a winner and it was Drenthe again whose shot from distant brought a fantastic reflex save from Ruddy which deserved a share of the points.

And so it was to prove as the Canaries held out for a hard-fought share of the spoils.

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