Premier League: Everton 1 Norwich City 1
By Football News
Sebastien Bassong struck late to secure Norwich a 1-1 draw at Everton, who led following Steven Naismith's early opener.
Hosts Everton struck after 11 minutes at Goodison Park following good work from Bryan Oviedo on the left wing, the Costa Rican feeding Naismith for a close-range finish.
The visitors pushed for an equaliser in the second half and were rewarded as Bassong powered in a header off the bar with a minute to go following a controversial free kick.
Everton started the stronger of the two sides and Leon Osman nearly opened the scoring after 70 seconds, sending a left-footed curling effort just wide of John Ruddy's right-hand post.
Oviedo was handed a start on the left and rewarded manager David Moyes' faith by setting up Naismith for the opener. A high through-ball saw Steven Whittaker badly caught out, as Ovideo skipped into the area before slipping the ball across goal where the Scotland international slammed home from seven yards.
Leighton Baines provided a constant threat down the left for the hosts and Steven Pienaar teed up the left-back for a low drive which brought a fine one-handed stop from Ruddy, with Osman only able to volley the rebound over.
Controversy followed soon after as Naismith went down in the Norwich penalty area under a challenge from Alex Tettey. Referee Mike Jones waved the penalty claims away, and replays showed the midfielder won the ball cleanly.
Norwich could, however, have been level after 24 minutes when Grant Holt surged past three challenges, but the English forward could only shank his left-footed effort wide of Tim Howard's right-hand post with the goal at his mercy.
Bassong wasted a great chance to level after 40 minutes, heading an in-swinging corner wide from six yards.
Norwich started the second half confidently, and Anthony Pilkington tested Tim Howard for the first time with a curling 25-yard free kick forcing the American into a scrambling block.
John Heitinga denied Robert Snodgrass an equaliser by brilliantly clearing the winger's goal-bound finish off the line after 68 minutes as Norwich continued to press.
Baines continued his exceptional form by driving forward and bringing another good stop from Ruddy from 20 yards, and the goalkeeper was forced off with an injury with Mark Bunn playing the last 10 minutes.
Pilkington brought a fine stop from Howard with six minutes remaining, but Bassong snatched a point for Norwich by forcing a header home after 89 minutes - although Moyes will surely dispute the nature of the free kick which led to the late leveller.