It proved to be a frustrating afternoon for the blue half of Merseyside as the hosts failed to break down the stubborn Canaries despite dominating the game from start to finish. After failing to keep a clean sheet all season Paul Lambert’s side were only nine minutes away from recording their first shut out of the season before Osman’s deft finish found a way past John Ruddy to break Norwich hearts. They looked on course for a rare away win following Grant Holt’s third goal in two games just before the half hour mark but will consider themselves lucky after being forced to defend for much of the games as the Toffees threw everything at them in search of victory. Moyes’ side had lost their last two games without scoring and it looked like they would have to endure another strike out before the last gasp equaliser.
Supporters will be unhappy that their side’s weaknesses in front of goal cost them dearly once again with Marouane Fellaini seeing his toe poke from Tim Cahill’s knock down saved by Ruddy. Osman then saw his strike headed away by Russell Martin before Magaye Gueye volleyed wide and Cahill tried his luck with a tame effort. Chances were coming and going for the home side and they should have had the game wrapped up before Holt opened the scoring for the Canaries. The bruising striker scored twice against Newcastle again and found the net again showing great strength and composure to swivel on Steve Morison’s knockdown to power the ball home from inside the six-yard box via the far post. His afternoon should have ended soon after he appeared to elbow Fellaini in the face following an aerial challenge with referee Lee Probert deciding to keep his cards in his pocket.
Everton were clearly rattled after going behind with Moyes deciding to send Louis Saha on for the second half and the Frenchman almost made an instant impact playing in Osman who saw his shot tipped wide by Ruddy. He then forced the Norwich keeper into a superb instinctive block after latching onto Denis Stracqualursi’s flick. Ruddy then almost cost his team rashly coming off his line allowing Saha to clip the ball towards goal only for Martin to clear it to safety. With time running out it looked as if an equaliser would never come with the away side not giving the Toffee’s a sniff. However they were finally breached with nine minutes left on the clock as Osman improvised to cleverly flick Royston Drenthes free kick into the net to lift the doom and gloom that was seeping in around Goodison Park. Drenthe then tested Ruddy twice before Stracqualursi was denied the chance to write his name in lights by a Martin who produced a goal saving tackle to thwart the striker as he closed in on goal.