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18:29 7th April 2012


BATTLING City twice fought back from behind at Carrow Road to earn a 2-2 draw against Everton and another point which takes their Barclays Premier League haul to 40.

Everton took the lead through Nikica Jelavic before Jonny Howson equalised with his first goal for the Club during a tense first half.

But in a pulsating second period there was action at both ends in an absorbing encounter, with Everton edging back in front through Jelavic with his second of the match.

The Canaries refused to be beaten though and equalised when great work from substitute Aaron Wilbraham saw him set up Grant Holt for his 13th Premier League goal of the season.

After the game City boss Paul Lambert told Canaries Player: "We were brilliant. I was just saying to the lads that I've been here for three years and that was as good a performance as I've seen from us.

"After the first ten minutes I thought we were absolutely excellent, and we were up against a top side, who have an absolutely brilliant manager, and some brilliant players.

"We had to be bang on it to get anything, but the way we played was outstanding."

City made three changes from last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Fulham, with Grant Holt returning after his one-match suspension, Adam Drury replacing Kyle Naughton and Elliott Bennett coming into midfield as Lambert opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation.

Everton got the game underway and carved out the first half-chance of the match, Gibson firing wide with a half-volley from the edge of the area in the third minute.

It provied to be a rare opportunity in a cagey opening 20 minutes in which both sides struggled to find the cutting edge required to make the 'keepers work.

But in the 21st minute one team did find the incisiveness required - unfortunately from a Canary perspective it was the visitors Everton.

A free kick led to a slick passing move around the edge of the Norwich box which eventually ended when Jagielka squared for Jelavic to coolly slot the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

City tried to respond and a couple of minutes later Leighton Baines was booked for bringing down Elliott Bennett in full flight as the Norwich winger threatened down the right flank.

As the half progressed the Canaries finally began to get more into their stride and apply more pressure on the visiting defence, with Wes Hoolahan and Andrew Surman busy in midfield.

In the 36th minute Surman had City's first shot in anger from open play, drilling a low effort narrowly wide from 22 yards.

It was a robust response to going behind from Norwich and when they eventually equalised in the 39th minute it was with a move equal in quality to that which brought about Everton's opener.

Surman did well to pick out Drury in space on the left and when he played the ball into the area for Hoolahan, and the Irishman's excellent square ball was tapped home from close range by Howson.

Shortly afterwards Baines - already on a yellow card - was a relieved man when referee Andre Marriner decided a quick talking-to was all that was required after a clumsy foul by the Everton left-back on Fox.

Two half-shouts for penalties by the Canaries, one as Elliott Bennett went down under pressure in the box and the other as a Surman shot appeared to strike the hand of Jagielka, were both waved away by Mr. Marriner as the half came to a close.

Norwich City 1, Everton 1

The Toffees made one change at half-time, with Seamus Coleman coming on for Magaye Gueye.

In the 52nd minute Jelavic found some space on the left of City's box and fired in a dangerous low ball across the six-yard box - but Drury was alert to the danger and slid in to turn it behind for a corner.

Three minutes later a stinging drive from Howson was parried by Howard and the Everton 'keeper did well to react quickly and kick the loose ball away quickly as Holt threatened to pounce on the rebound.

Pienaar became Everton's second booking when he was cautioned for a foul on Howson and in City's next attack the ball fell to Hoolahan and his volley was scrambled away by a combination of Howard and his defenders.

But just as City threatened to really take the ascendancy they fell behind again following a hotly-debated moment. Pienaar had the ball trapped under his legs on the ground and several City players were convinced the referee should have penalised him as they were unable to get at the ball - but while they were distracted to that and in the absence of any whistle, Everton played on and Jelavic slotted home an easy finish.

In the 65th minute Fellaini was booked for a foul on Howson and City made their first change of the afternoon, Wilbraham replacing Fox.

On 74 minutes City were awarded a free-kick when Cahill handballed right on the edge of the area and Holt's place-kick was deflected over the bar.

But two minutes later they were back on level terms with a goal scored by Holt but for which substitute Wilbraham deserves massive credit. It was Wilbraham's initial shot which was parried by Howard but the big striker refused to give up on the cause, holding off the Everton defenders and squaring for Holt to slide the ball home.

As the game entered a frantic final few minutes Elliott Ward made a brilliant sliding intervention to deny Victor Anichebe as the Everton sub threatened to score in the 87th minute.

Final score:
Norwich City 2, Everton 2

Norwich City:
Ruddy, Martin, Drury (Naughton 76), Holt (c), Surman, Hoolahan (Crofts 90), Fox (Wilbraham 65), E.Bennett, Ward, Howson, Bennett. Subs not used: Steer, Johnson, Morison, Jackson.
Howard, Hibbert, Baines, Gibson, Jagielka, Jelavic, Distin, Cahill (Anichebe 80), Neville (c) (Fellaini 56), Gueye (Coleman 46). Pienaar. Subs not used: Mucha, Heitinga, Stracqualursi, McFadden.

Andre Marriner


    Data provided by Press Association


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