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v Liverpool

Saturday 27 September K.O. 12:45

2

0

Goodison Park | 11th January 2014 15:00 | Attendance - 36827

Everton v Norwich City

Stunning goals from Gareth Barry and Kevin Mirallas helped Everton end their Norwich City hoodoo and move back among the Premier League's top four.

Playing in front of new signing Aiden McGeady - unveiled to the Goodison Park crowd just moments before kick off - the Blues dominated almost from start to finish and were full value for their first win over the Canaries since their promotion back to the top flight in 2011.

Five games against their visitors in that time had brought four draws, a defeat and no shortage of frustration.

But from the moment Barry bagged his 50th Premier League goal with a thumping left-foot strike on 23 minutes, it only ever seemed as though an 11th Everton victory of the campaign was on the cards.

Never inclined to rest on a lead, the Blues went hard in search of comfort and got it just before the hour mark as Mirallas curled in a sumptuous free-kick that left former Everton stopper John Ruddy an admiring bystander.

It would have made happy viewing for McGeady, with the ink still drying on his four-and-a-half year contract, a deal which made him Roberto Martinez's first incoming signing of the January window.

Aiden McGeadyNew signing Aiden McGeady was presented to the crowd ahead of kick off.

Ahead of the game, Martinez made six changes from the side that had thrashed QPR in the FA Cup, as attention returned to the race for European qualification.

Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka, injured for the visit of Harry Redknapp's Rangers, were both passed fit to return, though with no Ross Barkley on the teamsheet, Martinez was forced to admit the youngster had picked up a toe injury that could keep him sidelined for 'a while'.

One of the five to remain from seven days ago was the undroppable Seamus Coleman. The right-back was on the hunt for his fifth goal in seven matches and it was he who produced the afternoon's first attempt, albeit one that was comfortable for Ruddy to gather.

Romelu Lukaku was back in for Nikica Jelavic, with the Croatian at Hull City discussing terms ahead of a potential permanent transfer to the KC Stadium.

And the giant Belgian had a seemingly gift-wrapped opportunity to open the scoring at the back post on 11 minutes, only to head wide from Mirallas' teasing cross.

To say it was all Everton would be harsh on Chris Hughton's side though, and Tim Howard had to be alert soon after to thwart the in-form Gary Hooper after a long ball forward had found the striker unmarked in the box.

But the continued application of pressure eventually told and when the goal came it was in spectacular fashion; Barry collecting the ball from Lukaku, galloping forward and unleashing an unstoppable left-foot drive across the face of Ruddy's goal. It was some way to bring up a half century of top-flight strikes.

Gareth Barry lets fly with the opener.Gareth Barry lets fly with the opener.

Howard was again called to the fore when he tipped a curling Ricky van Wolfswinkel effort around the post to preserve Everton's lead, before Leon Osman bent one over the bar having found himself a yard just inside the box.

Yet it was Coleman who had the best chance to double the hosts' advantage before the break. He ultimately skied his shot at the back post; but then it comes to something when you're surprised your right-back hasn't scored.

The second half began with Jagielka firing wide of the mark and the impressive James McCarthy saw a rasping shot blocked before Mirallas miscued following an exchange of passes with Steven Pienaar.

But when Baines was brought down in a dangerous position two minutes shy of the hour mark, the Belgian was unflinchingly clinical.

The fans packed into the four sides of Goodison Park may have expected the fouled man to dust himself off and claim the free-kick his own. The angle, however, was suited to the right foot and Mirallas found the path that delivered the ball neatly into the top left corner.

Kevin MirallasKevin Mirallas is mobbed by his teammates.

Lukaku thought he had given Martinez's men extra breathing space when he forced his way past Ruddy six minutes later and tapped into an empty net, but an offside flag halted his celebrations.

Following that, Robert Snodgrass almost added some late nerves on 78 minutes, but the Scot saw his header from Nathan Redmond's cross graze a post and deflect away to safety. 

It left the Toffees to play out the game happy with what they had. They haven't always managed that against Norwich. There were no such frustrations here.


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