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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Hamish Dufton @efchamishdufton

While Everton’s England trio toiled against Chile at Wembley, Tim Howard’s heroics helped the USMNT to a 0-0 draw with Steven Naismith’s Scotland at Hampden.

The fixture was a far cry from the 5-1 rout the last time the Scots faced Jurgen Kilnsmann’s side and, had it not been for skipper-for-the-night Howard, they could have been toasting an impressive victory over a side who are heading for Brazil in the summer.

Under Gordan Strachan, Scotland are a team reborn but on this occasion, Blues winger Naismith had to make do with a brief cameo off the bench.

Norwich City’s Robert Snodgrass took the wide right berth and it was he who struck the free-kick that was heading for the top corner before a full stretch Howard intervened.

It was a pleasing moment for the Toffees custodian, who admitted he was fully aware of the ex-Leeds man’s ability from set pieces.

“I saw it early and that was the good thing for me,” he said. “I know how good Snodgrass is and how talented he is, particularly from dead ball situations.

"If it had gone in, it would have found the top corner."

The save helped preserve a clean sheet and result Howard says was about right between two evenly matches sides.

“I thought a draw was a fair result,” he added. “We knew it would be different [to the 5-1 win]. Last time wasn’t a reflection of how good Scotland can be.

“With a new manager they were more resilient, with all the players fighting for positions.

“I thought when they were out of possession they pressed the ball well. They were good at trying to hit us on the counter.

“It was an even game and both teams cancelled each other a bit."

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