Norwich City 2-1 Everton: Canaries move off the bottom of Premier League


Norwich City’s supporters started the chant. Then the Everton end joined in. Rafa Benitez discovered what it is like when an entire stadium think you’re getting sacked in the morning here.

If somehow that song didn’t register with the Spaniard then it was drilled home when a fed-up fan invaded the pitch from Carrow Road’s away section and charged towards him.

Stewards stopped the supporter before he could reach Benitez but the mood towards this manager is clear. They want him out of their club and, after this result, that might happen.

Norwich striker Adam Idah runs off in celebration after Everton defender Michael Keane put through his own net for 1-0 

Max Aarons and his team-mates celebrate their 16th-minute breakthrough as Keane put through his own net at Carrow Road

Max Aarons and his team-mates celebrate their 16th-minute breakthrough as Keane put through his own net at Carrow Road

It wasn’t just that Everton lost. It was how they lost. Even in the seven minutes of stoppage time, it was Norwich who looked the likelier to score next, striking the post with the game’s final kick.

Twenty per cent of Norwich’s goals this season were scored in this game against the terrible Toffees. They took a 2-0 lead in the first half, thanks to Michael Keane’s own goal and man-of-the-match Adam Idah’s cute finish after a counter-attack.

Richarlison’s excellent overhead kick gave Everton hope but they never truly followed up on the threat of an equaliser. It means Benitez’s side have now lost nine of their last 13 Premier League games.

Fans fear they aren’t above a relegation scrap with this coach in charge and they also took aim at the board, calling for their heads. It’s ugly at Everton right now.

Idah then stole in between Ben Godfrey and Jordan Pickford to double Norwich's lead just two minutes after their opener

Idah then stole in between Ben Godfrey and Jordan Pickford to double Norwich’s lead just two minutes after their opener 

Richarlison halved the deficit and brought Everton back into the contest with an overhead kick in the second period

Richarlison halved the deficit and brought Everton back into the contest with an overhead kick in the second period 

Richarlison wheels away in celebration after scoring a superb bicycle kick to bring the Toffees back into the contest

Richarlison wheels away in celebration after scoring a superb bicycle kick to bring the Toffees back into the contest

The relieved roar at full time told you what a vital win this was for Norwich, on the other hand. Finally, for the first time since December 3, they aren’t bottom. They believe.

‘The glass of red wine will taste a little sweeter tonight,’ Dean Smith said. ‘I’m really proud of the players because they gave it everything. We’ve had a few digs from all quarters of the country. It’s been unjustified, the criticism we’ve had. We’ve always had belief in the dressing room.’

After failing to score in any of their last six Premier League games, Smith decided to give Teemu Pukki some company up front. He placed Idah alongside him in the hope that they could trouble Ben Godfrey and Keane together, and that they did throughout.

In the 16th minute, Norwich had the lead. Joshua Sargent produced a low cross towards the six-yard box. It was troublesome but no Norwich players were in the vicinity to bury it.

Not to worry, because Keane’s decision to stick out a lazy leg was costly. He toe-poked the ball beyond Jordan Pickford at his near post and it was 1-0 to Norwich.

Abdoulaye Doucoure, Ben Godfrey and Jordan Pickford look glum after going 2-0 down to the side bottom of the table

Abdoulaye Doucoure, Ben Godfrey and Jordan Pickford look glum after going 2-0 down to the side bottom of the table

The hosts fancied scoring one for themselves and they did in the 18th minute. It started with Brandon Williams getting to the ball ahead of Anthony Gordon in his own half.

Williams then charged forward before playing a perfectly-timed diagonal pass inside for Idah, who beat Pickford for his first Premier League goal. A killer counter-attack and it was 2-0 to Norwich.

Funny how you wait for a first goal since November then two come along in 92 seconds.

Everton were making Norwich look like Brazil in those bright yellow shirts. It was midway through this first half that a fan escaped the away end and ran for Benitez, a steward in tow trying to catch him. He was stopped before he could reach the former Liverpool manager but the V signs he flicked while being shown the exit emphasised his point.

Everton manager Rafael Benitez looks shell-shocked on the sidelines after seeing his team fall two goals behind early on

Everton manager Rafael Benitez looks shell-shocked on the sidelines after seeing his team fall two goals behind early on

A fuming Everton pitch invader had to be removed from the pitch by stewards as they fell two goals down at Norwich

A fuming Everton pitch invader had to be removed from the pitch by stewards as they fell two goals down at Norwich

The fan invaded the pitch at Carrow Road and tried to reach manager Rafael Benitez in the away dug-out on the other side

The fan invaded the pitch at Carrow Road and tried to reach manager Rafael Benitez in the away dug-out on the other side

As half time approached, it felt strange that there had been no substitutions by Everton – no attempt at changing the complexion of what had been a depressing performance. Richarlison was on the bench, along with new signing Anwar El Ghazi.

Benitez didn’t make any changes at the break either.

Norwich could have made it 3-0 in the 51st minute when Vitali Mykolenko inexplicably tried to pass the ball back to Pickford, not realising Idah was there. But the Norwich forward couldn’t round the goalkeeper to truly make it goodnight Everton.

Instead it was 2-1 after an hour. Krul tried to punch clear a cross but was under pressure from Godfrey and Yerry Mina. The ball floated towards the penalty spot where Richarlison produced an outstanding overhead kick.

Norwich's Josh Sargent takes aim at goal as Yerry Mina and Abdoulaye Doucoure attempt to close him down

Norwich’s Josh Sargent takes aim at goal as Yerry Mina and Abdoulaye Doucoure attempt to close him down 

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford rises above Norwich striker Teemu Pukki to punch the ball clear under pressure

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford rises above Norwich striker Teemu Pukki to punch the ball clear under pressure

The finish was one worth admiring. Richarlison smacked the badge on his shirt towards the visiting supporters. Everton seemed back in this.

Both of Norwich’s full backs needed substituting as we entered the final 15 minutes. Brandon Williams because he could not stop getting cramp in his calf, and Max Aarons after kicking Richarlison while trying to clear the danger.

The hosts were the walking wounded and Everton tried to capitalise. Gordon had an opportunity to score when the goal seemed at his mercy but Dimitris Giannoulis blocked magnificently.

Seven minutes of stoppage time were not well received by Norwich’s nervous supporters. Yet Everton barely threatened to equalise. They were still passing it around at the back with very little sense of urgency rather than going route one.

With the last kick of the game, Norwich’s Milot Rashica hit the post. Referee Andy Madley blew his whistle, and it was defeat for Benitez. His last? Quite possibly.

Match facts and Ratings  

Norwich City (4-4-2): Krul 6.5; Aarons 7 (Giannoulis 80), Hanley 7, Gibson 7, Williams 8 (Byram 77); Sargent 8 (Tzolis 87), Lees-Melou 7, Sorensen 7; Rashica 7; Pukki 7.5, Idah 8.5 

Substitutes not used: Gunn (GK); Kabak, Dowell, Cantwell, Placheta, Rowe

Manager: Dean Smith 7

Scorers: Keane own goal 16; Idah 18 Booked: Sargent, Aarons, Pukki 

Everton (4-3-3): Pickford 6; Coleman 5.5 (Richarlison 54, 6), Keane 5, Godfrey 5.5, Mykolenko 5; Gordon 6, Doucoure 6, Gomes 6; Rondon 5 (Mina 54, 6), Calvert-Lewin 5, Gray 6 

Substitutes not used: Begovic (GK); Kenny, Patterson, Holgate, Townsend, Gbamin, El Ghazi

Manager: Rafael Benitez 5

Scorer: Richarlison 60 Booked: Keane

Referee: Andy Madley 6



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Everton's Demarai Gray (left) competes for the ball with Norwich City defender Max Aarons during Saturday's clash

Everton’s Demarai Gray (left) competes for the ball with Norwich City defender Max Aarons during Saturday’s clash

Anthony Gordon of Everton (left) fights for possession of the ball with Norwich City defender Brandon Williams

Anthony Gordon of Everton (left) fights for possession of the ball with Norwich City defender Brandon Williams 



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