Premier League: Everton climb the standings with comfortable victory over Norwich
Last Updated: 11/01/14 7:09pm
Gareth Barry: Put Everton on their way to win over Norwich
Spectacular strikes from Gareth Barry and Kevin Mirallas saw Everton to a 2-0 win over Norwich City and a standing back inside the Premier League's top four.
Worryingly for Chris Hughton, the Canaries offered little as an attacking force at Goodison Park and continue to glance anxiously over their shoulder at the basement battle.
They could, however, do little about the goals which condemned them to an 11th defeat of the campaign - the first of which, on 23 minutes, saw Barry allowed to drift towards the penalty area before unleashing a 20-yard thunderbolt into the top corner.
Best of the Match:
- Man of the match: Gareth Barry. Scored a wonderful opener and kept Everton ticking over.
- Goal of the match: Norwich afforded Barry far too much room as he swept forward, but he could not have hit his strike any better.
- Moment of the match: Robert Snodgrass saw a second-half header clip the post, with it clear that it was not going to be Norwich's day.
- Talking point: Can Everton finish inside the UEFA Champions League places? Have Norwich got enough to beat the drop?
Everton doubled their lead just before the hour mark when Mirallas stood over a free-kick on the edge of the box and expertly lifted the ball up, over the wall and past the despairing dive of John Ruddy.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez may have concerns about how his side's concentration wandered towards the end but victory wrapped up a fine day for the Toffees.
It began with them completing the signing of former Celtic winger Aiden McGeady from Spartak Moscow and ended with them climbing back above Liverpool into the Champions League positions.
McGeady was paraded on the pitch prior to kick-off and the positive atmosphere on a day already dedicated to junior fans put a spring in Everton's step.
On the field, Romelu Lukaku drove forward early on and shot wide before glancing a header the wrong side of the post.
Tim Howard came out to deny Gary Hooper as Norwich struggled to make inroads and Mirallas saw a long-range effort deflected over.
Leighton Baines also missed the target from distance but there was no denying Barry as he struck from 20 yards.
The on-loan Manchester City midfielder was given space to take aim as he pushed forward and he sent a powerful shot swerving into the top corner beyond Ruddy.
Norwich almost responded quickly as Ricky van Wolfswinkel, making his first league start since October, raced through and combined with Robert Snodgrass, but Howard produced a fine save to deny the Dutchman.
It proved a rare attack for the Canaries as Everton lifted the tempo, with Leon Osman earning applause from Martinez as he chased back to win possession.
That sparked another break but Seamus Coleman was unable to drive home his sixth goal in 10 games when the ball made it way to him inside the box.
Barry got into shooting range again but this time the ball was fed to Osman, whose effort was deflected behind.
The pace eased off at the start of second period but Everton's superiority was not diminished and it seemed only a matter of time before they increased their lead.
James McCarthy took aim from outside the area after being teed up by Mirallas but it was deflected for another corner.
Norwich did muster a chance for Van Wolfswinkel but he blazed well over.
The second goal arrived just before the hour after a driving run by Baines was crudely halted by Ryan Bennett on the edge of the area.
Mirallas was given the honours and curled a fine shot over the wall that beat Ruddy at his near post.
Lukaku thought he had added a third soon after sweeping past Ruddy and bundling the ball in from a tight angle but the flag had long been raised for offside.
The Canaries struggled to gain any meaningful possession but substitute Nathan Redmond gave them a flash of hope when he beat Coleman on the left and forced Howard to save with his feet.
Encouraged, Bradley Johnson then drove forward to lash one into the side-netting.
Norwich appeared to be growing in confidence and Snodgrass saw a header rebound off the post from a Redmond cross, but it proved the last meaningful opportunity as Everton dug in to secure three points.
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Everton v Norwich
Phil Jagielka believes the strength in depth of the squad is a key factor in Everton's challenge for a top four place.
Phil Jagielka says Everton's win was most pleasing, as it showed the depth of quality they have in the squad this season.
Tim Howard says Roberto Martinez has brought creativity and flair to Everton, without losing the hard working core of the team.