Ferguson decides thriller
By Patrick Goss. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
A goal from Duncan Ferguson handed Everton a tight 3-2 win over Norwich - a game in which The Toffees had relinquished a two-goal half time lead.
A rollercoaster match had seen Everton look firmly in control and move two goals ahead courtesy of Kevin Kilbane and Marcus Bent, but Norwich race out of the blocks in the second half and draw level through Leon McKenzie and Damien Francis.
But having done superbly to get themselves back in the game Norwich crucially lost concentration to allow Ferguson to head home a winner, to the relief of manager David Moyes.
It had all seemed so different in the first half when a confident looking Everton side built a convincing lead as Norwich missed their best opportunities.
Leon Osman had an early drive at goal whilst at the other end the lively McKenzie saw a shot deflected over for the corner.
But it was Everton that took an early lead through the quality of the impressive Tim Cahill.
The Australian star cantered into the box, knocked the ball past a defender then picked out Kilbane at the far post.
The Irish international smashed into the back of the net, but it was Cahill that rightly received the plaudits of his team-mates.
Cahill nearly turned from provider to scorer four minutes later when he headed over and Francis failed to find the target with a shot at the other end.
Bent - booed through out as a former Ipswich player - was unlucky when his far post header hit a defender as it looked to be destined for the top corner and Darren Huckerby could not get a touch to an enticing ball across goal.
Francis missed an even better chance to the increasing frustration of the crowd when he failed to hit the target when Huckerby's cross found him perfectly six yards out and it proved costly as Everton added a deserved second.
It was a fine move that doubled the advantage, Cahill played in Thomas Gravesen, who laid on the perfect pass for Bent to race onto and slot neatly inside the far post across the onrushing Robert Green.
Everton's travelling fans must have spent half time wondering how football has suddenly become so much easier, but their day dreams were soon shattered by a resurgent Norwich.
Just two minutes into the half, McKenzie raced down the right flank, cut inside and was fouled in the box by Alan Stubbs.
The pacey forward could have been forgiven for going down under the clumsy challenge, but stayed on his feet and slotted home through Nigel Martyn's legs to lift the crowd.
The momentum was now with The Canaries and after Stubbs bailed out a hesitant Martyn by clearing Huckerby's toe-poke off the line, the hosts got themselves back on level terms.
Marking from set-pieces had always been patchy from Everton and they were finally punished when Mattias Jonsson headed a corner back into the box allowing Francis the easiest of chances to lash home from six yards.
McKenzie opted to try a scissor kick when a header would have caused major problems at the far post and Tony Hibbert had to be on hand to deny Huckerby a shooting chance.
But against the run of play Everton grabbed a winner - against the run of play when Gravesen bustled into the box and was brough down.
With the referee waving play on, substitute Steve Watson kept his head and curled into the box allowing Ferguson to provide a trademark header across Green to regain The Toffees' lead.
Everton had a little luck late on when Lee Carsley was inadvertently in the right spot to block Francis' close rang drive after Martyn had come and failed to claim in the slippery conditions.
McKenzie and Matt Svensson had late chances, but Everton held on - and, ahead of the other games on Saturday, moved into second place in The Premiership.
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|Team Name||Norwich City||Everton|
|Shots on target||6||5|
|Shots off Target||11||4|
|Total Fouls Conceded||8||13|
| || || |
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Bromwich Albion||38||49|
|10||West Ham United||38||46|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||38||25|