Match Report: Sebastian Bassong puts Everton on the back foot

Everton 1 Norwich City 0: Home fans greet late equaliser with jeers as European ambitions continue to unravel

The booing, thin and bitter, began echoing around the stadium; it was the sound of opportunity being tossed away. Having achieved the running start to the season that has nearly always been beyond David Moyes's teams, everyone at Goodison recognises that Everton have a glittering chance to make the Champions' League, which for footballing and financial reasons would transform the club.

Arsenal are not themselves, Tottenham are stumbling and, as the pre-match meals were consumed in the Dixie Dean and Brian Labone Suites, the flat-screen televisions were showing West Bromwich Albion driving their way into third.

In their last seven games, Everton have dropped 13 points, against Wigan, Queen's Park Rangers, Reading and now Norwich. Moyes admitted afterwards that he was not especially confident going into this game. He was missing plenty of players, Phil Neville and Marouane Fellaini chief among them. Norwich had come to Merseyside buoyed by their victory over Manchester United at Carrow Road while Everton were still digesting the bitter taste of becoming the first club this season to lose to Reading.

"It was always going to be a tight game and I couldn't see us winning it that comfortably," said the Everton manager. "If we had to chase the game, I didn't think we had a lot to chase it with." There were only the four minutes of stoppage time to chase it with when Sébastien Bassong, who had marshalled Norwich's defence masterfully, rose to meet Javier Garrido's free-kick.

The ball hung long and high in the air like a small, yellow moon, and Moyes thought that both Tim Howard and John Heitinga ought to have made a better fist of clearing it before it connected with Bassong's head and crashed down from the underside of the crossbar. Grant Holt shovelled it into the net but it had already crossed the line and Chris Hughton's side would return to Norfolk with an unbeaten run that stretches to seven matches.

However, it is doubtful whether his goalkeeper, John Ruddy, who spent five years at Everton during which he played a single game, will be fit for Wednesday's game at Southampton. Ruddy received an ovation from the old stadium when a thigh injury forced him off a few minutes from the end, a time when Moyes was thinking that Everton had come through some sustained pressure and might end up extending their lead. Ruddy had saved two-handed from Leighton Baines to ensure they did not and then, while he received treatment, the game swung entirely the other way.

For a manager striving to take Everton into the Champions' League, Moyes's programme notes carried all the bleakness of late November. "We are now into that long, difficult winter period that all clubs have to endure in this country," he had written, and this was a long, difficult slog of a match.

It did not begin that way. The contest was one minute and 15 seconds old when Leon Osman stroked a shot past Ruddy's post and then England's newest midfielder found Bryan Oviedo, starting his first League game, with a long pass the Costa Rican pulled back for Steven Naismith to drive into the roof of the net.

That was as good as it got. Norwich's resistance stiffened and in the second half they looked increasingly the likelier scorers. Holt might have broken through when he hesitated for a moment in the mistaken belief he was offside, and Anthony Pilkington, the match-winner against Manchester United, had his chance palmed away by Howard.

Because this was the last time this year a game would kick off at Goodison at 3pm on a Saturday, Everton produced a retro programme with the look of, and some articles produced for, a 4-1 win over Norwich in April 1974. It would be a season neither club would want to emulate. Norwich, because they finished last, and Everton because the seventh place they achieved then would seem an opportunity missed come May.

Everton: (4-2-3-1) Howard; Jagielka, Heitinga, Distin, Baines; Osman, Hitzlsperger; Naismith (Vellios, 90), Pienaar, Oviedo; Jelavic.

Norwich (4-4-1-1): Ruddy (Bunn, 82); Whittaker, R Bennett, Bassong, Garrido; Snodgrass (Jackson, 89), Tettey, Johnson, Pilkington; Hoolahan (Morison, 75); Holt.

Referee: Mike Jones

Man of the match: Bassong (Norwich)

Match rating: 5/10

Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Life & Style
life
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage
musicJethro Tull frontman leads ‘prog rock’ revival
Arts & Entertainment
Back in the suit: There are only so many variations you can spin on the lives or adventures of Peter Parker
filmReview: Almost every sequence and set-up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems familiar from some earlier superhero film
Life & Style
Father and son: Michael Williams with son Edmund
lifeAs his son’s bar mitzvah approaches, CofE-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys he’s experienced in learning about his family’s other faith
Sport
Gareth Bale dribbled from inside his own half and finished calmly late in the final to hand Real a 2-1 win at the Mestalla in Valencia
sport
Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
comedy... writes Jenny Collier, the comedian whose recent show was cancelled because there were 'too many women' on the bill
News
House proud: keeping up with the Joneses now extends to children's playhouses
newsLuxury playhouses now on the market for as much as £800
News
news
Life & Style
Stir it up: the writer gets a lichen masterclass from executive chef Vivek Singh of the Cinnamon restaurants
food + drinkLichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines
Extras
indybest
Arts & Entertainment
Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh who will be going head to head for one of cinema's most coveted prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival
filmKen Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
News
The academic, Annamaria Testa, has set out on her website a list of 300 English words that she says Italians ought to stop using
newsAcademic speaks out against 'Italianglo' - the use of English words in Italian language
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit