Steven Naismith nets on Everton return as Norwich claim cup upset
Published 20/09/2016 | 21:56
Steven Naismith was applauded by all sides of Goodison Park after scoring the goal that sent Norwich on their way to a third-round EFL Cup upset at Everton.
The popular forward, who left Everton in January, put the Canaries in front just before half-time against the run of play and Josh Murphy clinched a 2-0 victory with a superb second.
Naismith was given a very warm reception before the game and returned the compliment by refusing to celebrate his goal.
The result was a measure of revenge for Alex Neil's team, who were beaten on penalties at Goodison Park in the fourth round last season, and meant a first defeat as Everton boss for Ronald Koeman.
This was a meeting between two in-form teams, with Everton sitting second in the Premier League table and Norwich in the same position in the Championship having bounced back well from relegation.
Koeman made six changes from the side that beat Middlesbrough but kept his promise to field a strong side, giving a full debut to striker Enner Valencia following his loan move from West Ham.
Only Robbie Brady remained from the Norwich team that beat Nottingham Forest and for much of the first half the Canaries struggled to get out of their own half.
Everton had two good early chances, with Aaron Lennon seeing a shot blocked by Steve Whittaker - referee Andy Madley waved away claims of handball - and Gerard Deulofeu then denied by John Ruddy.
But, for all Everton's possession in and around the box, they too often dwelt on the ball and Norwich's defence were able to protect Ruddy.
Naismith had not been in the squad for the previous three league games but his chance arrived in the 41st minute and he took it, albeit with a little luck involved.
Nelson Oliveira, making his debut following a summer move from Benfica, had shown some nice touches without really being involved but he played the ball around the corner to an unmarked Naismith.
The Scot slipped in the act of shooting and in so doing deflected his left-footed shot off his right leg and over Maarten Stekelenburg into the top corner.
The stunned silence was swiftly replaced by applause from all around the ground for a player who many Evertonians did not want to see leave Goodison Park.
The hosts pushed for an equaliser after the break but Ross Barkley horribly miscued a volley after Ruddy had been forced out of his area to head clear while Deulofeu and Ramiro Funes Mori shot off target.
With just over 20 minutes left, Koeman sent on Yannick Bolasie and Kevin Mirallas for Deulofeu and Lennon, and the Belgian almost made an immediate breakthrough with a free-kick that Ruddy pushed around the post.
Norwich then failed to deal with Mirallas' corner and Valencia stabbed his shot towards the far corner where it was blocked on the line by Alex Pritchard.
But, with 16 minutes left, Murphy showed Everton how it should be done, picking the ball up wide on the right and beating two men before curling an unstoppable shot from 20 yards past the motionless Stekelenburg and in off the bar.