Everton v Norwich – The ACN Verdict

21/09/16

So no-one had any expectation going into this match right? 10 changes, a defence including Seb Bassong, Steven Whittaker and Robbie Brady at full back, but we go and beat Everton at their place for the first time since 1993. This really was a night to remember. Jon Punt takes a look at the first […]

So no-one had any expectation going into this match right? 10 changes, a defence including Seb Bassong, Steven Whittaker and Robbie Brady at full back, but we go and beat Everton at their place for the first time since 1993. This really was a night to remember. Jon Punt takes a look at the first time we've beaten opposition from a higher league in a cup competition for a SERIOUSLY long time...
Random Star Performer

Hot on the heels of Jonny Howson's shoulder, Steven Naismith's standing leg is staking it's place for a regular run in the side. After landing on his arse Stevie's right peg was the first to react, lifting the ball over a helpless Stekelenberg. You just can't buy instinct. Oh no, actually you can, 8 million fucking quid.

For Everton fans it probably felt inevitable, a former player coming back to haunt them. For the travelling Norwich contingent it was as random as the time a guy turned up at Glastonbury with a flag of Kim Kardashian fellating another guy while Kanye was on stage. Both were acts of pure unbridled genius.

Moment of the match

Josh Murphy is getting really good at trying to outdo his brother. This time he went into full on Andrei Kanchelskis mode, darting his way across the Everton box before unleashing a barnstormer into the top corner. A fine piece of skill and a terrific finish to boot, this sibling rivalry just keeps getting better. What odds can we get on Jacob thunderbastarding in one from 50 yards on Saturday? Evens you say? I'll take it.

Sidenote - kudos to those Evertonians who applauded Naismith's strike (are we allowed to call it that?), nice touch from the Toffeemen.

Referee watch

Andy Madley had a relatively quiet evening. No moments of controversy, a good decision for Pritchard's alleged handball on the line (definitely hit his chest) and a booking for Kyle Lafferty. Standard. Didn't even send off Mulumbu when he did his best to get an early bath, well played sir. Possibly got a couple of the Everton free kicks around our box wrong, but that's nitpicking and we're not complaining.

Biggest positive to take

It might sound obvious, but we have a ridiculously strong squad for the Championship. 10 changes, that would probably been 11 had Toffolo stayed at the club, yet we still come away with a victory. All against a side currently occupying second position in the Premier League.

Oliveira came in for a half and looked like he could link the play well, the takeaway being he's neat and tidy without looking spectacular. His flick for Naismith's opener was sublime, that kind of quick thinking will unlock many a Championship defence. With runners around him the new Lord Nelson could be a real prospect and provide stiff competition for Jerome. Early days yet though.

Whinge of the night

Seb looked assured. Whitts won a few tackles. Naismith ran a lot and scored a goal. In the absence of Russell Martin there really was NO-ONE to moan about. Cue imminent advertisement on reed.co.uk for NCFC scapegoat. Must be of non-Norfolk descent, poor communicator, weak in the tackle and head like a 50 pence piece. Previous experience of being shouted at by the Snakepit preferable, but not essential.

Atmosphere rating

Ok. Full disclosure here, I was not one of the 279 that ventured to the North West. My dodgy online stream had an Arabic commentator who in all honesty was a bit too shouty to gauge the atmospherics around Goodison Park. If anyone would like to fill me in, help us out, yeah?

Summary

Bassong kept a clean shit, sorry sheet, and tactically Norwich were superb. It would have been sheer lunacy for anyone to suggest that with Big Kyle on the pitch for 45 minutes we'd go and get a result, yet that was exactly what transpired. This wasn't a full strength Everton side, but ours was certainly a second XI, reminiscent of a second 45 pre-season friendly. That's testament to the squad we possess.

Confidence is coursing through Canary veins and all negativity that surrounded the club post transfer window has been quickly swept aside. Whisper it quietly, but is this what a cup run feels like? Onwards and upwards, OTBC.

You can follow Jon on Twitter @puntino

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