Everton 3-0 Norwich: Youngsters shine as Toffees sign off in style
By Allan Valente
Last Updated: 16/05/16 7:29am
Everton signed off the season in style following the dismissal of Roberto Martinez with a comfortable 3-0 win over Norwich at Goodison Park.
James McCarthy's outstanding strike gave the hosts the lead after 19 minutes before Leighton Baines doubled his side's lead from the spot shortly before half time after Robbie Brady was adjudged to have fouled Romelu Lukaku.
Kevin Mirallas wrapped up the three points almost immediately after the break as Tim Howard celebrated his final Everton appearance with his 133rd clean sheet for the club.
In contrast, it was another disappointing afternoon for Norwich, whose relegation had been confirmed in midweek after Sunderland's win over Everton, as they failed to trouble the home side.
Joe Royle and David Unsworth took charge of first-team affairs after Martinez left the club during the week and their four changes brought renewed energy to an Everton side which has struggled in recent matches.
There were full debuts for youngsters Tom Davies and Kieran Dowell, with the pair contributing to an exciting and vibrant Toffees midfield, while Phil Jagielka's timely return came a day before England manager Roy Hodgson announced his squad for Euro 2016.
The hosts started with pace and enthusiasm, chasing down every ball all over the pitch and were nearly rewarded early on but Lukaku's volley was gathered by John Ruddy.
The goalkeeper was then called into action to deny the Belgium international soon afterwards with a superb double save.
Gareth Barry did well to win the ball back for Everton in midfield, teeing up Lukaku and his low curling effort was beaten away by Ruddy, who was up quickly to deny the striker again from the edge of the box.
Everton did then take a deserved lead and it all started from the back with Howard quickly releasing the ball before Dowell embarked on a good run at the Norwich defence. The ball ran away from the youngster but rolled into the path of McCarthy who lashed it first time into the top corner.
Davis and Dowell were at the heart of a lot of Everton's good play, and there was also an appearance for another academy graduate with Jonjoe Kenny replacing Matthew Pennington in the first half because of injury.
Nathan Redmond had half chances for the away side but he could not find the target from distance, with Mirallas then screwing an effort into the side netting.
Norwich could have equalised shortly afterwards when Cameron Jerome did well to lay off Matt Jarvis but he got his effort all wrong, blasting over from the edge of the box.
Everton went into the interval two goals ahead, however, when referee Lee Mason pointed to the spot after Robbie Brady tugged Lukaku's arm in the box, sending the striker to the ground. Baines stepped up to casually plant the ball into the net with his left foot, sending Ruddy the wrong way.
The hosts made sure of the points three minutes after the re-start when McCarthy's pass picked out the run of the overlapping Kenny and his cutback wriggled through to Mirallas at the back post who tapped the ball into the net.
Howard was called into action properly for the first time after the hour mark to deny Brady's effort at the near post, which the American beat away with his legs before Jerome went close, but he could not keep his header under the bar.
Ross Barkley was then introduced, replacing the excellent Dowall after 70 minutes, and he immediately bulldozed his way through the Norwich defence but his shot was well held by Ruddy.
Norwich forced corners at the end of the game but they were all dealt with manfully by the Everton defence as Howard kept his final clean sheet for the club before waving goodbye to the Goodison Park crowd at the end of the game.
Soccer Saturday verdict - Charlie Nicholas
"They [Everton] introduced two kids today, Tom Davies and Kieran Dowell, and they were excellent. Very comfortable on the ball, quite elegant players with a good work ethic. They closed the ball down and were fabulous to watch today.
"Then Matthew Pennington went off with a hamstring problem and another young full-back, Jonjoe Kenny came on. It was quite a young side, quite refreshing.
"But this was a stroll in the park, Norwich looked like they wanted the day over and Everton were grateful for that kind of situation.
"Norwich's defenders have done what they have for most of the season. They don't get tight enough, they don't get aggressive enough when it matters and they let Romelu Lukaku turn at them every time today. Defensively it wasn't very impressive again."
Everton: Howard (7), Baines (7), Stones (6), Jagielka (7), Pennington (4), McCarthy (7), Barry (7), Davies (7), Lukaku (7), Mirallas (7), Dowell (7)
Subs used: Kenny (7), Lennon (5), Barkley (5)
Norwich: Ruddy (6) Martin (5), Olsson (4), Bennett (4), Pinto (5), Jarvis (6), Dorrans (6), Redmond (6), O'Neil (5), Naismith (6), Jerome (6)
Subs used: Bassong (4), Brady (6), Hoolahan (4)
Man of the match: Tom Davies