Coleman snatches victory with stoppage-time strike

, 15 March, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent
Everton 2 - 1 Cardiff City

Everton snatched a win in dramatic fashion thanks to Seamus Coleman's stoppage-time goal, just when the heroics of Cardiff's David Marshall looked like they had earned the Bluebirds a point.

The two sides went into the half-time break goalless thanks almost entirely to Marshall in the visitors' goal who made three outstanding saves to deny the Blues in the first period.

The 'keeper set the tone for his first-half exploits with an early save to deny Kevin Mirallas, palming away the Belgian's attempt to bend the ball inside the far post as Everton started brightly.

Then, after a series of wayward shots from distance and some inviting crosses that didn't find their mark by the home side, Juan Cala's sliding block prevented what might have been a certain goal for Mirallas after excellent work by Seamus Coleman and a neat layoff by Romelu Lukaku.

At the other end, with Cardiff occasionally threatening on the counter, Tim Howard had to be alert to save with his foot from Fraser Campbell as the former Manchester United striker capitalised on a fortunate bounce.

The Blues remained the more likely to break the deadlock, though, and another fine move created a great chance for Gerard Deulofeu but Marshall got a hand to his shot to guide it behind.

And the 'keeper saved his best moment of the first 45 minutes with an acrobatic one-handed save to push Lukaku's superb shot over the crossbar at the end of another quick break by the home side.

Both sides had chances within three minutes of the restart, Juan Cala again on hand to block Lukaku at the near post and Howard making a one-handed save by his own upright to put Campbell's low shot behind.

The game had stagnated from the home side's point of view in the second period but Gerard Deulofeu squeezed a deflected shot home just before the hour mark to break the deadlock.

Poor defending at a free kick, though, 10 minutes later allowed Cardiff back into it. Seamus Coleman was adjudged to have fouled Campbell outside the Blues' box and Juan Cala bundled home Peter Whittingham's set piece.

With Roberto Martinez having withdrawn both Deulofeu and Mirallas for Aiden McGeady and Steven Naismith, the Blues had lost their impetus a little and they laboured as the half progressed, finding Cardiff increasingly difficult to break down.

Osman almost restored the lead immediately but flashed a half-volley wide and Marshall was on hand in the 79th minute with another stunning save, finger-tipping Lukaku's deflected shot around the post.

Cardiff were growing in belief and an error by John Stones almost let Zaha in but the young defender recovered to block the winger's shot and another strong display by Sylvain Distin kept the visitors at bay on the counter-attack.

The game was ebbing away towards an unsatisfactory draw in stoppage time when Everton grabbed what could prove to be a priceless winner, though. Constant pressure in the closing minutes had Cardiff penned into their area and the Welsh side's defence coped with everything until a deep McGeady cross was headed back by Gareth Barry and Coleman sliced a half-volley that arced into net and sent Goodison into bedlam with 93 minutes on the clock.

A vital victory for Everton that looked like it had eluded them thanks to Marshall's heroics but persistence and a slice of luck paid off in the end.

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