Three stunning saves from David Marshall and a last-ditch block from Juan Cala kept Everton at bay in a lively first-half as the hosts failed to convert their dominance into goals.
Cardiff did have their moments – Fraizer Campbell saw his close-range effort palmed to safety by Tim Howard – but they struggled to deal with Everton’s threat on the flanks as Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu wreaked havoc in the opening period.
Everton finally broke through on the hour. Deulofeu picked up the ball out wide, drove at the Cardiff goal and beat Marshall at the near post via a cruel deflection.
But the visitors responded when Peter Whittingham’s free-kick struck Juan Cala on the thigh, looped onto his head and bobbled into the bottom corner.
The match opened out as both sides pursued victory, and it was the hosts who grabbed the winner when Coleman’s scuffed effort found the net.
3’ – CHANCE: Mirallas shows great agility to change direction quickly and bamboozle his marker. He shoots for the far corner but Marshall flicks it behind. Quality save.
26’ – CHANCE: Coleman scampers down the right and delivers a low cross. Lukaku shows great awareness to prod it into the direction of Mirallas... The Belgian must score... Cala arrives to make a terrific block!
29’ – CHANCE: Noone wriggles clear of a couple of challenges and turns it into the path of Campbell. Howard beats away the striker’s effort.
31’ – CHANCE: Deulofeu throws in a couple of tricks, works an opening and forces Marshall into a very good low stop. Second fantastic save from the Cardiff stopper.
34’ – CHANCE: Lukaku weaves across the edge of the Cardiff penalty area and has a crack. It's destined for the top corner but Marshall somehow turns it over! What a save!
59’ – GOAL: Everton 1-0 Cardiff. Deulofeu darts off the left touchline and attacks Marshall's goal. He has men in support but elects to shoot. Deflected and in!
68’ – GOAL: Everton 1-1 Cardiff. Whittingham's delivery is met by Cala. It strikes the defender on the thigh, loops up into his face and finds the bottom corner. Cardiff are level!
79’ – CHANCE: Fantastic build-up play from Everton culminates in Marshall turning a deflected Lukaku effort round the post. What. A. Save.
90+2’ – CHANCE: Marshall makes another save! Barkley is denied from point-blank range! Cardiff putting their bodies on the line late on! Thrilling conclusion.
90+3’ – GOAL: Everton 2-1 Cardiff. Goodison Park erupts! Wonderful play from substitute McGeady sees him lift a cross to the backpost. Barry shows great awareness to knock it back into the mixer where Coleman lurks... The defender slices his effort but it loops into the goal! What a finish to this contest!
Everton are now unbeaten in their last 27 Premier League home matches on a Saturday. (Infostrada)
Cardiff lose eight top-flight away league matches in a row for the first time since between December 1928 and March 1929. (Infostrada)
Everton are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League matches against promoted teams. (Infostrada)
Can Everton push on to usurp Spurs and United into fifth? Aside from their Merseyside mauling at Anfield, Everton have played wonderful football this season. Fifth spot is the least they deserve for their efforts, but they’re in serious danger of being pipped by Tottenham or Manchester United – two sides who have been woeful for the majority of this campaign.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Gareth Barry (Everton): The midfielder was omnipresent throughout and showed great awareness to set up the winner. Time for an England recall?
Everton: Howard 6, Baines 6, Coleman 7, Deulofeu 6, Mirallas 6, Distin 6, McCarthy 6, Lukaku 7, Barry 8, Osman 6, Stones 7… Subs: McGeady 6, Naismith 6, Barkley 6.
Cardiff: Marshall 8, Caulker 6, Medel 6, Campbell 6, Kim 6, Noone 6, Mutch 6, Cala 6, Theophile-Catherine 6, Fabio 6, John 6… Subs: Whittingham 7, Daehli 6, Zaha 6.
- Sports & Recreation
- Cardiff City
- Seamus Coleman
- David Marshall
- Juan Cala