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2015-2016 Barclays Premier League
  • James McCarthy (19')
  • Leighton Baines (44' PEN)
  • Kevin Mirallas (48')

Tim Howard signs off with clean sheet as Everton stroll to win over Norwich

Everton made a winning start to life after Roberto Martinez as Tim Howard said farewell with a clean sheet.

Only five home wins in the Premier League this season played a big part in Martinez's demise, but David Unsworth and Joe Royle, placed in temporary charge, were victorious at the first time of asking as Norwich were dispatched 3-0.

The relegated Canaries did not offer the stiffest opposition, and James McCarthy put the hosts ahead in the 19th minute with Leighton Baines then netting a penalty just before half-time.

Kevin Mirallas added a third three minutes after the break as the tense Goodison Park atmosphere of recent months was replaced by a stroll in the sunshine.

Howard, making the 414th and final appearance of his decade at Goodison Park, received a standing ovation before the game, and he was never seriously tested.

The American, returning home to join the Colorado Rapids, wrote an emotional farewell letter to fans, saying: "I love all of you, and am so grateful for what the club and everybody affiliated with it has given me."

Unsworth and Royle, player and manager when Everton won the FA Cup in 1995, coach the under-21s, so it was no surprise that the Everton team had a youthful look about it.

Midfielders Tom Davies, 17, and Kieran Dowell, 18, both made their first starts while Jonjoe Kenny, 19, was given his debut off the bench.

It has been a bad run for both Everton, with one win in their previous 10 games, and leading scorer Romelu Lukaku, without a goal in nine.

His lack of confidence was clear as he was played in by Gareth Barry in the 12th minute but shot weakly at John Ruddy, who then pulled off another save to keep out a better effort by the Belgian.

McCarthy, in contrast, is not a man known for his goals but he showed the touch of a striker to put Everton ahead.

Dowell looked like he had dallied on the ball too long but it ran for McCarthy, who did not break stride as he found the corner from 20 yards.

Lukaku found his touch to play through Mirallas, whose shot into the side-netting deceived half of Goodison Park.

But there was no need for the celebrations to be cut short in the 44th minute when Baines calmly netted the second from the penalty spot.

The full-back played a part in the buildup, with his cross set to pick out the head of Lukaku before he went down under a challenge from Robbie Brady.

There did not appear to be too much contact, but referee Lee Mason pointed to the spot.

Norwich's only real chance of the first half came when Matt Jarvis shot well over the bar, and it was not until the 65th minute that the winger forced Howard into his first and only meaningful save.

By then Everton were three up, with Dowell, the impressive Davies and Kenny all involved as the latter crossed for Mirallas to tap in.

Howard was given a guard of honour by his teammates as he walked back onto the Goodison Park pitch for a final farewell.

The 37-year-old, whose 352 Premier League appearances make him an Everton record holder, was greeted by the Stars and Stripes and another standing ovation.

Asked about the reception, Howard said: "I expected nothing less. You guys have given me the privilege and honour to play for this amazing club. Since 2006 it's become my life. I'm leaving tomorrow but this will always be my home."

English Premier League Standings

POS Team GP GD PTS
1 Liverpool 17 +28 49
2 Leicester City 17 +29 39
3 Manchester City 16 +25 32
4 Chelsea 17 +6 29
5 Sheffield United 17 +5 25
6 Manchester United 16 +6 24
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 16 +4 24
8 Tottenham Hotspur 16 +7 23
9 Arsenal 16 0 22
10 Crystal Palace 16 -4 22
11 Newcastle United 17 -7 22
12 Burnley 17 -7 21
13 Brighton & Hove Albion 16 -4 19
14 AFC Bournemouth 17 -5 19
15 West Ham United 17 -9 19
16 Everton 16 -9 17
17 Aston Villa 17 -7 15
18 Southampton 17 -18 15
19 Norwich City 17 -17 12
20 Watford 17 -23 9