Everton spurned an opportunity to close the gap on the Premier League’s top four as they were pegged back by Norwich City to draw 1-1 at Carrow Road.
The Toffees were all over Norwich in the first half and should have led by a bigger margin than the one handed to them by Romelu Lukaku’s 15th-minute opener.
But they conceded 62 seconds after the restart to Wes Hoolahan and failed to turn up for the rest of the second half as the Canaries earned themselves a point.
Lukaku gave Norwich a warning when he dragged wide after good work from Leighton Baines and Arouna Kone, but he was more clinical minutes later.
Gerard Deulofeu whipped a delightful cross to the back post for the Belgian to head home and score for a sixth successive league games. Watch out Jamie Vardy!
SEE MORE: Romelu Lukaku goal video: Belgian coming for Vardy’s record with sixth in six
Lukaku now has 10 in his last 10 outings in all competitions and 15 for the season, although his radar went strangely awry for the rest of the game in East Anglia.
He could have had a hat-trick by the break but scuffed from Tom Cleverley’s cross with the goal gaping, and twice fired wide when he should have at least tested Declan Rudd.
The Canaries goalkeeper appeared beaten when Baines, making his first league start of the season, fired a right-footed volley which crashed back off the post on 39 minutes.
Norwich had only found the net three times in their previous six games and Ryan Bennett was the unlikely option called for from the bench by Alex Neil at half time.
But the defender immediately came up trumps as his towering back-post header from a corner was scrambled over the line by Hoolahan 62 seconds after the restart.
SEE MORE: Wes Hoolahan goal video: Inspired substitution pays dividends for Norwich v Everton
The hosts had turned the tables and were now on the front foot. They had a trio of chances around the hour mark, but their lack of cutting edge hurt them again.
Robbie Brady had a shot deflected over the crossbar, before Hoolahan took the ball off the toes of Cameron Jerome with the striker perfectly placed at the back post.
Norwich’s goalscorer then tried to make amends by attempting to square for Jerome when he would have been better off shooting himself, and the chance went begging.
Though, judging by Jerome’s finish on 70 minutes, he probably would have missed anyway! His blaze over the crossbar from six yards out will be one of the misses of the season.
Everton never really mustered a response although they did have one chance to salvage maximum points, only for Rudd to rush out and make a brave block from Gareth Barry.
Victory for the Toffees would have taken them to within four points of the Champions League places. A third draw in a row leaves them sixth, top of a pack of teams on 23 points.
Norwich stay 16th, but could be in the relegation zone by the end of the day if Sunderland and Bournemouth win their games against Watford and Manchester United respectively.
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