Everton's Seamus Coleman gets lucky for deserved win against Cardiff

• Pictures: the best images from Saturday's Premier League games

Perhaps this was poetic justice for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Perhaps it was just cruel. Either way, the Cardiff manager now knows how he used to make opponents feel.

In his playing days, Solskjaer scored and celebrated a disproportionate number of injury-time goals. One, famously, decided the 1999 Champions League final. Should Cardiff end up in the Championship, Seamus Coleman's strike three minutes into time added on will rank among the reasons for their relegation.

It left Solskjaer bemoaning his luck. "We sit here with no points and we need points," the Norwegian said.

He was deprived of one as Coleman's dramatic decider continued a theme here, where Everton's last three league victories have been sealed in the final minutes. Neither Kevin Mirallas's wonderful free-kick against Aston Villa or Romelu Lukaku's crisp finish to defeat West Ham were quite as late or as lucky as this, however. Gareth Barry headed Aiden McGeady's cross into the path of the on-rushing Coleman, whose skewed, miscued shot proved perfectly placed.

"The performance was outstanding," said Solskjaer. "It was a phenomenal effort. They had cojones."

It was an appropriate choice of word, if only because Spaniards scored for either side with Gerard Deulofeu and Juan Cala trading goals. Indeed, Martínez subsequently confirmed, he had two last-gasp scorers. Deulofeu had been pencilled in for an hour's action. McGeady was warming up when the on-loan Barcelona winger struck. "He tends to leave it late," said Martínez, smiling.

Accepting Leon Osman's pass, Deulofeu spun away from Gary Medel and accelerated into the box. His shot took a telling touch off Steven Caulker to beat David Marshall. "He can't do anything about the goals," said Solskjaer. "The first is a deflection, the second a mishit." It took something out of the norm to defeat the superb Scot.

"David Marshall was phenomenal," Martínez said. "It was as good an individual performance as you are going to see from a goalkeeper."

Twin saves from Lukaku, pushing a piledriver over the bar and tipping a drive past the post, were terrific. Better still was a 90th-minute block to keep Ross Barkley's header out. Whether it was the product of instinct or positioning, it was outstanding. Not that goalkeeping excellence was confined to the visitors.

Everton were in the ascendant throughout the first half yet Cardiff had the finest opening. Tim Howard repelled Fraizer Campbell's shot, extending the Cardiff strikers' collective drought to a month and a half. A central defender compensated with a scruffy finish. Peter Whittingham's free-kick went in via Cala's knee and ribs to give the former Sevilla player his first Cardiff goal.

Fortune seemed to have favoured the visitors at that point. Kévin Théophile-Catherine was shown only a yellow card for a reprehensible tackle on Barry. "He has the studmarks," said Martínez. "Both feet are off the ground. It is a reckless, reckless challenge."

Roger East's laissez-faire approach to officiating irritated Everton then and angered Cardiff later. Wilfried Zaha's bright cameo included a winding solo run. "Wilf weaved his way through two, three, four of them," said Solskjaer. He was halted by Sylvain Distin, who did not get the ball. "It is a stonewall penalty for Wilf," said his manager,.

Martínez was more philosophical. "If we got a little bit of luck, it balances the real bad luck we had in the last three games. A couple of weeks back we were feeling exactly the same at Chelsea. "

It is a stage of a game that used to be known as Fergie Time. In many respects, it was Solskjaer Time. Not any more.

comments powered by Disqus