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18:14 17th September 2011


FIRST-HALF goals from Anthony Pilkington and Bradley Johnson secured City's first Barclays Premier League win of the season, and first away from home in the top flight for 17 years, as the Canaries ran out 2-1 winners at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.

Pilkington put City ahead on 37 minutes, stabbing the ball home from Steve Morison's cross, before five minutes later Johnson produced a brilliant header from a David Fox free-kick to double City's lead.

Bolton then had Ivan Klasnic sent off for an alleged headbutt on Marc Tierny just before half-time.

The home side threw everything forward in the second half, but despite a Martin Petrov penalty in the 64th minute - the fifth City have conceded in five games, Paul Lambert's men were able to see out the match.

Lambert said afterwards: "I thought we deserved it to be honest.

"Right from the off we were excellent, and we've come to a really hard place and the way we played the game, I thought we deserved to win.

"Regardless who Bolton have played, it's still a really hard place to come, but I though we were excellent."

On Fox's two assists, Lambert added: "I've said it since I took him to Colchester, his ability on the ball is excellent, and he can pass the ball and move it, it's top class.

"He's got a brilliant habit of never giving it away, which is great for us, and the two goals I thought were excellent."

Six changes were made to the side that lost 1-0 to West Brom the previous weekend - John Ruddy returned in goal having completed his one-game suspension. Russell Martin replaced Ritchie De Laet in defence. While Morison started upfront on his own with Chris Martin and Grant Holt both on the bench and Wes Hoolahan coming in and taking the captain's armband. Pilkington also made a return after a back injury kept him out of the side against the Baggies and Fox joined him in the midfield in the place of Andrew Surman.

The Canaries also had a change in formation with two banks of four and Hoolahan playing behind Morison - and in the fourth minute the two forward players combined but the Irishman was unable to latch onto the Welshman's headed flick.

Two minutes later Jussi Jaaskelainen was forced to tip Elliott Bennett's 25 yard curling effort over the bar to concede a corner.

On eight minutes the Canaries had a great chance to take the lead - Bennett was fouled on the right and confusion reigned as the players thought play had been stopped for the free-kick. However referee Howard Webb signalled for play to continue and the advantage to City, and with Morison on his own in the penalty area he could only hit his effort into Jaaskelinen and Bolton cleared the danger.

Five minutes on and it was Ruddy called into action, Martin Petrov's cross requiring the Norwich 'keeper to make a save.

On 15 minutes Russell Martin went close, heading a David Fox cross on target but the Bolton stopper was on hand to collect.

It was a bright start from the visitors who were finding space down the right and on 24 minutes Bennett was able to get a cross in but Jaaskelainen was on hand to block the danger for a corner.

Just after the half hour mark, Bolton made a good break and it was Petrov's cross again which caused problems, Ruddy just getting enough on it to concede a corner with Kevin Davies waiting to pounce at the far post.

City's positive play got it's just rewards on 37 minutes when they took the lead through Anthony Pilkington for his first goal in Canary colours. A Fox corner was headed on by Barnett for Steve Morison to cross and Pilkington to stab home at the near post.

Five minutes later and it was two - another Fox set-piece unlocked the Bolton defence and Johnson headed home off the back post for a first competitive City goal for him.

On 44 minutes Wanderers were themselves awarded a free-kick when Johnson was adjudged to have fouled Ivan Klasnic in the 'D'. Petrov's resulting effort was deflected wide for a corner, which City dealt with comfortably.

Two minutes into injury time Bolton were reduced to 10 men when their leading goalscorer Klasnic was alledged to have headbutted Marc Tierney in an off the ball incident - the assistant referee bringing it to Howard Webb's attention who showed the red card to the Croatian.

Half-time: Bolton Wanderers 0, Norwich City 2

Two changes for Bolton at the break saw Kevin Davies and Tuncay replaced by David NGog and Chris Eagles, while City were unchanged.

The Canaries had a good start to the half putting Bolton under pressure early on with two corners in quick concession.

Then 12 minutes into the second half Petrov was given another set-piece opportunity about 25 yards from goal - but Ruddy was up to the task, taking the initial sting out of his effort and then smothering the ball from the on-rushing attacker.

But City's run continued when in the 64th minute they conceded yet another penalty - Howard Webb feeling that Barnett's challenge was too strong on David Ngog and pointing to the spot. Martin Petrov stepped and converted the penalty low into the bottom left-hand corner past John Ruddy to give the home side a lifeline.

Bolton, rejuvinated by the goal were pushing forward with the Canaries losing some of their initial impetus.

On 74 minutes Morison blazed over the bar having got in a good position.

Two minutes later Paul Lambert made two changes - Grant Holt and James Vaughan replacing Morison and Pilkington respectively.

And they combined straight away Vaughan heading on for Holt but Zak Knight did enough to see the ball go out of play for a goal kick.

With 10 minutes to play Paul Robinson fouled Vaughan 20 yards from goal and City were given a free-kick but Johnson looking for his brace could only put his shot high over the bar.

Andrew Crofts came on for the last three minutes of the game after Hoolahan took a knock.

Bolton kept the pressure up but City did have their opportunities on the break - one of the best when Holt back-heeled a pass for Naughton to cross into the area but it was too far infront of Vaughan and went out of play.

At the death Ruddy pulled off a hugely important save after Ngog met an Eagles' cross from the right and it proved decisive as City saw out the rest of the match to secure their first win of this Barclays Premier League season.

Final score: Bolton Wanderers 1, Norwich City 2

BOLTON: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Cahill, Tuncay (Eagles 46), Petrov, Knight, K. Davies (c) (Ngog 46), Klasnic, Reo-Coker, Pratley (M. Davies 74), Boyata. Subs not used: Bogdan, Muamba, Kakuta, Wheater.
: Ruddy, R. Martin, Johnson, Morison (Holt 76), Pilkington (Vaughan 76), Hoolahan (c) (Crofts 86), Fox, Bennett, Barnett, Tierney, Naughton. Subs not used: Rudd, Crofts, Surman, C. Martin, De Laet.

    Data provided by Press Association


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