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18:39 10th December 2011


A COMMANDING display by strikers Grant Holt and Steve Morison helped guide the Canaries to a 4-2 Barclays Premier League win over Alan Pardew's Newcastle United in front of another record crowd at Carrow Road.

Wes Hoolahan set the ball rolling as he bundled home the game's opener in the first half but Demba Ba's injury time leveller insured the teams went in level at the break.

But with the visitors forced to play an improvised defensive line-up due to key injuries, City's aerial supremacy saw them take the spoils with second half headers from Holt (2) and Morison. Although Ba scored his second goal for the visitors, a straight red card for Dan Gosling for a foul on Russell Martin always left them facing an uphill struggle to get back into the game.

On an excellent win, Lambert told Canaries Player: "There's always a few nervy moments at the back, but we're up against a different calibre of teams to the ones we were up against a few years ago.

"Newcastle are a threat there is no doubt and the frontline they've got is top class, but I thought we deserved to win the game after a really bright start. I thought we played very well.

And on his front pairing or Morison and Holt, Lambert said: "I think Steve has been brilliant for us since the start of the season and Grant has been massive for us in the two and a half years he's been at this football Club and as you can see by his goals today, they were typical number nine goals. They were both a real handful today."

Before the game Lambert made several notable changes to the starting eleven which lost 5-1 away to league leaders Manchester City at the Etihad last week.

In came Holt, Hoolahan and Whitbread for Pilkington, Bennett and Barnett as the Canaries reverted to a familiar diamond formation.

The opening exchanges were even, with Holt and Morison's aerial threat posing problems for United's makeshift defence and the visitors looking dangerous on the counter-attack.

City were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area after Ameobi fouled Holt, but Fox's dead-ball effort deflected off the Newcastle wall and behind for a corner. From the resulting flag kick Crofts dived in to attempt to block Ameobi's clearance from inside his own six-yard area and was adjudged to have fouled the Toon striker in the process, earning him the game's first yellow card from referee Martin Atkinson.

In City's next attack Holt bullied his way into a promising position but under-hit his attempted shot with the outside of his boot and Perch was able to make the block.

In the 24th minute Newcastle carved out their first chance of note, Ryan Taylor's low cross from the right met on the volley by Gosling only for the effort to spin wide of the post.

There was a moment of controversy in the 28th minute when Naughton's cross from the right appeared to strike the raised arm of Toon defender David Santon - but despite the baying of the Canary faitfhful around Carrow Road, Mr Atkinson's decision was no penalty.

In the 34th minute Fox was booked for a foul on Gosling in the centre circle and a minute later Cabaye tested Ruddy with a long-range looping effort which the City keeper watched well before tipping it away from danger.

But in the 39th minute mounting Norwich pressure was finally awarded - albeit amidst more controversy. This time as Tierney's mis-hit cross from the left drifted harmlessly wide Krul stepped in to catch it, stopping it from crossing the line - only to be adjudged by the assistant referee to have stepped back across the line at the expense of a corner.

Krul complained bitterly about the decision and was left to complain even more moments later as he had to pick the ball out of his net. Surman's corner from the left caused a scramble in the six-yard box before Hoolahan got the final touch as the ball trickled over the line.

But City's hopes of getting to the break in front were dashed as in first-half injury time Cabaye's chip over the defence found Ba and he kept his composure to finish neatly past Ruddy to level the scores.

Norwich City 1, Newcastle United 1

Immediately after the break Newcastle mounted an early attack as Ba hit the crossbar after good work by Ameobi on the right for the visitors.

In the 55th minute Hoolahan was booked for failing to retreat far enough from a free-kick and then a minute later Gosling also received a caution for the visitors for a foul on the Irishman.

The atmosphere was cranking up to a crescendo at this stage and it went through the roof on 58 minutes as Holt headed City back in front. His first effort from Fox's cross from the right was blocked on the line but his second was unstoppable and went in off the crossbar.

It went from bad to worse for the visitors when they were reduced to ten men in the 66th minute. As Russell Martin cleared from defence Gosling came crashing into him with a high and late challenge earning him a straight red card from Mr Atkinson.

But they were gifted a potential lifeline thanks to another City defensive error in the 70th minute, Whitbread got caught out trying to dribble his way out of defence and was robbed, the ball eventually falling to Demba Bar to rifle home his second of the match.

In the 76th minute Lambert made a change, Bradley Johnson coming on to replace Andrew Surman. Four minutes later Pardew responded by bringing on Sammy Ameobi for Obertan for the visitors.

The came City's fourth of the afternoon eight minutes from time as Holt rose in trademark fashion to power home a header to restore the Canaries' two-goal cushion at a crucial stage of the match.

Norwich City:
Ruddy, Martin, Morison, Whitbread (Barnett 84), Crofts, Holt (c), Surman (Johnson 76), Hoolahan (Jackson), Fox, Tierney, Naughton. Subs not used: Rudd, Pilkington. Bennett, Wilbraham.
Newcastle United:
Krul, Santon, Cabaye, Simpson, Perch, Gosling, Taylor, Gutierrez (c), Ba, Sh. Ameobi (Smith 90), Obertan (S.Ameobi 80). Subs not used: Elliot, Arfa, Lovenkrands, Best, Ferguson.

Martin Atkinson


    Data provided by Press Association


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