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18:30 4th February 2012


SECOND-HALF strikes from Andrew Surman and Anthony Pilkington guided City to another three priceless Barclays Premier League points as they bounced back from their midweek defeat at Sunderland to beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0 with a postive performance.

Surman hit the bar in the first half, when the Canaries were forced into a major defensive reshuffle after losing both centre-backs Daniel Ayala and Zak Whitbread through injury.

The game opened up in an entertaining second half and City took the lead in the 70th minute when Surman pounced on the rebound after his first shot was blocked to slam the ball high into the net.

Pilkington then wrapped up a deserved win for Norwich as he fired the ball under Adam Bogdan after the Bolton 'keeper could only block Russell Martin's shot into his path.

Paul Lambert told Canaries Player afterwards: "I thought that was an unbelievable display and we were terrific right from the start.

"We lost our two main centre halves, and we were playing two full-backs at centre-back.

"We had Elliott Bennett playing at right-back in what was an extraordinary performance. I had the belief in them to see it through. The performance today, to a man, was absolutely outstanding.

"It was scintillating the way we played at certain times. They are a good side but I thought we deserved to win the game."

Before the game City made four changes to the team which lost 3-0 at Sunderland on Wednesday, Simeon Jackson joined Grant Holt in attack, while David Fox and Pilkington came into a re-jigged midfield and Adam Drury returned to the defensive line-up.

City started well and Whitbread met a corner from Fox with a good header in the 11 th minute which was scrambled behind by the Bolton defence.

Jackson was looking lively and he had two chances in the space of a minute just after the quarter-hour mark, first firing across the face of goal after good work by Surman and then forcing Bogdan to palm away his cross-shot from an acute angle.

In the 22nd minute Daniel Ayala made a great sliding block to deny Eagles - but he paid a high price for his efforts as he was forced to leave the pitch, to be replaced by Russell Martin making his 100th appearance for the Canaries.

Within minutes City were inches away from taking the lead when Holt knocked Hoolahan's cross into the path of Surman and the former Wolves man crashed a close-range effort against the crossbar with only Bogdan to beat.

But on 40 minutes there was a second defensive injury blow for City as Whitbread pulled up. He was replaced by midfielder Elliott Bennett who moved to right-back, with Naughton joining Martin in the centre.

Within a minute City's makeshift defence was on the book foot and Petrov lashed a 22-yard effort narrowly over for the visitors.

Norwich City 0, Bolton Wanderers 0

City started positively after the break and Jackson fired an angled shot narrowly wide after a good flick-on from Holt in the 51st minute.

At the other end Ruddy was alert to push a snapshot from Ngog behind for a corner before Bolton made a substiution in the 57th minute, Kevin Davies replacing Fabrice Muamba.

The game was more open this half and in the 67th minute a lovely turn into the box allowed Jackson to get a shot in which Bogdan saved, then Hoolahan fired a left-foot effort narrowly over in City's next attack.

But the breakthrough finally came in the 69th minute thanks to an emphatic finish from Surman. Jackson had been working tirelessly all afternoon and his low ball found Surman 16 yards out. Although Wheater blocked his first effort he could do nothing about the rebound as Surman rammed it high into the net.

Bolton made a change in the 73rd minute, with Tuncay coming on for Eagles and then Jackson received a standing ovation as he was replaced by Steve Morison.

In the 80th minute Ruddy made another excellent reaction save to tip over Petrov's rasping effort and at the other end Pilkington's great low ball into the six-yard box was met at full stretch by Holt, but put over under pressure by the City skipper.

But in the 85th minute the Canaries grabbed a priceless second goal to give them a bit of breathing space, Pilkington firing the ball home under Bogdan's body after the Bolton 'keeper could only parry Martin's low shot into his path.

Norwich City 2, Bolton Wanderers 0

Norwich City:
Ruddy, Drury, Whitbread (Bennett 40), Holt (c), Jackson (Morison 74), Surman, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Fox, Naughton, Ayala (Martin 23). Subs not used: Steer, Johnson, Crofts, Wilbraham.
Bolton Wanderers:
Bogdan, Muamba (K.Davies 57), Eagles (Tuncay 73), Petrov, Knight, Mears, M.Davies, Ricketts, Reo-Coker (c), Ngog (Sordell 81), Wheater. Subs not used: Jaaskelainen, Klasnic, Pratley, Boyata.

Lee Probert.

    Data provided by Press Association


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