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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:35 11th September 2011

CITY SLIP TO NARROW BAGGIES DEFEAT

A SINGLE early goal from Peter Odemwingie was enough to give visitors West Bromwich Albion all three points in a keenly-contested Barclays Premier League clash at Carrow Road.

Odemwingie pounced to toe the ball past Declan Rudd as an under-strength back-header by Ritchie De Laet left the ball in defensive no-man's land.

City had chances to level through Grant Holt and Andrew Surman while Graham Dorrans blasted a thunderous 30-yard drive against the upright for the visitors.

Norwich substitute James Vaughan had two shouts for a penalty turned down by referee Mark Halsey, but he did award a penalty to the visitors - the fourth City have conceded in four Premier League games - after Morison was adjudged to have made illegal contact with Steven Reid.

But young Canary stopper Rudd dived to brilliantly palm away Odemwingie's spot-kick and ensure a tense finale, the Baggies eventually holding out for their first win of the season.

City Manager Paul Lambert said afterwards: "We're not having that little bit of luck that you need sometimes.

"I'm delighted with the performance, we were dominant for long spells, but you can't start the game the way we did. The game's hard enough as it is, but we came back strong and I thought we deserved something from it.

"We have to learn that top players hurt you. They only need one chance, and maybe someone at the lower level needs three or four to score.

"Their [West Brom's] penalty looked soft, and I think it was soft, considering what happened to James Vaughan, that was an absolute stone wall."

Before the game Lambert made three changes - two of which were enforced - from the side which battled so well in the 3-1 defeat at Chelsea a fortnight ago.

Rudd started the game in goal, replacing John Ruddy who was serving a one-match suspension for his red card picked up at Stamford Bridge. Reverting back to 4-4-2 for this game, Elliott Bennett came in for the injured Zak Whitbread while the other change saw Surman come in for Wes Hoolahan, who started on the bench.

There was a perfectly-observed minute's silence in memory of the victims of 9/11 ten years ago today - preceded by an equally moving moment's applause from both sets of supporters in memory of Blake Welbourne, a 14-year-old West Brom Academy member who died this week.

The game got underway in bright September sunshine and was only three minutes old when the Baggies took the lead. It came when De Laet failed to make a solid enough connection on his attemped header back to Rudd and the ball fell into no-man's land, a chance Odemwingie nipped in to accept gratefully.

It was a poor start by City but they responded with typical character and nearly carved out an equaliser in the ninth minute when Surman's cross-shot was only partially blocked and Holt knocked the rebound narrowly wide of the post.

Surman was having a lively start and was close again as his glancing header looped wide in the 11th minute followed by a low drive nine minutes later which Foster got down well to save.

Those efforts sandwiched the game's first booking, Scharner cautioned after clattering into Bradley Johnson in the centre circle.

There were chances at either end on the half-hour mark, first Mulumbu battling through two challenges and blasting a daisy-cutter a couple of feet wide and then Bennett firing over from a great position after good work on the left by Marc Tierney.

On 34 minutes Bennett went close again, his crashing drive from the edge of the area forcing Foster to dive and parry it away while two minutes later in an entertaining first half Rudd made a brilliant stop with his feet to deny Odemwingie a second as the Baggies striker broke free one-on-one with the young City stopper.

The Baggies were a whisker away from doubling their advantage on 40 minutes when Graham Dorrans rattled City's woodwork with a belting effort from 30 yards which crashed against the post and away to safety.

Half-time: Norwich City 0, West Bromwich Albion 1

It was a slower start to the second half although Johnson was unlucky in the 56th minute when he displayed superb technique to hit a first-time drive from 25 yards which flashed inches over the bar.

Just after the hour Lambert made his first change of the afternoon, Surman leaving to warm applause as he made way for Hoolahan. Within a minute the Irishman had teed up Crofts for a shot which the Welsh midfielder dragged narrowly wide.

There was a double substitution by City in the 70th minute as Vaughan came on for his competitive Norwich debut to replace Chris Martin and skipper Holt passed the armband to Crofts as he made way for Steve Morison.

With 15 minutes to go Vaughan felt he should have won City a penalty when he went down in a tangle in the six-yard box under pressure from Albion captain Jonas Olsson, but referee Mark Halsey waved away the protests.

He didn't wave away City's protests at the other end a couple of minutes later, pointing without hesitation to the spot as Morison was adjudged to have made illegal contact with Reid in the box.

But City fans felt justice was done when Rudd dived to his right to brilliantly palm Odemwingie's spot kick away and keep his side in the game.

Vaughan and Morison were combining well in the search for an equaliser, and in the 87th minute, good work from Vaughan allowed Morison a free header on Tierney's cross, however the Wales man saw his effort go inches wide.

There was major controversy in stoppage time then, as Vaughan again felt he should have had a penalty, as he went down under a challenge from Tamas, with City boss Lambert later claiming it was an elbow. However, despite blood pouring from the striker's face, and protests from the City players, it was waved away and City were condemned to a first home defeat of the season.

Full-time: City 0, West Bromwich Albion 1

City: Rudd, Johnson, Crofts, Holt (c) ((Morison 70)), Surman (Hoolahan 62), C.Martin (Vaughan 70), Bennett, Barnett, Tierney, De Laet, Naughton. Subs not used: R.Martin, Jackson, Fox, Wilbraham.
West Brom:
Foster, Olsson (c), Long (Tchoyi 88), Reid, Thomas (Brunt 82), Dorrans (Morisson 70), Shorey, Mulumbu, Odemwingie, Tamas, Scharner. Subs not used: Fulop, Dawson, Jones, Cox.

Referee:
Mark Halsey

Attendance:
26,158

    Data provided by Press Association

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