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16:45 7th February 2015


GARY Hooper's hat-trick saw Norwich City to ease to a 3-0 victory over Blackpool at Carrow Road.

Hooper converted a second half penalty to complete his treble and help the Canaries to a routine win against the Sky Bet Championship's basement club.

The striker swept home twice in the opening 45 minutes, and Nathan Redmond's superb late free-kick added icing on the cake on a fine afternoon for the home team.

Three points meant City climbed into the seventh place in the table at the close of play, three points off the play-off positions.

Alex Neil made two changes from City's 0-0 draw at Birmingham, with Jonny Howson returning from suspension to replace Alex Tettey, and Hooper stepping in for Elliott Bennett (hamstring).

Tony Andreu, who signed from Hamilton Academical on deadline day but only received Football League clearance to play on Friday, was named among the substitutes. Wes Hoolahan started against his former club.

Blackpool went into the match having won just four league matches all season but they started on an even keel with the Canaries before the hosts went in front on 13 minutes.

Howson was the architect, threading a superb pass through to Hooper, who advanced into the area before finishing coolly past Elliot Parish.

City were soon bossing proceedings but Neil's team had to readjust when Sebastien Bassong, making his first Carrow Road appearance of the season, was forced off with a back injury.

Three minutes later, however, a magnificent team goal doubled Norwich's advantage.

The Canaries steadily built their attack before Hooper played a rapid one-two with Hoolahan, with the attacker trapping the ball expertly to set up his second of the game and eighth of the season.

Momentum was building and Lewis Grabban saw an effort tipped onto the post by Parish from Steven Whittaker's cross.

City's frontman then missed a gilt-edged chance, leaning back and lofting the ball over the bar from six yards following Howson's low delivery, but his team will have been more than content with their half-time advantage.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 2-0 Blackpool

Norwich continued to be one step ahead of their opponents and Hooper went close inside the first minute of the second half but Redmond's cross was just out of his reach.

He didn't have to wait much longer, however, as City were awarded a spot-kick nine minutes later when Peter Clarke tripped Grabban in the box.

There were no questions asked when Hooper placed the ball on the spot, and he sent Parish the wrong way to complete his treble.

Grabban then had Parish in his way to stop a deserved goal before Redmond fired wide from close-range, but the crowd could sense a fourth goal was imminent.

However, Blackpool rallied and Ruddy had to make a smart save to his left to deny a well-timed volley from Joe Rothwell.

Andreu came on for Hoolahan to warm applause from the home faithful, and Cameron Jerome was also introduced for the last 20 in place of the tireless Grabban.

The match quietened down significantly in the last quarter as the Canaries settled on their three-goal lead, although Jerome forced a save from Parish with seven minutes left on the clock.

It looked as though City had settle for three, but Redmond had other ideas after Martin Olsson was fouled, curling home a superb free-kick to cap the performance off.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 4-0 Blackpool

GOALS: Canaries: Gary Hooper (13, 24, pen 56), Nathan Redmond (90)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong (Turner 21), Olsson; Howson, Johnson; Redmond, Hooper, Hoolahan (Andreu 68); Grabban (Jerome 73). Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Garrido, Murphy, Tettey.

BLACKPOOL: Parish; McMahon (c), Clarke, O'Dea, Dunne, Perkins (Telford 82), O'Hara, Waddington (Rothwell 45), Orlandi, Cameron (Delfouneso 54), Davies. Subs not used: Boney (GK), Aldred, Maher, Ferguson.

REFEREE: Mr S Hooper


GOLDEN GOAL TIMES brought to you with Richard Pike Associates:

11:55, 23:01, 55:27, 90:00

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    Did you know Norwich City Football Club have appeared in three Wembley cup finals?