City's 10-game unbeaten league run ends at Hawthorns
A LATE Romelu Lakaku goal saw West Brom come from behind to beat the Canaries 2-1 at The Hawthorns and end City's 10 game unbeaten Barclays Premier League run.
City had put in a good solid showing in the first half taking a 23rd minute lead through Robert Snodgrass' great curling free-kick - and it was through the Scot that the Canaries looked their most dangerous - his set-piece deliveries causing the Baggies problems throughout the game.
But unfortunately the visitors couldn't keep their lead going into the break, Zoltan Gera bundling home captain Chris Brunt's corner with two minutes of the half to play. And although the second half lacked any real clear chances for either side, it was West Brom who claimed the win through the on-loan Chelsea striker's 83rd minute header - the powerful Belgian rising high to meet Goran Popov's deep cross from the left.
Speaking after the game City boss Chris Hughton said: "It is a disappointed changing room, but you don't want to see happy players after a defeat. That's about the standards they've set themselves.
"The unbeaten run was a great achievement for us. But now it's gone and we will look to pick ourselves up and go again in front of our own fans at Carrow Road against Chelsea on Boxing Day."
One change was made to the Canary starting line-up from last Saturday's 2-1 win over Wigan - Capain Grant Holt's hamstring injury preventing him from taking part, so Steve Morison replaced him in leading the Canaries' line. Having scored twice on his return to Under-21 action during the week on-loan striker Harry Kane was named on the bench.
West Brom made three changes with Lukaku named instead of Shane Long up front - Ben Foster and Graham Dorrans also returning to their starting line-up.
The opening chance of the game came after three minutes when Popov delivered a cross from the left, which Lukaku rose to glance over the bar.
Robert Snograss hit a volley two minutes later but it was straight at Foster who claimed it comfortably.
The first 15 minutes saw City have some good possession around the midfield area, but West Brom were containing the Canaries and keeping them away from their penalty area.
Bradley Johnson had a wayward drive on 18 minutes, but the best opportunity of the game so far came for West Brom when Lukaku was released and drove forward, his shot forcing Bunn into a good save.
But it was the visitors who took the lead after 23 minutes. Snodgrass won a free -kick on the right about 25 yards from goal and the Scot stood up and sent a curling effort past Foster for 1-0, his fourth goal of the season.
The hosts went close five minutes later when Gareth McAuley met Chris Brunt's corner, but Bunn managed to block it on the line. The Canaries were now having to withstand some Baggies' pressure including Popov's rising shot just over the bar after the half-hour.
Some good work by Morison on the left won City a corner with five minutes of the half left - Pilkington's delivery was met by Michael Turner but referee Martin Atkinson awarded West Brom a free-kick deeming the City centre-back had fouled Olsson.
The play switched to the other end and the Baggies pulled themselves level - another corner from the right bundled in by Zoltan Gera, after the ball was initially tipped onto the bar by Bunn, the Hungarian the first to react to stab it home.
It had been a solid start to the game for Chris Hughton's side but unfortunately it was all square going into the break.
Half-time: West Bromwich Albion 1, Norwich City 1
West Brom made one change at half-time, Marc-Antoine Fortune replacing Dorrans.
On 54 minutes only a good challenge by McAuley prevented Morison with a shot on goal after Tettey had released the Welsh international. This was swiftly followed by Turner glancing a Snodgrass cross wide.
City's first substitution came a minute later when Whittaker was replaced by Russell Martin at right-back.
Michael Turner picked up the first booking of the afternoon after bringing down Odemwingie as he looked to burst through the City defence.
Shane Long came on in place of Gera after 62 minutes.
The game was starting to open up with both sides finding space but just unable to find that final piece of quality in the final third to unlock the defence.
With 20 minutes left to play Russell Martin made a great interception, putting a dangerous Odemwingie cross out for a corner with Lukaku waiting behind him to pounce. And City hearts were in mouths when Snodgrass tripped Billy Jones right on the edge of the City box - but the referee made the right dececision awarding a free-kick to the Baggies just outside the penalty area, which was blocked by the City wall.
Jonny Howson made an appearance on 72 minutes replacing Hoolahan.
West Brom were keeping more of the ball during this second period and it told with eight minutes to play when Popov played a deep ball into the penalty area and Lakaku rose to head home to give the hosts the lead.
Odemwingie conceded a free-kick a minute later and Snodgrass curled in a delivery which Martin went close to nodding in at the far post.
Steve Clarke's final change came on 84 minutes the goal-scorer Lakaku replaced by Gabriel Tamas.
Two minutes later came the Canaries final throw of the dice - Simeon Jackson coming on for Alex Tettey.
City through Howson continued to try and push forward but they were just unable to capitalise - Johnson heading wide the final kick of the game after Snodgrass won a free-kick at the death.
Final score: West Bromwich Albion 2, Norwich City 1
WEST BROM: Foster, Olsson, Popov, Morrison, Brunt (c), Dorrans (Fortune 46), Lukaku (Tamas 84), Gera (Long 62), McAuley, Odemwingie, Jones. Subs not used: Myhill, Ridgewell, Rosenberg, Reyes.
CITY: Bunn, Whittaker (Martin 55), Jonson, Bassong, Turner, Snodgrass, Pilkington, Hoolahan (c) (Howson 72), Morison, Garrido, Tettey (Jackson 86). Subs not used: Steer, E. Bennett, Bartt, Kane.