CITY 2 SPURS 1
A BARNSTORMING late fightback and a last-gasp penalty save from man-of-the-match Mark Bunn saw City battle past Spurs and through to the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup – where they will face Paul Lambert's Aston Villa at Carrow Road in December.
Gareth Bale had blasted the visitors ahead with a clinical strike as the tie seemed to be ebbing away from Chris Hughton’s Canaries – but some inspired substitutions saw momentum swing back City’s way at the death.
First substitute Alex Tettey’s shot deflected off Dutch defender Jan Vertonghen seven minutes from time to pull City back on to level terms.
Then with under four minutes to go subs Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson combined to create the winner, Holt’s header from an excellent Robert Snodgrass cross spilling from the grasp of Hugo Lloris and allowing Jackson to bundle home.
The final drama came when the assistant referee flagged for a penalty against Marc Tierney for his challenge on Kyle Walker right at the death – but Bunn dived to block Clint Dempsey’s spot-kick to ensure the Canaries went through to the last eight for the first time in 17 years.
After the game Hughton told Canaries Player: "That's Cup ties for you. Goals effect games and the ten minutes showed that. I think the tempo of the first half suited us especially with a few lads settling into their first games of the season, it allowed them to feel their way into the game.
"We got a little bit of help with Alex's goal, whether he'll get the goal or not we'll have to wait and see, but we got that bit of luck and it drew us level. You're either fortunate enough or you're not and fortunately we were.
And on the winning goal, he added: "All evening our delivery was very good and you ask your strikers to get on the end of it. Thankfully Holt and then Simeon Jackson got on the end of it."
On the penalty save, he said: "I was quite confident in Mark Bunn to save it, and it certainly made it into a very feisty finish to the game."
Hughton rang the changes before kick-off with ten changes from the team which drew 1-1 away to Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.
Mark Bunn came in as goalkeeper, with Michael Turner and Ryan Bennett the centre-back pairing in front of him. Marc Tierney was given the left-back berth and Steven Whittaker made his competitive Canary debut at right-back.
In midfield Jonny Howson, skipper for the night, lined up in the centre of the park with David Fox, while Andrew Surman and Robert Snodgrass occupied the left and right flanks respectively.
Youngster Jacob Butterfield made a welcome return from injury playing just in behind main striker Steve Morison.
And it was Morison who had the game’s first chance after a quiet opening, tackled just as he prepared to shoot by Livermore after being put clean through by Surman in the 12th minute.
At the other end Bale’s drive was saved by Bunn and Dempsey chipped just over before Morison replied in the 25th minute with a firm header from a Snodgrass corner which Lloris caught inside his post.
Ten minutes later the ever-lively Bale cut inside his marker before firing a fierce low effort from 25 yards which hit the side-netting.
But Bale found himself in hot water in the 37th minute after he scythed away the standing leg of Marc Tierney on the touchline and was promptly shown the game’s first yellow card by referee Jonathan Moss.
As the game approached half-time Howson did well to meet an awkward bouncing ball with a sweetly-struck half-volley which dropped just wide of the post.
Half-time: Norwich City 0, Tottenham Hotspur 0.
Spurs made a change at the break with Tom Huddlestone replacing Jake Livermore.
City got into their stride quickest as the second half got away, only a great sliding intervention from Caulker denying Surman just a minute after the restart.
At the other end Morison got back to help out the City defence with an important header to put Falque’s dangerous cross behind.
In the 53rd minute Bunn made a smart block near the base of the post to keep out an angled drive from the left by Bale.
Five minutes later the City ‘keeper made an even better save, diving to his right to palm away a dangerous effort from Falque.
At the other end Spurs ‘keeper Lloris was also in good form, diving bravely at the feet of Morison after a neat City move in the 63rd minute.
But within two minutes the deadlock was broken as Gareth Bale cut across the edge of the City box before firing an unstoppable low shot into the corner of the net from 22 yards.
The Canaries responded with a double change in the 68th minute as Tettey and Jackson replaced Fox and Butterfield and within a minute nearly got back on level terms, Lloris acrobatically tipping away Howson’s first-time effort.
With time ticking away City made a last throw of the dice as they brought on Holt for Surman in the 81st minute.
Just two minutes later they were on level terms, Tettey’s shot from just inside the area looking to be going wide only to take a helpful deflection off Spurs sub Vertonghen which took it inside the post.
And with just three minutes of normal time remaining an incredible turnaround was complete as Lloris spilled a firm downwards header from Holt and Jackson was on hand to bundle the ball home from close range.
There was still time for more late drama as Spurs were awarded a controversial penalty in the last minute when the assistant referee flagged for a foul by Tierney on Walker.
But City fans will feel justice was done as Dempsey hit his spot kick too close to Bunn and the Norwich ‘keeper made the save, Tettey hacking the loose ball clear.
Final score: Norwich City 2, Tottenham Hotspur 1
Norwich City: Bunn, Whittaker, Turner, Snodgrass, Howson (c), Surman (Holt 81), Fox (Tettey 68), Morison, Butterfield (Jackson 68), Tierney, R.Bennett. Subs not used: Rudd, E.Bennett, Garrido, Barnett.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Dempsey, Bale, Naughton, Dawson (c), Sigurdsson, Falque, Walker, Livermore (Huddlestone 46), Caulker, Carroll (Vertonghen 78). Subs not used: Cudicini, Lennon, Defoe, Townsend, Smith.
Referee: Jonathan Moss