REPORT: CITY 2-2 SWANSNORWICH CITY were forced to settle for a point after a pulsating 2-2 draw with Swansea City at Carrow Road on Saturday afternoon.
Michu had fired the visitors into a deserved first-half lead, before Robert Snodgrass equalised, converting Elliott Bennett’s cross five minutes before the break.
Michael Turner then lashed home to edge a much-improved City in front, but Luke Moore tapped in soon after to draw the League Cup winners level.
It was the sort of end-to-end and at times feisty encounter, especially in the second period, that has grown to typify meetings between these two sides.
The final result move City on to 35 points and into 13th place in the Barclays Premier League, five points clear of the relegation zone.
Mark Bunn, returning from his one-match suspension, replaced Lee Camp in goal in the Canaries’ only change from last week’s 1-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic.
Michael Laudrup sprung a surprise for Swansea City by bringing in Moore at the expense of the influential Pablo Hernandez, while Ki stepped in to central midfield for Leon Britton.
Michu was playing just off Moore in the attacking midfielder role, and he had a half-chance on six minutes when he turned Routledge’s square ball wide from the edge of the box.
The two then combined moments later for Moore to get a quick-fire shot at Bunn, which City’s ‘keeper managed to hold onto successfully before Michu then had the ball in the net only for Michael Oliver to blow up for a foul on Jonny Howson.
Swansea were holding possession in their usual effective manner in the early stages, but the game was brought to a halt when Bunn had to off injured on the quarter hour with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
Lee Camp came on for his home debut, and Norwich got some momentum in attack and earned a set-piece in a dangerous position after Ben Davies brought down Elliott Bennett on the corner of the area.
From it came City’s first clear chance of the match – Robert Snodgrass’ free-kick was blocked by the wall, but he regained possession, raced to the by-line and put in a cross towards Turner, who got a shot away at goal that Michel Vorm saved well.
After Snodgrass and Johnson were quickly booked for fouls on Dwight Tiendalli and Michu, City pushed forward and Martin had a drilled shot from the edge of the box well blocked.
Swansea took the lead on 35 minutes though, and it was a goal that their better play and more obvious threat had certainly merited.
Jonathan de Guzman broke into the box and got to the by-line by passing Bennett and Javier Garrido, and his pass was rifled into the roof of the net by the Swans’ leading scorer Michu, demonstrating the kind of lethal finishing that earned him many plaudits this season.
Swansea’s two wingers combined four minutes later to nearly earn a second – Wayne Routledge broke on the counter and slipped in Dyer, who screwed his shot wide.
City then raced up the other end, though, and after a good interchange between Kei Kamara and Bennett, the latter found himself free in space to advance into the area.
He then delivered to the back-post, where Snodgrass was on-hand to nod home the equaliser into the empty net.
It gave the Canaries a spring in their step as the crowd responded, and Kamara was involved again just before half-time as a left-footed shot whistled over from 20 yards.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 1-1 Swansea City
Norwich’s defence were caught napping five minutes after the break when Routledge chipped a ball in the box that Moore was quickest to react to, but Camp was fast off his line and blocked the shot.
The game was of a similar open nature to most of the meetings between the two sides in recent years, and after Martin kept Vorm on his toes with a dipping volley, City earned a free-kick which got them the lead.
Bennett stepped up to take it from the edge of the area, and Turner peeled away at the back post and smashed the ball home, much to the delight of the Barclay End.
Swansea almost got back on level terms straight away when Michu had a free header from Ki’s cross, but he could only weakly turn it into the palms of Camp.
Norwich were managing to break up Swansea’s monopoly on possession with a higher tempo, and as Snodgrass and Kamara combined, with the Scottish winger found his team-mate in the middle but he was crowded out by Swansea defenders and Tiendalli made the vital interception.
Swansea rallied, though, and after Moore forced Camp into a save from a header, he tapped home the equaliser after Tiendalli had found substitute Angel Rangel at the back post.
The game was evenly poised as Hughton introduced Grant Holt, who was in the action straight away with a late challenge on Chico Flores.
With two minutes left on the clock, de Guzman committed a cynical foul to bring down Kamara and it left Snodgrass with a chance to have a strike at goal from 25 yards.
It was blocked by the wall, however, and it proved to be the last main action as the spoils were shared.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 2-2 Swansea City
GOALS: Norwich City – Snodgrass (40) Turner (60). Swansea City - Michu (35) Moore (75)
NORWICH CITY: Bunn (Camp 15); R Martin (c), Turner, Bassong, Garrido; E Bennett, Howson (Tettey 81), Johnson, Snodgrass; Hoolahan (Holt 80); Kamara. Subs not used: R Bennett, Whittaker, Fox, Becchio.
SWANSEA CITY: Vorm; Tiendalli, Williams (c), Flores, Davies (Rangel 64); Routledge (Hernandez 64), Ki, de Guzman, Dyer (Lamah 75); Michu; Moore. Subs not used: Tremmel (GK), Monk, Agustien, Shechter.