REPORT: CITY 3-1 WEST HAMNORWICH City hauled themselves out of the Premier League relegation zone with a hard-fought 3-1 victory over West Ham United on Saturday evening.
The Canaries went in at the break 1-0 down after being outplayed by the visitors in the first half, but equalised eight minutes after the break through a Gary Hooper penalty.
Robert Snodgrass then curled in a delightful free-kick to edge Chris Hughton's men in front, and Leroy Fer finished things off in stoppage time by stabbing home with his left foot.
The result lifts City up to 15th in the Premier League, and was just reward for a hard-working second half display in which they took their chances when it mattered.
Hughton made three changes to his starting line-up, with Johan Elmander earning a start in attack with Ryan Bennett and Snodgrass also returning to the fray.
West Ham continued without a recognised striker – Joe Cole started, while the highly-rated Morrison began as their creative hub. Kevin Nolan skippered Sam Allardyce’s side.
A full house at Carrow Road impeccably observed the minute’s silence as football honoured Remembrance weekend, but the atmosphere in the early stages was electric as the game got underway.
West Ham weathered the early storm and were offered a great chance to get the game’s opening goal on 11 minutes when Michael Turner clattered Nolan on the edge of the box.
Thankfully for City, Stewart Downing’s low set-piece was blocked by the wall, but the away team continued to threaten and John Ruddy had to be sharp to deny Nolan.
The crossbar then kept out Guy Demel’s header from the resultant corner, and what followed was a dominant period of possession for the Hammers, with Nolan against forcing a save out of City’s England international goalkeeper on 26 minutes.
Eventually they got a deserved lead on 31 minutes – Razvan Rat broke down the left and his cross found Nolan at the near post.
He managed to keep the ball in and find Morrison, who was unmarked in the six-yard box, and the young midfielder couldn’t miss with an open goal.
Nathan Redmond was brought on to replace Anthony Pilkington in the aftermath of the goal, with the Ireland winger having a picked up a knock earlier in the half.
The vibrant winger blazed a shot over in one of the Canaries’ few attacks of the half, and it ended with a chance of tack required if City were to earn anything from the game after the break.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-1 West Ham United
There were no changes at half-time from either side, but West Ham continued on the offensive and won free-kick was Turner checked Joe Cole – Morrison’s effort was kept out by the wall.
The Cnaaries won a penalty on 53 minutes, however – Gary Hooper was felled in the box by Jussi Jaaskelainen after the ‘keeper had spilled the ball.
The former Celtic man stepped and drove his penalty through the middle with conviction, netting his first Premier League goal for the Canaries.
Redmond then tested Jaaskelainen with a shot at his near post, and suddenly the Carrow Road crowd was in full voice again as they sensed an opportunity.
West Ham remained fluid on the counter-attack, though, with Morrison instrumental in every venture into their attacking third.
Jonny Howson smashed the bar for the Canaries on 71 minutes, before Snodgrass wrestled the game in favour of Hughton’s men with a superb free-kick moments later.
Jack Collison needlessly shoved Elmander in the back, and City’s Scotland international whipped a delightful set-piece into the right corner with his left foot for his first goal of the season.
Half-chances for Elmander, Hooper and Leroy Fer passed as City pressed for a third, before Elmander then spurned a great chance on 83, firing wide on the turn from inside the box.
Snodgrass followed that up with a miss of his own with four minutes left on the clock, somehow lofting his shot over the bar with the goal at his mercy from Elmander’s knock-down.
It wasn't to matter, however, as Fer wrapped things up in style with a bustling run and finish in the final moments to secure a vital victory.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 3-1 West Ham United
GOALS: West Ham United: Ravel Morrison (32) – Norwich City: Gary Hooper (pen 54), Robert Snodgrass (72), Leroy Fer (90).
NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Martin (c), Turner, R Bennett, Olsson; Snodgrass, Howson, Fer, Pilkington (Redmond 33); Elmander, Hooper (Johnson 87). Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Whittaker, Bassong, Hoolahan, Becchio.
WEST HAM UNITED: Jaaskelainen; Demel, Tomkins, Collins, Rat; Noble (c) (Jarvis 87), Collison (C Cole 74), Nolan (c), J Cole (Diame 72), Morrison, Downing. Subs not used: Adrian (GK), McCartney, Maiga, O’Brien.