REPORT: CITY 1-0 SPURSNORWICH City produced an outstanding performance to beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 and reignite their season at Carrow Road on Sunday afternoon.
Robert Snodgrass' superb finish just two minutes into the second half earned a thoroughly deserved three points for Chris Hughton's side.
They showed exemplary spirit and quality to beat a Tottenham side chasing Champions League qualification, with John Ruddy in superb form to deny Emmanuel Adebayor and Nacer Chadli.
The result moves the Canaries onto 28 points, four points clear of the relegation spots in 14th place.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel replaced Gary Hooper in the Canaries’ starting line-up for their only change from the defeat at West Ham United 12 days ago, and Jonny Howson named among the substitutes after recovering sufficiently from a back injury sustained before Christmas.
Tottenham named two former Norwich City loanees in their squad – Kyle Naughton started at right-back and Harry Kane was on the bench. In-form Adebayor led the attack for Tim Sherwood’s outfit.
Van Wolfswinkel almost poked in from a Snodgrass corner in the first moments of the match as the Canaries started well, and Spurs’ momentum was checked even further when Etienne Capoue was forced off with an injury after just 14 minutes – Nacer Chadli replaced the midfielder.
Paulinho’s shot was way off target for Spurs before Bradley Johnson’s ball to Martin Olsson’s down the left opened up the visitors’ defence, but the Swedish full-back cross evaded the four City players encroaching into the box.
A high tempo was at the centre of City’s positive performance but there was a distinct lack of clearcut opportunities due to combative midfield play from both sides.
City had a chance to challenge Spurs from a free-kick in first half stoppage time, but Hugo Lloris was able to clear the danger behind and the half-time whistle blew with the deadlock unbroken.
HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Only two minutes into the second half, however, that deadlock was broken by Snodgrass.
The winger collected an excellent through ball from Johnson and his curling shot around Lloris was pinpoint, leaving the France number one with no chance and edging the Canaries in front.
The impressive tempo from the first period was being maintained by Hughton’s side and they were faster to every ball than their counterparts in the early stages of the second half.
City fans’ hearts would have been in their mouths however, when Adebayor capitalised on some sloppy defending to race through, but Ruddy was quick off his line to close down the danger.
Snodgrass’ stinging drive regained the momentum for City but Spurs substitute Roberto Soldado had a great opportunity just seconds after coming on.
Adebayor’s lay off to his strike partner in the box meant the Spaniard just had to Ruddy to beat, but his shot went into the side-netting.
He then flicked a header wide on 67 minutes as Tottenham had one of their better spells in the game.
Hooper replaced the excellent van Wolfswinkel with 20 minutes left on the clock, and City’s next chance came ten minutes later as Snodgrass whipped a free-kick just wide of Lloris’ post.
Ruddy thwarted Chadli up the other end but it wasn’t a case of the Canaries holding back as Snodgrass again found himself in front of goal on 83 minutes after Hooper’s pass, but this time his effort was well over the bar.
A free-kick then gave Snodgrass another chance to test Lloris, but instead it was Johnson who struck a shot of such venom that Spurs’ ‘keeper was nowhere near it as it cannoned off the underside of the crossbar.
Replays showed that the ball landed directly on the goal-line and City were somehow still just the one goal ahead.
Wes Hoolahan replaced Nathan Redmond, but it was Spurs who pushed numbers forward to try and force a leveller.
Ruddy's comfortable save from Nabil Bentaleb in the final moments signalled the end of their challenge however and City clung on for a monumental three points.
FULL-TIME: Norwich City 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
GOALS: Canaries: Robert Snodgrass (47)
NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Martin, Yobo, Bassong (c), Olsson; Tettey, Johnson; Snodgrass, Fer, Redmond (Hoolahan 86); van Wolfswinkel (Hooper 72). Subs not used: Bunn (GK), Whittaker, Howson, Pilkington, Elmander.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR: Lloris; Naughton, Dawson (c), Vertonghen, Rose (Townsend 82); Capoue (Chadli 14), Bentaleb, Paulinho (Soldado 65); Lennon, Adebayor, Dembele. Subs not used: Friedel (GK), Fryers, Eriksen, Kane.
REFEREE: Craig Pawson