MATCH REPORT: BOLTON 1-2 CITYGARY Hooper's winner in stoppage time earned Norwich City a dramatic 2-1 win at Bolton Wanderers and kept them in the top two of the Sky Bet Championship.
The substitute raced onto Cameron Jerome's flick-on to grab what could be a vital goal in the promotion race as the Canaries notched their fourth win on the spin.
The contest looked to be heading for a draw but City showed their quality once more to earn all three points at the Macron Stadium, extending their unbeaten away league run to nine.
Graham Dorrans' first Norwich strike had put them ahead after just nine minutes but Adam Le Fondre levelled before half-time.
The visitors were the more urgent team in the second period but it took a moment of coolness from Hooper to secure a memorable triumph.
Nathan Redmond was the man to benefit from Bradley Johnson's suspension as he returned for his first start since the middle of March, while there was positive news for the Canaries as both Lewis Grabban and Elliott Bennett were deemed fit enough to return to the bench.
Bolton came into the game having lost just one of their previous 13 home league matches, and experienced pair Eidur Gudjohnsen and Emile Heskey continued in attack.
City took possession and kept the ball well in the opening stages, and when Redmond was clattered by Josh Vela 20 yards from goal on nine minutes, it offered the chance from which they would take the lead.
With three men over the ball, it was Dorrans who whipped a set-piece that took a heavy deflection off the wall, diverting it in the opposite direction to 'keeper Adam Bogdan and into the net.
It was the loanee midfielder's first goal of an increasingly impressive spell in yellow and green, and got Neil's men off to the perfect start in this vital encounter.
Bogdan pushed away Jonny Howson's sweet strike four minutes later as confidence spread through City's ranks. Jerome was next as he saw a low effort blocked by Tim Ream, and from the resultant corner Sebastien Bassong headed over the bar.
But then, from their first direct attack, the hosts levelled and it was Le Fondre who poached the goal.
The forward was in the right place to meet Tom Walker's low cross and touch it beyond Canaries stopper John Ruddy from close range.
Bolton were buoyed and had two more chances soon after - first Le Fondre sliced off target when presented in the box, before Liam Feeney dragged an effort wide from another Walker delivery.
The half ebbed and flowed, and City had their own mini-spell once again as Jerome glanced a header at Bogdan and Redmond curled a free-kick narrowly over the bar.
It continued in a similar vain before half-time, but Bogdan's comfortable save from Jerome's shot on the turn was the only other opportunity before the break.
HALF-TIME: Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Norwich City
Norwich were positive out of the blocks but Bolton always carried their own threat, especially via the talented Walker on their left flank.
After 12 minutes, Neil opted to bring Grabban on for his first action since the East Anglian derby at the beginning of March as he replaced Wes Hoolahan.
Moments later, he attempted to beat Bogdan from 25 yards after cutting in off the left, but the Trotters' Hungarian stopper was behind the ball.
Steven Whittaker's determination then earned him the space to play in Dorrans, who had made the run into the left side of the box but from the angle his shot was saved.
Despite the open nature of the contest, it reached 70 minutes still all square at 1-1, and with the Canaries' promotion rivals all winning Neil switched to a 4-3-3 formation to go for the victory.
After Ruddy comfortably saved Gudjohnsen's header, Dorrans' patient build up play allowed Howson a go from 18 yards, but he dinked his effort over.
The Canaries were showing the greater urgency of the two teams, but when Dorrans' flashed a drive wide from 30 yards they had only ten minutes left on the clock.
Bassong and Jerome saw half chances come and go, but then when it looked as though their time was up substitute Hooper struck.
His strike partner Jerome leapt to flick on a long ball, and the former Celtic man steadied himself before lifting it over Bogdan to set off manic celebrations in front of the away supporters.
There was still time for Grabban to be denied when clean through, but it wasn't to matter as City moved on to 79 points, one behind leaders Bournemouth.
FULL-TIME: Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Norwich City
GOALS: Trotters: Adam Le Fondre (18) - Canaries: Graham Dorrans (9), Gary Hooper (90)
BOLTON WANDERERS: Bogdan, Vela, Dervite, Ream, Moxey, Bannan, Walker (Janko 87), Feeney, Gudjohnsen (c) (Danns 82), Heskey, Le Fondre. Subs not used: Lonergan (GK), M Davies, Trotter, Rochinha, McCarthy
NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker (R Bennett 71), Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Tettey, Howson, Dorrans, Hoolahan (Grabban 57), Redmond (Hooper 66); Jerome. Subs not used: Rudd (GK), E Bennett, O'Neil, Odjidja-Ofoe.
REFEREE: James Adcock
ATTENDANCE: 16,027 (2,100)