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Match Reports

Norwich City v Cardiff City

17 January 2015


NORWICH City held off a Cardiff City comeback to record a 3-2 victory in Alex Neil's first home match as boss.

Two goals in three minutes from Alex Revell and Kadeem Harris made it a nervy last half hour after Neil's team had led 3-0 at the break.

The Canaries were superb in the opening 45, with Gary Hooper starting the scoring after 15 minutes before Kyle Lafferty curled home his first goal for the Club.

John Ruddy kept out Peter Whittingham's penalty and Cardiff were punished when Cameron Jerome added a third in stoppage time of the first period.

Despite the nature of the second half, Neil will still be delighted to back-up last weekend's win at Bournemouth with another maximum Sky Bet Championship points haul.

He made three changes from that triumph over the Cherries, with Lafferty starting his first game since November.

Carlos Cuellar and Gary O'Neil also returned to the starting eleven, as Jonny Howson (suspension), Alex Tettey (groin) and Steven Whittaker missed out.

Tom Adeyemi, a graduate from Norwich's Academy, began in midfield for Cardiff, who prior to kick-off had won just once away in the league all season.

Norwich looked sharp in attack from the off and six minutes after Simon Moore did well to save Hooper's shot down to his left, City's striker gave them the lead on the quarter hour mark.

Nathan Redmond beat his man and delivered the cross from the right, Jerome nodded it on and Hooper finished the job at the back post.

Cardiff should have levelled five minutes later - Sean Morrison saw his header cleared off the line by Jerome, and Ben Turner somehow put the rebound wide.

It proved costly for the Welsh club because Lafferty doubled Norwich's advantage on 25 minutes.

Russell Martin, playing at right-back, swept a pass to the Northern Ireland international on the left side of the box, and he cut inside to curl a fine effort beyond Moore and into the net, via the far post.

In dramatic circumstances, though, the Bluebirds were given an opportunity to get a goal back three minutes later when Cuellar was adjudged to have brought down Adam Le Fondre in the box.

City's players were furious at the award of the spot-kick, but the crowd's jeers turned to cheers when Ruddy sprawled to his left to save Whittingham's penalty.

Temperatures were rising inside Carrow Road, with Le Fondre the pantomime villain in the eye of the Yellow Army, and the referee had to keep a keen eye on proceedings as Cardiff battled to find a way back into the contest.

They were made to rue their lack of cutting edge again, though, when Alex Revell's close-range miss was punished in stoppage time by City.

This goal was made by Martin, who lived up to his 'Norfolk Cafu' nickname, jinxing past two Cardiff defenders before poking the ball in Jerome's direction, who did the rest to bag his 13th league goal of the season.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 3-0 Cardiff City

Norwich kept the ball well in the early stages of the second half and Redmond went close to adding a fourth on 54 minutes.

City broke after Cardiff had committed men forward in attack, with Martin finding Hooper, and then Redmond was played into space on the right, from where he unleashed a shot at Moore's goal that cannoned off the crossbar.

Jerome then nodded Martin's cross just wide as City looked to add a fourth, but then Cardiff struck back and, within three minutes, had scored twice to haul themselves back into the game.

Firstly, Whittingham was allowed too much space to find a cross and pick out Revell in the area, who poked his shot beyond Ruddy.

Then, the Canaries defence failed to deal with Moore's hopeful punt up field, and Revell won the header to play in Harris before the substitute finished expertly.

City's feathers were ruffled but their pace in forward areas meant they still carried a threat and Redmond forced Moore into a save after a counter down the right flank.

Lafferty then blazed over the bar from Martin's pass and Hoolahan's arrowed drive just missed as they continued to reassert their authority, but Revell went close again with a header for the Bluebirds.

The tireless Johnson flashed a shot wide, and despite a finish to the game far more open than Neil would have liked, his team held on for three points.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 3-2 Cardiff City

GOALS: Canaries: Gary Hooper (15), Kyle Lafferty (25), Cameron Jerome (45) - Bluebirds: Alex Revell (61), Kadeem Harris (64)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Martin (c), Turner, Cuellar, Olsson; O'Neil, Johnson; Redmond, Hooper (Hoolahan 70), Lafferty (Murphy 74); Jerome (Grabban 89). Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Whittaker, Hooiveld, McGrandles.

CARDIFF CITY: Moore, Brayford, Malone (John 66), Morrison, Turner (c), Whittingham, Adeyemi (Ralls 88), Gunnarsson, Noone, Le Fondre (Harris 57), Revell. Subs not used: Wilson (GK), Fabio, Connolly, Macheda.

REFEREE: Mr J Adcock


GOLDEN GOAL TIMES brought to you with Richard Pike Associates:

14:24, 24:31, 45:00, 60:38, 63:15

Brentford - Saturday, January 24 - 3pm

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