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Match Reports

Norwich City v Nottingham Forest

21 March 2015


NORWICH City closed the gap on the top two in the Sky Bet Championship with an excellent 3-1 win over in-form Nottingham Forest at Carrow Road.

Following a dominant first 45 minutes, Jonny Howson netted on the brink of half-time and on his 100th appearance for the Canaries.

Cameron Jerome's clever backheel had the crowd on their feet ten minutes after the break, before Wes Hoolahan's penalty put the result beyond doubt.

Chris Burke grabbed a consolation for the visitors but City saw out the rest of the match to clinch a vital three points.

With defeats for Middlesbrough and Watford, Norwich moved to within two points of the automatic promotion places ahead of the two-week break for internationals.

Alex Neil reverted back to the team that started in the 1-1 draw with Derby County a week ago, with Hoolahan and Alex Tettey returning in place of Nathan Redmond and Gary Hooper.

Former Canaries loanee Henry Lansbury captained the visitors, who had won seven of their ten league matches leading into the contest.

City dominated large periods of the opening half but it took them until the final minute to make their pressure pay off.

Neil's men took control right from the start, with Forest's threat largely coming on the counter-attack with the pace on Michail Antonio and trickery of Modou Barrow.

City exerted steady pressure in the opening part of the match, but they only had half chances before the 23rd minute, when Jerome fired over from Howson's cross at the back post.

John Ruddy was at his best to deny Antonio from Burke's through ball five minutes later, and he then saw Antonio's left-footed drive whistle over the bar.

Despite this Forest foray, Norwich quickly resumed on the front foot and Howson saw a glancing header drift wide from Steven Whittaker's accurate cross.

Ruddy then kept out Ben Osborn's snapshot but City's intensity increased as half-time approached.

In stoppage time, and just after he had seen a long-range effort parried by Karl Darlow, Howson made Neil's half-time team talk more straightforward with the opener.

Hoolahan, so often at the centre of Norwich's progress in the opening 45, clipped a pass into Howson's path in the box, and he poked his shot home via a touch from Darlow.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 1-0 Nottingham Forest

Buoyed by their advantage, City started the second half in the same manner as the first but Darlow collected Hoolahan's cross after Howson's delightful touch.

Forest brought on Jamie Paterson for Barrow, but moments after he cushioned a header, Jerome doubled City's lead with a magical finish.

Martin Olsson was the provider, drilling in a cross from the left that Jerome flicked home with a superb improvised backheel, beyond Darlow and in off the post.

The crowd had barely settled when Olsson was on the offensive again, charging into the box and falling under the challenge of Burke.

Referee James Linington pointed to the spot, and Hoolahan swept the penalty home for his first Carrow Road goal since January 2013.

The stadium was rocking, and the players responded with some fluid football that had Forest chasing shadows with three points in sight for the Canaries.

But then on 76 minutes, a spell of sloppiness was punished when Burke went someway to amending for his penalty error by converting fron close-range after Ruddy had parried Gary Gardner's strike.

Neil responded by replacing the magnificent Hoolahan with Gary O'Neil and the limping Johnson with Redmond, and that was enough to help City see rest of half out to claim an important win.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 3-1 Nottingham Forest

GOALS: Canaries: Jonny Howson (45), Cameron Jerome (56), Wes Hoolahan (pen 59)
Reds: Chris Burke (76)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Howson, Tettey, Dorrans, Johnson (Redmond 80); Hoolahan (O'Neil 80); Jerome. Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Cuellar, Hooper, Loza, Odjidja-Ofoe.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Darlow; Mancienne, Wilson, Lascelles, Lichaj, Barrow (Paterson 53), Gardner, Lansbury (c), Osborn (Walker 83), Antonio, Blackstock (Burke 18). Subs not used: Evtimov (GK), Collins, Fox, Vaughan.

REFEREE: Mr J Linington


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