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Match Reports

Norwich City v Reading

8 April 2017


A FIRST HALF of clinical attacking play helped the Canaries to a stunning 7-1 win over Reading at Carrow Road.

Nelson Oliveira's third-minute penalty was the first of six goals before the break, with Wes Hoolahan adding the second on the quarter hour mark with a subtle chip from inside the box.

Alex Pritchard's unstoppable dipping volley was quickly followed by Russell Martin guiding the ball home from close-range as the promotion-chasing visitors crumbled.

Pritchard picked his spot, this time with his left foot, after more slick combination play with Hoolahan shortly before Yann Kermorgant stabbed home for the visitors.

Unperturbed, Hoolahan bundled through Reading's defence to hook the ball in on the line for his 50th goal for the club -  completing an astonishing opening period.

As to be expected, the second half was a more serene affair though City still maintained both control and threat, creating chances through the influential Pritchard who pulled a shot wide.

Oliveira then missed out on adding his side's seventh when he flicked an effort wide despite having the space to choose his finish in the box, though in the context of the game City's second profligacy didn't matter.

The seventh eventually came with just two minutes left when substitutes Josh Murphy and Cameron Jerome combined, with the latter nudging the ball home.

Alan Irvine's team had a very different look from the one that lost 3-0 at Huddersfield Town on Wednesday night.

City's Interim Head Coach - who will take charge until the end of the campaign - made six changes, starting in goal with John Ruddy replacing Michael McGovern. Ivo Pinto and Mitchell Dijks returned from suspension as Ryan Bennett and Steven Whittaker dropped to the bench.

Jacob Murphy started, Hoolahan made his comeback from a thigh injury and Oliveira started for the first time since February. Steven Naismith, Jerome and Yanic Wildschut had to be content as substitutes.

City's home form has been steady in a difficult campaign, and the early goal settled them down even more against their high-flying opponents.

Jonny Howson's long-range shot was parried by Ali Al-Habsi and as Oliveira followed up on the rebound - only to be pushed to the ground.

The Portuguese striker, making his first start since overcoming a foot injury, dispatched his spot-kick with confidence - but at that point no-one would have foreseen what was to come.

The Canary fans deserved something to cheer about after a challenging week and that's exactly what they got on a memorable afternoon at Carrow Road.

Irvine's side stayed in tenth place in the Sky Bet Championship table at the close of play, seven points off the top six.

GOALS: Canaries: Nelson Oliveira (pen 3), Wes Hoolahan (15, 41), Alex Pritchard (26, 35), Russell Martin (31), Cameron Jerome (88) - Royals: Yann Kermorgant (39)

: Ruddy; Pinto, Martin (c), Klose, Dijks; Tettey, Howson; Ja. Murphy, Pritchard (Jo. Murphy 81), Hoolahan (Naismith 87); Oliveira (Jerome 87). Subs not used: McGovern (GK), Whittaker, Wildschut, Bennett,.

: Al-Habsi; Gunter (c), Moore, Oxford, Blackett (Watson 61); McCleary, Mutch (Obita 52), Swift (Gravenberch 79), Kelly; Kermorgant, Grabban. Subs not used: Jaakkola (GK), Mendes, Williams, Popa.

REFEREE: James Linington


City host Fulham at Carrow Road on Good Friday, with tickets on general sale HERE.

To view the Canaries' upcoming fixtures in full, click HERE.

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