REVIEW: CITY 5-1 FOREST
NORWICH City produced a scintillating display to beat Nottingham Forest 5-1 at Carrow Road.
The opening goal of five crackers came after ten minutes, with Jonny Howson showing outstanding technique to volley home from outside the box after David Vaughan had cleared a corner.
City were rampant and six minutes later Josh Murphy slotted home his third goal of the campaign, beating the offside trap from Wes Hoolahan's pass before beating Stephen Henderson from the angle.
Hoolahan then stunned the crowd with his team's third; Murphy turned provider, nodding into his path, and Hoolahan took a touch before spotting Henderson off his line and executing a perfect half-volley into the net from all of 35 yards.
Henderson was then stretchered off injured, but the delay didn't disrupt the Canaries with Russell Martin's going closest to adding a fourth prior to half-time, Zach Clough nodding his header off the line.
Some of their football was leaving Forest's players rooted to the spot and Alex Pritchard deservedly added his name to the scoresheet with a determined run and finish on 61 minutes.
Forest's day went from bad to worse when Eric Lichaj was dismissed for a second bookable offence, but they did manage to pull one back when substitute Ross McCormack chipped over John Ruddy after timing his run well.
City reassumed control of the game and polished off a commanding performance when Pritchard slammed home his second and his team's fifth in the penultimate minute, another superb strike off the boot of a Canary.
HOW THEY LINED UP
Alex Neil made two changes from 2-2 midweek draw with Wigan Athletic as Josh Murphy started on the right flank.
Switching to a more conventional 4-2-3-1 formation, Nelson Oliveira started alone in attack with Wes Hoolahan also returning to the team.
Yanic Wildschut and Cameron Jerome dropped to the bench, while Steven Naismith remained out with his hamstring injury.
City's third would have knocked the stuffing out of the visitors, especially given its manner - one of Hoolahan's finest goals in his nine years at Carrow Road.
Murphy showed strength in the air to win his header, but few would have foreseen what was to happen next, even if it had dropped to the Canaries' Irish wizard.
Having spotted the opportunity his technique was exceptional with the bouncing ball, and the little man's celebration indiciated that he surprised even himself with the quality of the finish.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Canaries carried on their pursuit of the Sky Bet Championship play-off positions as they extended their unbeaten run to five matches.
In this form, the sooner games come the quicker and they will welcome Newcastle to Carrow Road in midweek looking to add more momentum to their push.
GOALS: Canaries: Jonny Howson (10), Josh Murphy (16), Wes Hoolahan (18), Alex Pritchard (61, 89) - Forest: Ross McCormack (75)
NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Pinto (Whittaker 58), Martin (c), Klose, Dijks (Bennett 69); Mulumbu, Howson; Jo. Murphy, Pritchard, Hoolahan (Wildschut 73); Oliveira. Subs not used: McGovern (GK), Jerome, Ja. Murphy, Godfrey.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST: Henderson (Smith 23); Lichaj (c), Pinillos, Assombalonga (Lam 72), Osborn, Fox, Tshibola, Clough, Ward (McCormack 56), Vaughan, Hobbs. Subs not used: Carayol, Cash, Worrall, Brereton.
REFEREE: Scott Duncan
Tickets are available on general sale for City's Sky Bet Championship game at home to Newcastle United on Tuesday, February 14.