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Match Reports

City overcome Villa to return to winning ways

7 April 2018

Goals from Josh Murphy, Dennis Srbeny and James Maddison helped Norwich City record a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship.

Murphy got the ball rolling for City on the stroke of half-time with a sensational 30-yard strike before Srbeny scored his first in yellow and green shortly after the break.

Jack Grealish pulled one back for Villa midway through the second-half but the points were sealed when Maddison finished into the bottom corner after a superb Murphy run.

Daniel Farke made four changes to the side which was beaten at Queens Park Rangers on Easter Monday. Timm Klose and Jamal Lewis returned to the City back four, replacing Christoph Zimmermann and James Husband. In midfield, Alex Tettey came in for Wes Hoolahan and Srbeny deputised for Nelson Oliveira up-front.

Goalmouth action was sparse in the opening exchanges with the only real chance being created on the counter attack. Murphy broke forward down the left after a quarter of an hour and he did well to beat the challenge of Ahmed Elmohamady on the halfway line before surging into the Villa penalty area. However, his low shot was smothered well by Sam Johnstone.

Both sides enjoyed possession in the first-half but struggled to breach each other’s defensive lines. Villa had a number of long-range efforts blocked whereas City were lacking that final pass at the other end.

The best the visitors could muster in the first 45 was midway through it. Elmohamady was released down the right by Birkir Bjarnason and his cross was on a plate for Scott Hogan but Grant Hanley appeared out of nowhere to block the ball away from danger.

City finished the half strongly and Hanley had a header comfortably cleared off-the-line by Robert Snodgrass on 39 minutes before a nice move involving Maddison, Murphy and Harrison Reed ended with John Terry making a crucial intervention in the box moments later.

But on the stroke of half-time, City edged in front when Murphy tried his luck from around 30-yards and found the top corner of Johnstone’s net with a sensational strike.

Shortly after the interval, City doubled their lead. Murphy showed great pace to firstly beat Elmohamady and then superb awareness to pick out Reed in the area. Reed then chipped the ball into Srbeny who beat the offside trap before sidefooting the ball past Johnstone for his first goal in City colours.

Villa upped their tempo after going two-behind but still struggled to threaten Angus Gunn, until midfielder Grealish picked his spot from 18-yards and managed to squeeze the ball past the City stopper on 67 minutes to reduce the arrears.

However, City responded five minutes later to restore their two-goal cushion. Murphy was once again involved and he managed to jink past a few challenges before finding Maddison on his left and he showed great composure to slot the ball past an onrushing Johnstone.

City went close to adding gloss to the scoreline when substitutes Oliveira and Hoolahan combined but the latter could only scoop the ball over the crossbar from a superb position.

It didn't matter though as City held on for the three points.

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