Canaries out-twitter the Robins!

By Mark Burchett and John Maiden
Last updated : 25 October 2009
Norwich City 1 Swindon 0

After narrowly losing to Leeds 2-1 on Monday, the Canaries returned to
winning ways by beating a dogged Swindon side 1-0.

Chris Martin’s first-half goal was enough to give them the three
points, which, with Bristol Rovers losing, moved them into fifth place!

The Canaries had made just two changes to the side that lost at Leeds.
Jon Ostemobor (Hamstring) and Stephen Hughes (thigh) were missing from
the squad completely. This gave Academy graduates George Francomb and
Korey Smith first team starts at right back and in midfield
respectively.

Russell replaced Hughes at the base of the diamond formation that is
serving City so well, allowing Wes Hoolahan to continue spearheading it
behind Chris Martin and Grant Holt.

Paul Lambert gave his backing to Fraser Forster, whose last minute
error led to Leeds winner, by keeping him in goal.

There was a surprise inclusion on the bench of fit-again Michael
Nelson, who came on late in the game to help steady the Canaries.

For Swindon, Danny Wilson was missing the suspended influential
midfielder Jonathan Douglas and continued to start with his leading
scorer Billy Paynter on the bench.

Swindon kicked off defending the Barclay end, but both sides struggled
to get any momentum going, in the opening stages on what was a damp
miserable afternoon,

The capacity crowd had to wait until the eighth minute for either side
to show any real attacking intent when Hoolahan for City, finished a
swift passing move. But he put his left foot shot just wide of David
Lucas’s left hand post.

This spurred the home side on, who won their first corner in the tenth
minute. Simon Lappin’s out-swinging kick, from in front of the
snakepit, was headed narrowly wide by Holt.

Twice within a minute and on both occasions under pressure from the
lively Martin, the visiting keeper sliced back-passes out for a City
throw-ins.

City won their third corner in the 19th minute, with Lappin’s kick in
swinging this time, which Scott Cuthbert could only head out for
another one.  From in front of the Swindon fans again, Lappin’s
delivery this time was an easy catch for the keeper.

Obadeyi’s glancing header from McNamee’s right wing cross, caused the
first real danger for the home defence. But Forster watched it go
safely wide.

Swindon, in particular Gordon Greer, narrowly escaped conceding a
penalty when the Robin’s captain impeded the tricky Hoolahan.

The Canaries kept up the pressure however, with Holt from just outside
the area blasting a right foot shot goalwards. Lucas appeared to palm
the ball onto the bar, before his defence were able to clear the
danger.

The referee played an intelligent advantage when Drury was fouled in
the middle of the Swindon half. City didn’t gain from it, so he awarded
the free kick, which was quickly taken to Holt at the far side of the
area. After holding the ball up, the city captain played it out wide to
the advancing Francomb who did exceptionally well to get to the by-line
before crossing into the 6-yard area.

After another break down the right, also involving the emerging
Francomb, Russell fired in a low 25-yard shot that deflected out for a
corner. Lappin’s delivery once again asked questions of the Swindon’s
defence.

Berthel Askou’s header rebounded off a defender, with Doherty the
first to react to the lose ball. His side foot down found Martin who
from a tight angle inside the six-yard area made no mistake to put City
deservedly ahead.

Francomb, revelling in his home debut, found space down the right
wing, before playing in Smith. The young midfielder, recovered from the
thigh injury that kept him out of the side that lost to Leeds, took one
touch before unleashing a shot narrowly over the bar.

Swindon so nearly had the last laugh of the first half as in the
minute of extra time they broke down the left. From Obadeyi’s cut back
Mcnamee, embarrassingly for his side, put his shot wide when it seemed
easier to score!

Half-Time:  City 1 Swindon 0

There was a surprise substitution after the break with Paul McVeigh,
starting in place of Francomb, struggling with a thigh strain. This saw
Smith drop back to the right-back berth, with McVeigh taking his
midfield place.

But the home side continued in the same vein and produced a sweeping
attack first down the right, before switching the ball to the left.
Unfortunately, Drury’s cross was too close to the keeper!

Swindon did earn a corner in the 50th minute but the Canaries defence
dealt with it very assuredly.

The home side won another corner of their own in the 57th minute and
again it was a City head that got to it first, but Holt could only
direct it over the bar.

In the next minute Berthel-Askou’s diving header went narrowly wide of
the keeper’s left hand post, from a free-kick after Martin had been
bundled over.

McVeigh then put the ball in behind the defence for Martin to run onto
but it was nudged out for a corner. McVeigh won another corner in the
64th minute. The diminutive Irishman took it himself and with Swindon
struggling to get the ball clear, the Canaries kept the pressure on
them. And it was McVeigh, although firing well over, that finished the
move.

The Swindon boss then attempted in the 67th minute to change the game,
bringing on another striker in Ben Hutchinson, who replaced midfielder
McNamee.

Within five minutes, Wilson made another change, withdrawing tricky
winger Obadeyi for Charlie Austin, who joined Hutchinson and Revell
upfront.

Despite this extra firepower up front, the Reds were more vulnerable
as Norwich showed in the 77th minute with a swift break down the left
with Martin. With yellow shirts pouring forward, the Beccles-born
striker however delayed his pass too long, with the unmarked Hoolahan
crying out for the ball.

City’s tenth corner in the 81st minute, taken by McVeigh, was this
time easily cleared by Swindon.

Goal scorer Martin, left the field to a standing ovation in the 83rd
minute as he made way for Jamie Cureton. He wasn’t able to make the
same impact as he did as a late substitute against Bristol Rovers,
although this was largely due to a late surge by Swindon.

In a nervous ending to the game, City showed a clear head to protect
their slender lead. In the penultimate minute of normal time Michael
Nelson was brought on, in place of the tiring Smith, to help steer his
side to three valuable points.

Full-Time:  City 1 Swindon 0


Line ups:

City: Forster (GK), Drury, Holt ©, Doherty, Hoolahan, Martin (Cureton
83), Lappin, Russell, Smith (Nelson 89), Berthel Askou, Francomb
(McVeigh 46)

Unused Subs: Rudd (GK), Gill, Adeyemi, McDonald

Swindon: Lucas (GK), Cuthbert, Greer ©, McGovern, Timlin, McNamee
(Hutchinson 67), Amankwaah, Jean-Francois, Obadeyi (Austin 72), Ferry,
Revell (Paynter 78)

Unused Subs: Smith (GK), Easton, Morrison, Peacock.

Goalscorers:
City:  Martin (32)

Discipline:
City:  None.
Swindon: Timlin (90)

Attendance:  24,959

Referee:  Mr Grant Hegley

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