Norwich City 2 Aston Villa 0
Report of match 13th May 2012
Reporter Mark Burchett
City just too good for the villians!
Norwich City finished their first season back in the Premiership in fine style comfortably beating Aston Villa at Carrow Road.
Paul Lambert's men had never been in danger of relegation at all this season and since surpassing the 40 point mark when they beat Wolves on the 24th March, they've been able to play without fear. Although the now Premier League Champions Manchester City thumped them 6-1, they recorded a famous away victory at Spurs, were unlucky to only draw 3-3 at Arsenal and produced arguably one of their best and dominant displays of the season to easily beat Villa two-nil.
The Canaries were two-nil ahead by the 21st minute courtesy of goals from Player of the Season Grant Holt and Simeon Jackson and after that never looked in danger of relinquishing the three points.
Villa actually began the game the strongest, winning a corner in just the second minute and although Simon Lappin making only his fourth start of the season cleared, it fell for Stephen Ireland. But his shot from outside the area was wide of John Ruddy's right hand post.
It didn't take long for Holt to get involved in the action. Firstly in the 7th minute he was booked for a foul on Chris Herd. Then in the next minute he put his side ahead, guiding Bradley Johnson's freekick in at the far post to score his 15th Premier League goal of the season.
And City doubled their lead in the 21st minute when Holt's striking partner, Jackson showed his prowess in the area. The Canadian striker has had scant reward for his some of his performances this season, so it was fitting that he capitalised on Carlos Cuellar's error in heading Ryan Bennett's cross into his path. Although Shay Given saved his initial shot, Jackson made sure he netted the rebound.
Given was by far the busier of the two keepers. Wes Hoolahan was instrumental in many of the home sides attacks as he ran the Aston Villa defence ragged all afternoon, opening them up time and time again to create openings for City, with Jonny Howson, Lappin and Elliott Bennett all being denied by the Irish International keeper.
HALF-TIME: City 2 Aston Villa 0
Villa boss Alex Mcleish made a change in midfield at the start of the second period, Barry Bannan replacing Chris Herd.
The second half was a carbon copy of the first, just without any further goals! Villa briefly threatened with Emile Heskey and Stephen Ireland both testing John Ruddy in the City goal, before the home side resumed control of the game.
Jackson came desperately close to getting his second goal in the 64th minute, but this time Given showed his class and at full stretch pushed the ball out for a corner!
Hoolahan and Ryan Bennett were also to fail to beat Given, as the keeper underlined his undoubted talent.
There was a standing ovation in the 68th minute for Holt and Jackson as Lambert made a double substitution to introduce a new strike pairing of Aaron Wilbraham and Steve Morison.
Neither could add to the scoreline, but as almost important for the Canaries, they kept only their third clean sheet of the season.
The game ended with the packed home areas singing "There's only one Paul Lambert" acknowledging the superb job the Scot has done in guiding the Norfolk club from League One into the Premiership and retaining their place at football's top-table.
FULL-TIME: City 2 Aston Villa 0
|Competition: Barclays Premier League Date: Sunday, 13th May 2012 Kick off: 15:00 Venue: Carrow Road|
|2 - 0||Aston Villa
|24||Jonathan Howson (Crofts 77)|
|10||Simeon Jackson (Wilbraham 69)|
|9||Grant Holt (Morison 69)|
|21||Aaron Wilbraham (Jackson 69)|
|7||Andrew Crofts (Howson 77)|
|5||Steve Morison (Holt 69)|
|24||Carlos Cuellar (Gardner 66)|
|3||Stephen Warnock (Baker 81)|
|31||Chris Herd (Bannan 45)|
|32||Nathan Baker (Warnock 81)|
|38||Gary Gardner (Cuellar 66)|
|25||Barry Bannan (Herd 45)|
|Norwich City cards shown|
|8 mins||Grant Holt||Not retreating at set play|
|Aston Villa cards shown|
|54 mins||Ciaran Clark||Unsporting behaviour|
|88 mins||Stephen Ireland||Unsporting behaviour|