Norwich City 3 Manchester City 4

Last updated : 30 December 2012 By Mark Burchett

Goals early in each half effectively sealed the victory for the reigning Premiership Champions.

After those early goals the Canaries came back into the game scoring to reduce the deficit to just one goal either side of the break. Despite their undoubted superior talent Manchester City, the valiant Canaries never gave up producing a wonderful game of attacking football.

Within just 5 minutes Manchester City were two-nil ahead and it looked like Roberto Manchini was going to get the backlash from the Boxing Day defeat at Sunderland.

The first saw David Silva set up Edin Dzeko who found the bottom left hand corner. Then it was Sergio Aguero who having rounded the home keeper Mark Bunn, picked out Dzeko, who found almost the identical spot to double his and Manchester's tally.

But the Canaries didn't buckle and slowly got to grips with the rampant visitors. Wes Hoolahan set Anthony Pilkington away and the winger elected for an early cross that deflected off Gael Clichy and keeper Joe Hart was first to the ball ahead of Morison.

'Pilks' had more joy in City's next attack. Vincent Kompany was penalised for a foul on Robert Snodgrass and direct from the free-kick, the Republic of Ireland midfielder found the middle of the goal.

Snodgrass was proving to be a real pain to the Manchester Club and Clichy was booked for stopping him as he went to latch on to Martin's ball over the defence.

Then the red mist descended on Man City's Nazri! He left referee Mike Jones no other choice but to send him off having gone to head-butt Sebastien Bassong, after the City defender had cleared a dangerous ball.

This was fast becoming a frustrating match for both managers, as then Hughton suffered a further blow a minute before the break. Morison, who had started in the absence of Grant Holt with a reoccurrence of his hamstring strain, limped off with young on-loan Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur replacing the striker up-front.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 1 Manchester City 2

Having been involved in the build up to Manchester's opening goals, Aguero got on the score-sheet himself within five-minutes of the re-start with a goal worthy to win any game. Yaya Toure got around Bassong before finding Argentinian striker who cleverly chipped the out-running Bunn.

Unusually for the City boss he chose after that third goal for the visitors to make an early tactical change. He withdrew the ineffective Alexander Tettey for the lively Jonny Howson who made an immediate impact in City's midfield.

The ex-Leeds midfielder was instrumental in his sides second goal, as it was his shot that Joe Hart pushed out for a corner. Snodgrass took it short to Bassong who crossed where Martin guided his header past Hart.

Having given his side and the home fans genuine hope, Martin could do nothing about the visitors restoring their two-goal advantage, as Bunn was beaten far too easily at his near post by Dzeko. He latched onto Clichy's long ball and although Bunn got to the ball, it rebounded off the post and in.

Although the Bosnian striker was denied his hat-trick, as it was later put down as an own-goal, which was harsh.

But yet again the never-say-die Canaries, pulled another goal back and from another corner. Snodgrass took it long this time and Kane & Bradley Johnson both had shots blocked before Martin doubled his tally from within the six-yard area.

In the closing stages of the game Hughton's side were continuing to plug away at the visitors, although it still needed Bunn to keep his side in the game saving from Aguero, after Snodgrass had done enough to disrupt the Argentinian in his stride. Unfortunately for the Canaries that didn't pave the way for what would probably have been a deserved equaliser.

This may have been the Norfolk sides third consecutive defeat, but they haven't been out-played in any of those and will travel to West Ham on New Years Day in good heart.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 3 Manchester City 4

Norwich City Manchester City

28 Bunn

1 Hart

2 R Martin

4 Kompany

5 Bassong

5 Zabaleta

18 Garrido

22 Clichy
6 Turner 33 Nastasic

4 Johnson

8 Nasri

7 Snodgrass

18 Barry

12 Pilkington

21 Silva *
14 Hoolahan *** 42 Y Toure
27 Tettey ** 10 Dzeko **
16 Morrison * 16 Aguero

13 Rudd (GK)

30 Pantilimon
20 Barnett 6 Lescott ** 81

8 Howson ** 56

28 K Toure
24 R Bennett 7 Milner * 56

17 E Bennett

11 Sinclair

10 Jackson *** 74

14 Garcia

37 Kane * 44

32 Tevez


City: Pilkington (15), Martin (63, 75)
Manchester City: Dzeko (2, 5); Augero (50), Bunn (67) og

City: Bassong (44); Pilkington (83)
Manchester City: Clichy (18); Nasri (44) RED

Mr Mike Jones