Norwich City 4 West Bromwich Albion 0
Report of match 12th May 2013
Reporter Mark Burchett
Canaries crush the Baggies!
Norwich City arguably saved their best performance until the last home game of the season!
Goals from Robert Snodgrass, Grant Holt, a Gareth McAuley own-goal and Johnny Howson crowned a rampant display to crush a West Brom side that were never allowed to play their own game.
Norwich City were boosted by the return of keeper John Ruddy for the first time since the 1-1 draw at Everton in November 2012! His calm presence in goal gave the whole side an assurance throughout the game and he deservedly kept a clean sheet.
City immediately took the game to their visitors, knowing only a victory would guarantee their Premiership place for next season. But as so often in recent games, although they controlled the early possession they were struggling to create any clear cut chances.
The break-through came in the 25th minute after Ben Foster pushed out Anthony Pilkington's testing shot. From the corner it was played patiently to Holt out wide, whose cross was nodded down by Ryan Bennett. Although Wes Hoolahan's shot was blocked by Foster and it fell kindly for Snodgrass, the Scottish midfielder still had to execute a large amount of skill to score from a very tight angle.
As the half drew to a close Hoolahan once again kept the pressure on West Brom, with a rasping drive from over 30 yards that Foster produced as spectacular reaction to, with a one-handed save. From the resulting corner the Baggies struggled to clear the danger before Foster claimed the ball under pressure from the lively Hoolahan.
HALF-TIME: City 1 West Bromwich Albion 0
Steve Clarke was clearly not happy with how poorly his side coped with the Canaries and made a double substitution before the second half got underway, bringing on Billy Jones and Chris Brunt for Steven Reid and Markus Rosenberg, respectively. He switched from three attacking players up front to a more traditional 4-4-2 spearheaded by Romelu Lukaku and Shane Long.
It had a momentary improvement as Lukaku found space in the home defence to get in a right-foot shot, albeit off-target, before the Canaries went back on the offensive. Pilkington could have done better with Holt's knockdown from just 6 yards out and Holt himself also came very close at the far post as he was being put under pressure by Olsson.
But the Canaries deservedly scored twice within three minutes to remove any remaining doubt about their Premiership future. The first was a gift-wrapped present from Foster, who horribly sliced his attempted clearance of Hoolahan's ball in, leaving Holt one of the easiest goals he has probably ever scored.
Then Snodgrass delivered the perfect cross that Ryan Bennett headed goalward but it came off Gareth McAuley's head last before hitting the net, which ironically is the fourth own-goal the former Ipswich defender has scored for Norwich!
Having more than played their part in a triumphant performance Hoolahan and Snodgrass were substituted in the 77th minute, earning a standing ovation; with Alexander Tettey and Elliot Bennett straight replacements. Shortly afterwards, the City boss made his final change giving Luciano Becchio, on for Holt, a rare chance to get his first goal since signing from Leeds in the January transfer window.
Despite conceding four goals, Foster was almost single handedly keeping his side in the game, but he could do nothing about the best goal of the game. Becchio combined well with his former teammate Howson, to set him up to score an outstanding curling effort in to the top right corner!
FULL-TIME: City 4 West Bromwich Albion 0
|Competition: Barclays Premier League Date: Sunday, 12th May 2013 Kick off: 15:00 Venue: Carrow Road|
McAuley 65 (og)
|4 - 0||West Brom.
|7||Robert Snodgrass (Tettey 75)|
|14||Wes Hoolahan (Bennett 75)|
|9||Grant Holt (Becchio 85)|
|17||Elliott Bennett (Hoolahan 75)|
|19||Luciano Becchio (Holt 85)|
|27||Alexander Tettey (Snodgrass 75)|
|2||Steven Reid (Jones 45)|
|8||Markus Rosenberg (Brunt 45)|
|20||Romelu Lukaku (Odemwingie 79)|
|11||Chris Brunt (Rosenberg 45)|
|24||Peter Odemwingie (Lukaku 79)|
|28||Billy Jones (Reid 45)|
|Norwich City cards shown|
|45+1 mins||Jonathan Howson||Unsporting behaviour|
|69 mins||Wes Hoolahan||Unsporting behaviour|
|West Brom. cards shown|
|47 mins||Jonas Olsson||Unsporting behaviour|