Barclays Premier League: West Brom 1, Norwich City 2
17:02 14 January 2012
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Steve Morison’s ninth goal of the season clinched Norwich City’s second successive Premier League away victory as they avenged their early-season home defeat by West Bromwich Albion.
Morison headed home from a cross by substitute Grant Holt 11 minutes from time to seal their third away success after Shane Long’s second-half penalty had cancelled out Andrew Surman’s first-half opener.
Albion held sway in the opening half but City held firm thanks to two important saves by John Ruddy and a goalline clearance by Surman, and it was Surman who gave them the lead two minutes before the break.
Simeon Jackson and Wes Hoolahan combined for Surman to volley home from the edge of the area for his third goal of the season.
Albion renewed the assault after the break and it was substitute Long, so often a thorn in City’s side, who levelled from the penalty spot.
Daniel Ayala brought down Jerome Thomas with a reckless challenge and Long tucked his spot-kick to Ruddy’s left.
But as Albion pushed for a winner, it was the Canaries who produced it when Holt crossed from the left and Morison headed home.
Victory was greeted with more joyous scenes from another big travelling contingent, while for Albion it was their seventh home defeat of the season.
City boss Paul Lambert made five changes after the FA Cup win over Burnley. Goalkeeper John Ruddy returned, while there were recalls for Kyle Naughton, Bradley Johnson, Anthony Pilkington and Steve Morison.
Declan Rudd, in goal against the Clarets, was not on the bench with Jed Steer named as substitute ’keeper. Adam Drury, David Fox, Andrew Crofts and Grant Holt were all relegated to the bench.
Full-back Marc Tierney (groin) and defender Ritchie de Laet (back) were still out injured, and there was no place in the 18 against his former club for defender Leon Barnett.
Albion showed three changes from the team that started the FA Cup victory over Cardiff, with defender Billy Jones out of the squad and George Thorne and Graham Dorrans among the substitutes. Into the starting line-up came Paul Scharner, Youssouf Mulumbu and Jerome Thomas, all recovered from injury.
In the fourth minute, a foul by Ayala on Thomas gave Albion a free-kick some eight yards outside the penalty area. Morrison took the kick but it flew up off the wall for goalkeeper Ruddy to make a safe catch.
There was an escape for the Canaries a minute later, however, when Odemwingie’s 25-yard drive was pushed by Ruddy, not all that convincingly, on to the bar and out for a corner.
It was Albion’s turn for a lucky break in the 11th minute when Morison chased Russell Martin’s pass into the area, where ’keeper Foster came out and his attempted clearance squirted off the City striker and spun back to hit the outside of the post.
Ruddy was called into action again to deal with a cross from the left from Odemwingie, but as City hit back, Jackson flashed a shot over the bar from Pilkington’s centre.
Ruddy kept City on terms after 21 minutes when Odemingie and Morrison combined well to put Cox through, but the ’keeper did well to smother his shot at close range.
Dawson denied Jackson a shooting chance at the expense of a corner as he broke quickly on to Naughton’s through-ball, but though Pilkington’s kick found Morison, Albion were.
Surman was next to come to the rescue for City on the half-hour. Morison headed clear from a corner but Morrison struck a goalbound effort that was headed off the line by Surman.
Then it was Whitbread making a vital block from Thomas as Albion threatened once again.
It was mostly one-way traffic and Ayala made an important near-post clearance from a quickly-taken free-kick, before Scharner headed over from the resulting corner.
Ayala’s poor control handed Albion a needless corner which, thankfully for City, Morrison overhit, and as the visitors broke quickly, Morison headed wide from Pilkington’s cross.
Two minutes before the break, and against the run of play, the Canaries went ahead through Surman, his third goal of the season.
Pilkington set the move in motion with a long ball up the right to Jackson, who did well to hold it up before support arrived, Hoolahan taking over and floating his centre to the edge of the area where Surman volleyed left-footed past Foster.
• Half-time: West Bromwich Albion 0, Norwich City 1
Morrison blazed over from Albion’s first chance of the second period after Thomas had caused problems for City down the left.
Scharner wasted another opportunity by shooting high into the crowd behind Ruddy’s goal, to groans from the home crowd.
Morrison volleyed just over after a much better move as Odemwingie knocked a long ball back into his path.
Jackson brought Foster into action after 57 minutes but it was a fairly gentle, curling shot that gave the ’keeper no trouble.
Albion made a double change after 63 minutes when Long and Dorrans replaced Odemwingie and Scharner.
Long almost scored with his first touch as Thomas played him in on the edge of the six-yard box and he turned to fire in a shot that Ruddy palmed away, then the keeper had to keep out a snapshot by Cox which he grabbed at the second attempt.
Midway through the half, however, Albion got on terms when Long scored from the penalty spot.
It was a reckless challenge by Ayala on Thomas just inside the six-yard box, referee Dean pointing straight to the spot, and Long coolly tucked his spot-kick to Ruddy’s left as the ’keeper moved the other way.
Before play restarted, Lambert made a double change with Crofts and Holt replacing Pilkington and Jackson.
Johnson had a shot deflected wide and Morison headed over from the resulting corner by Surman as City sought an immediate reply.
There were appeals for another penalty when Whitbread cut out a cross by Long as he slid to the ground, but referee Dean was unimpressed.
Albion made their final change 13 minutes from time when the lively Thomas was replaced by Fortune.
McAuley almost made it 2-1 when he was first to Dorrans’ corner but headed straight at Ruddy.
With City under the cosh, they suddenly regained the lead with 11 minutes to go, Morison scoring his ninth goal of the season.
Naughton won an important challenge and exchanged passes with Holt, then sent the substitute racing away down the left, where he delivered the perfect cross for Morison to power in a header that Foster could only help into the net.
Immediately, City replaced Johnson with Fox in front of the back four.
The Canaries came under more pressure in the closing stages but despite four minutes of time added on, they held firm for another vital away success.
• Result: West Bromwich Albion 1, Norwich City 2
• West Bromwich Albion: Foster; Jara Reyes, McAuley, Dawson, Shorey; Morrison, Scharner (Dorrans, 63), Mulumbu, Thomas (Fortune, 77); Odemwingie (Long, 63), Cox. Subs (not used): Fulop, Mattock, Tamas, Thorne.
• Norwich City: Ruddy; Russell Martin, Ayala, Whitbread, Naughton; Johnson (Fox, 80); Pilkington (Crofts, 68), Surman; Morison, Jackson (Holt, 68). Subs: Steer, Drury, Bennett, Wilbraham.
• Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
• Attendance: 24,474
• Goals: Albion: Long (68, pen). City: Surman (43), Morison (79)
• Booking: City: Ayala (67)
Podcast - West Brom 1, Norwich City 2