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Saturday, October 15, 2011
Winger Anthony Pilkington struck twice as Norwich City won the battle of the Premier League’s newly-promoted sides at Carrow Road.
Pilkington wiped out the memory of missed chances at Old Trafford a fortnight earlier with two close-range finishes, while defender Russell Martin was the other scorer in what was ultimately a decisive victory.
It was a case of the early birds capturing the points as the Canaries moved two goals up inside 10 minutes.
Pilkington struck first after just 48 seconds when he fired home after Steve Morison had nodded back Elliott Bennett’s cross.
Defender Russell Martin made it 2-0 when he ghosted in to head the second from David Fox’s free-kick for his first goal of the season.
But Swansea striker Danny Graham, frequently a thorn in Norwich’s side, reduced the arrears just two minutes later, tucking away Scott Sinclair’s pass.
It was end-to-end stuff after that but the decisive goal came in the 63rd minute when, from a Fox corner, Bradley Johnson set up Pilkington to score from inside the six-yard box.
City lost striker Morison, an impressive contributor to his side’s victory, midway through the second period but were worthy winners in front of a packed house, enjoying the autumn sunshine.
For the Welsh side, the defeat left them still without a point on their travels this season.
City boss Paul Lambert kept an unchanged side from the 2-0 defeat at Manchester United, but there were two changes on the bench where Ritchie de Laet and Aaron Wilbraham replaced Adam Drury and Chris Martin.
Swansea welcomed back midfielder Leon Britton after he suffered from back spasms, with Mark Gower dropping to the bench.
Former City loan striker Leroy Lita, who scored seven times for the club in 2008, was among the Swansea substitutes.
There was a dream start for City as they went straight on the offensive, Pilkington scoring after just 48 seconds.
Fox had a powerful drive blocked by Taylor but the ball spun out to the right to Bennett, who crossed beyond the far post where Morison nodded it back for Pilkington to drill a left-foot shot past Vorm before the goalkeeper had had a touch of the ball.
It was Pilkington’s second goal of the season and with Swansea looking rattled, skipper Monk was shown the yellow card for impeding Morison’s progress. The resulting free-kick was again headed back by Morison but this time Swansea were able to clear.
With 10 minutes gone, City went two goals up. Pilkington won a free-kick on the left-hand corner of the penalty when he was blocked off by Rangel, and Fox’s dead-ball kick picked out the unmarked Russell Martin, who planted the perfect header past Vorm.
But within two minutes, Swansea had pulled a goal back with Graham scoring his second in successive games.
Sinclair made ground on the Swansea left into the Norwich area and although he stumbled over as he burst between two yellow shirts, he recovered to poke the ball into the path of Graham, who tucked his shot inside the post.
It was his fourth goal against the Canaries in three games after scoring three for Watford in last season’s two Championship meetings.
Graham missed an opportunity to level matters when he got the wrong side of Russell Martin but failed to control Taylor’s excellent diagonal pass.
Midway through the half, Naughton’s through-ball gave Morison a hint of a chance but his first-time effort from distance was a few yards wide.
Rangel fired a long-range shot over the top after Swansea put together an intricate passing move. Then a shot by Sinclair ricocheted off Barnett and, thankfully for City, straight to Ruddy.
Morison showed strength and good control to pick out Pilkington as City hit back, but the winger shot into the side netting.
A splendid ball by Hoolahan enabled Morison to show his strength again and he homed in on goal before striking a curling right-footer than Vorm dived to his left to palm away.
Fox won a real tussle with Britton before playing a one-two with Hoolahan, but he sliced an ambitious shot into the crowd.
With six minutes to go before the break, there was a delay while Graham received treatment after coming off worse ina challenge with Barnett.
As the half entered three minutes of time added on, Hoolahan picked out Bennett on the right but the winger’s cross landed on the roof of the net.
• Half-time: Norwich City 2, Swansea City 1
There was another delay at the start of the second period when Dyer needed treatment after falling awkwardly.
City forced the first corner of the half thanks to Morison’s persistence, Johnson rising highest as Fox’s inswinging kick came in but failing to make clean contact.
Johnson powered forward for City but was over-ambitious and his long-range shot drifted well wide.
A splendid crossfield move then presented Johnson with another chance as he moved on to Pilkington’s pass but the angle was against him and he shot well off target, but not as far off target as Pilkington’s next effort, which ballooned into the crowd.
Sinclair wasted an opening at the other end when he cut inside on to his right foot but pulled a poor shot wide.
Swansea made their first change on the hour when Dobbie replaced Routledge.
City finally stretched their lead in the 63rd minute and it was that man Pilkington again with his second of the match.
Barnett challenged for Fox’s inswinging corner, taken from the left, and as the ball dropped to the near post, Johnson deftly turned it back for Pilkington to swivel and fire home inside the six-yard box.
Soon afterwards, Morison went down needing attention and when it was clear he could not continue, he made way for Holt, who was given a great reception,
Sinclair worked himself into shooting range but was again frustrated with a poor effort that did not trouble Ruddy.
Swansea made another change with Lita sent on for Dyer, but it was Norwich pressing now and Johnson tested Vorm with a skimming drive after persistence by Hoolahan created the chance.
Holt let fly from long range to force Vorm into a save and Hoolahan was just unable to tuck home the rebound as Williams slid in to foil him.
Dobbie tried his luck from 25 yards but it was a wild attempt as the Swans looked desperately for a lifeline.
Dobbie should have done much better moments later when excellent work by Graham took him deep into Norwich territory but when he squared the ball to Dobbie, his first effort was a miscue that struck Tierney, and when he followed up he was able only to nod the rebound into Ruddy’s hands.
Bennett sent fired just over the angle of post and bar after a passing move that drew admiration from the home crowd.
With 11 minutes to go, Lambert made a second change as Hoolahan made way for Crofts.
Dobbie was next to need treatment after coming off worse from a challenge by Naughton.
Lita was off target with a couple of headers, but five minutes of stoppage time produced no real alarm for the Canaries.
• Result: Norwich City 3, Swansea City 1
• Norwich City: Ruddy; Naughton, Barnett, Russell Martin, Tierney; Bennett, Fox, Bradley Johnson, Pilkington; Hoolahan (Crofts, 79); Morison (Holt, 67). Subs (not used): Rudd, De Laet, Surman, Wilbraham, Jackson.
• Swansea City: Vorm; Rangel, Monk, Williams, Taylor (Richards, 74); Allen, Britton; Routledge (Dobbie, 60); Dyer (Lita, 69), Graham, Sinclair. Subs (not used): Tremmel, Moras, Gower, Moore.
• Referee: Jonathan Moss (West Yorkshire)
• Attendance: 26,567
• Goals: Norwich: Pilkington (1, 63), Russell Martin (10). Swansea: Graham (12)
• Booking: Swansea: Monk (4)
Podcast - Norwich City 3, Swansea City 1