Peterborough United 0, Norwich City 3
17:30 05 January 2013
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Norwich City cruised into the fourth round of the FA Cup at the expense of Championship side Peterborough United as attacking pair Elliott Bennett and Simeon Jackson made the most of their recall to the first team.
Both players scored in the opening half of the third round tie at London Road, and Robert Snodgrass wrapped things up with 20 minutes left with his fifth goal of the season, making him the Canaries’ top scorer this season.
City boss Chris Hughton made eight changes from the team beaten 2-1 at West Ham on New Year’s Day, but they still had far too much quality for a Posh side who failed to trouble goalkeeper Declan Rudd on his return to the team.
In truth, there looked to be more than one division between the two clubs as any thought of an upset was dispelled by two Norwich goals in the space of 11 first-half minutes.
Elliott Bennett opened the scoring on the half-hour after excellent work by Snodgrass, and Jackson made it 2-0 four minutes before the break with a cool finish from David Fox’s through-ball.
Snodgrass struck the third on 70 minutes from an Elliott Bennett pass to make him top scorer for the season with five, but the Canaries looked well in charge long before that.
In a much-changed line-up, Rudd replaced Mark Bunn in goal, with recalls in defence for Leon Barnett and Marc Tierney, in midfield for David Fox, Bradley Johnson, Elliott Bennett and Simon Lappin, and in attack for Simeon Jackson. Johnson returned after a one-match ban and Lappin was back from a loan spell with Cardiff.
Out completely from the Premier League defeat at Upton Park went Bunn, Michael Turner, Sebastien Bassong, Jonny Howson, nursing a knee injury, and Wes Hoolahan, while Alex Tettey, Anthony Pilkington and Harry Kane were named among the substitutes. There were also places on the bench for returning loan duo Elliott Ward and Jacob Butterfield.
Peterborough were forced into three changes after the 2-1 Championship home win over Barnsley with Gabriel Zakuani on African Nations Cup duty, Lee Tomlin suspended and Dwight Gayle cup-tied.
Into the side came Craig Alcock, Nathaniel Knight-Percival and Danny Swanson.
It was the first FA Cup meeting between the two clubs and only the third competitive meeting between them. City, skippered by Russell Martin against his former club, were backed by more than 5,000 travelling fans, but with a capacity of 14,500 for the tie, there were still plenty of gaps in home areas at kick-off.
City threatened first but Jackson’s cross from the right was overhit as Elliott Bennett, in a central role supporting the striker, raced into the area.
There was an early opening for Posh when Boyd set up Newell, whose shot was deflected wide for a corner, and soon afterwards Boyd wasted a useful chance by blazing his shot into the crowd.
Snodgrass worked a shooting opportunity but his effort struck Bostwick and from the resulting corner, Barnett headed over the top.
Johnson headed over from a Snodgrass free-kick, and then Snodgrass got his head to an Elliott Bennett cross at the far post before flattening an advertising board, with Posh having to clear hastily as the ball dropped into the six-yard box.
Elliott Bennett produced City’s best effort yet on 19 minutes when he cut in from the left and his powerful shot was tipped over by Olejnik.
Russell Martin headed over from a Snodgrass corner as Norwich continued to look more likely to score.
On the half-hour the goal City had threatened came as Elliott Bennett gave them the lead.
Snodgrass was the provider with a bit of twisting and turning in the Peterborough area, and Bennett had enough space to stab his shot past Olejnik from about six yards.
Posh made a change on 34 minutes with defender Alcock making way for striker Gordon.
Rudd plucked a cross from Little out of the air at the near post but had been a virtual spectator since the opening minutes.
Four minutes before the break, Jackson stretched the Canaries’ lead when he latched on to Fox’s long ball forward and coolly lifted the ball over the advancing Olejnik for his third goal of the season.
In first-half stoppage time, a cross by Little spelt danger but was just too strong for Rowe.
City almost made it 3-0 after Newell upended Snodgrass and the winger’s curling free-kick had to be acrobatically tipped over by Olejnik.
• Half-time: Peterborough United 0, Norwich City 2
Posh made a second change at the break with Ajose on for Knight-Percival.
Snodgrass fired wide from Russell Martin’s cross on 49 minutes as City looked to give themselves a commanding lead.
There was a third Peterborough change after 54 minutes when McCann replaced Swanson.
Elliott Bennett tried his luck from all of 35 yards, but Olejnik was right behind his shot, then Bennett was just unable to get on the end of a Martin cross.
Ajose sliced a shot into the crowd at the other end, which rather summed up Posh’s afternoon.
Johnson was also off target with a long-range effort as Norwich continued to have the lion’s share of possession.
Brisley was booked for a late challenge on Jackson before Rowe blazed a shot wide after a poor pass by Johnson.
It was effectively game over with 20 minutes left as Snodgrass slotted home his fifth goal of the season.
Elliott Bennett was the provider as his pass sent Snodgrass clear against Olejnik and he kept his cool to tuck the ball past the keeper.
It was his last involvement as he made way for Butterfield soon after play restarted.
Bostwick poked a shot wide from a McCann corner as Posh looked for a consolation goal.
Russell Martin was booked late on and Rudd finally had a save to make as Bostwick and Barnett challenged for the free-kick.
Little, Peterborough’s best performer, struck a powerful effort wide in the final seconds.
• Peterborough United: Olejnik; Alcock (Gordon, 34), Brisley, Knight-Percival (Ajose, 45); Little, Ferdinand, Bostwick, Newell, Rowe; Boyd, Swanson (McCann 54). Subs: Day, Richens, Sage, Clarke-Harris.
• Norwich City: Rudd, Russell Martin, Barnett, Ryan Bennett, Tierney; Snodgrass (Butterfield, 72), Fox, Johnson, Lappin; Jackson, Elliott Bennett. Subs (not used): Steer, Garrido, Ward, Pilkington, Tettey, Kane.
• Referee: Stuart Atwell (Warwickshire)
• Attendance: 13,198
• Goals: City: Elliott Bennett (30), Jackson (41), Snodgrass (70)
• Bookings: Posh: Bostwick (16), Brisley (66). City: Russell Martin (87)