Carlisle 0, Norwich City 1

David Cuffley SLIDESHOW: Wes Hoolahan’s fifth goal of the season was enough to give Norwich City their third successive League One victory and sent the Canaries up to sixth place in the table. Hoolahan struck after 41 minutes at Brunton Park after the Carlisle defence failed to deal with a cross from Chris Martin.

David Cuffley

Wes Hoolahan's fifth goal of the season was enough to give Norwich City their third successive League One victory and sent them up to sixth place in the table.

Hoolahan struck after 41 minutes at Brunton Park after the Carlisle defence failed to deal with a cross from Chris Martin.

City had chances to increase their lead after the break, the best of them when Korey Smith was foiled by Carlisle goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley.

Carlisle launched a predictable barrage in the closing stages but Paul Lambert's men held firm to make it five league matches unbeaten.

Full-back George Francomb made his league debut for City, keeping his place after the midweek Johnstone's Paint Trophy victory at Gillingham.

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There were, however, six changes to the starting line-up from Tuesday night, with recalls for Adam Drury, Korey Smith, Darel Russell, Simon Lappin, Wes Hoolahan and Grant Holt.

Drury was flown north on the morning of the match after his wife gave birth to their second child yesterday.

Stephen Hughes was missing, on duty with Scotland in Japan, with five other starters from the Gillingham game included among the substitutes - Rhoys Wiggins, Tom Adeyemi, Paul McVeigh, Luke Daley and Jamie Cureton.

Francomb needed treatment in the opening minutes for a bang on the head, but was able to continue.

After a quiet opening, Martin showed his willingness to shoot after 11 minutes when he took Lappin's pass on the corner of the penalty area and let fly with a left-foot shot that just cleared the angle of post and bar.

Robson's corner to the near post almost caused problems for City but Forster managed to smother the ball despite the attentions of Harte.

An excellent block by Taiwo foiled Holt as he shaped to shoot after a sweeping four-man move by the Canaries.

Midway through the half, the home crowd were roused as Anyinsah ran at the City defence but his long-range shot was well off target.

Robson then got ahead of Francomb but his shot was blocked by Forster at the near post and as Carlisle stepped things up, Harte's free-kick clipped the top of the crossbar with Forster at full stretch.

Drury got forward on to Doherty's pass and almost had a sight of goal, but though keeper Pidgeley failed to collect, Drury was only able to poke the loose ball into the side netting.

There was almost an opening when Holt headed back Doherty's cross, but the bounce was just too high for Hoolahan to get under control.

As City enjoyed a lively spell, Holt headed wide from Lappin's corner.

They were rewarded for a bright period four minutes before the break when Hoolahan gave them the lead with his fifth goal of the season. Martin's cross from the left seemed easy enough to deal with but with the ball going through Livesey's feet and Kavanagh unable to clear, it ran loose to Hoolahan, who was left with the simple task of knocking it into an empty net.

Anyinsah was just off target as Carlisle looked for an immediate reply.

Hoolahan had another sight of goal from the edge of the area in the final minute of the half, but his shot was straight at Pidgeley.

t Half-time: Carlisle United 0, Norwich City 1

At the start of the second half, Hoolahan's ball almost played Martin through and when his path was blocked, the striker rolled a pass back to Smith but the midfielder blazed over.

There was a delay when Carlisle's Taiwo needed treatment after coming off worse in a challenge with Russell. He was taken to the touchline for treatment while the home side carried on briefly with 10 men.

Martin let fly as City pushed forward again, his shot striking Livesey and prompting appeals for handball, but though the ball ricocheted from his foot to his arm, it was certainly accidental.

A quick break from Martin as he dummied on to Drury's through-ball gave City an opening but Martin ran into a dead end and after he found Hoolahan, the ball was fed back to Smith, only for the midfielder's shot to be blocked.

As Carlisle counter-attacked, Anyinsah burst clear but his final effort was straight at Forster.

Hoolahan was denied by Pidgeley at the other end after making room for a shot following a pass from Holt.

It was end-to-end stuff and after Askou failed to clear, Anyinsah tested Forster with a shot from a tight angle before Dobie struck the side netting in Carlisle's next attack.

With 20 minutes left, Martin's long-range effort was deflected wide for a corner, from which Holt volleyed over the bar.

Smith could have made it 2-0 with a quarter of an hour left when Holt's pass left him through against Pidgeley, but the 'keeper blocked his shot at the expense of a corner.

Dobie got away from Francomb as Carlisle stepped up the pressure but his cross fell behind two advancing team-mates and the opportunity was lost.

Adeyemi and McDonald were sent on in the closing stages, McDonald earning a yellow card for a foul on Keogh. Holt headed clear from the resulting free-kick by Harte.

Forster saved from Carlisle substitute Bridge-Wilkinson in stoppage time.

Keogh was then booked for a wild challenge on Hoolahan.

t Carlisle United: Pidgeley; Harte, Livesey, Keogh, Horwood (Offiong, 82); Hurst, Taiwo, Kavanagh (Bridge-Wilkinson, 64), Robson; Dobie, Anyinsah.

Subs (not used): Collin, Murphy, Rothery, Tinnion, Madine.

t Norwich City: Forster; Francomb (Adeyemi, 82), Doherty, Askou, Drury; Smith, Russell, Lappin; Hoolahan; Holt, Martin (McDonald, 87).

Subs (not used): Theoklitos, Cureton, McVeigh, Wiggins, Daley.

t Referee: David Foster (Tyne and Wear)

t Attendance: 6,825

t Goal: Norwich: Hoolahan (41)

t Bookings: Carlisle: Kavanagh, Keogh. Norwich: Lappin, McDonald