Murphy strikes too late in 2-1 defeat at lowly Bolton as Canaries crash to third successive league defeat
- Credit: Russell Hart/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City have lost three Championship games on the bounce for the first time this season, after being humbled in a 2-0 defeat at lowly Bolton Wanderers this afternoon.
An excellent eight-game unbeaten league run since the start of September had raised hopes that Daniel Farke’s team could mount a play-off challenge but they have now slipped to 12th, although still only three points adrift of the top six, heading into the international break.
Home defeats to Derby and Wolves have been followed by a loss to the Trotters, who moved off the bottom of the table with the win, thanks to two goals in five minutes in the first half from Gary Madine and Adam Armstrong.
It was the Canaries on top in the opening stages but their best chance came after Ivo Pinto pulled back for Cameron Jerome, whose barren spell in front of goal continued, firing well wide from near the penalty spot.
Christoph Zimmermann stooped low to head a James Maddison corner from the right into the side-netting in the 21st minute as the visitors continued to threaten.
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However, the Trotters grew into the game and Newcastle loanee Armstrong missed a fine chance in the 32nd minute, after the lively Sammy Ameobi skipped away from Tom Trybull and floated a cross over from the right, only to see Armstrong head tamely over the bar.
One side of the Macron Stadium were up celebrating less than a minute later after Ameobi blasted into the side-netting, but they didn’t have to wait long for the real celebrations to begin.
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The hosts took the lead after more bright play from Ameobi on the right, allowing skipper Darren Pratley to cross and striker Madine to fire low under Angus Gunn from eight yards.
With the home crowd all of a sudden in good voice, City wilted under the pressure and conceded another five minutes later.
This time it was right-back Mark Little getting forward and pulling back a low cross, which Madine controlled to allow Armstrong to curl a fine shot in off the right post for his first league goal of the campaign.
The first sign of a comeback came in the 60th minute when Wes Hoolahan threaded a fine pass through to Marco Stiepermann, only for former Canaries loan keeper Ben Alnwick to rush out and win the race to the ball narrowly.
Soon after City coach Farke reacted with a double substitution, bringing on Josh Murphy and Marley Watkins for Tom Trybull and Yanic Wildschut, asking Maddison to drop deeper alongside Harrison Reed in midfield.
Watkins fired a rising shot into the side-netting after good play on the right from Hoolahan and Pinto in the 66th minute.
Mario Vrancic replaced Reed soon after and a couple of Maddison corners saw Murphy lift a shot onto the roof of the Bolton net with a shot from the edge of the area in the 70th minute.
Watkins headed a Murphy corner tamely at Alnwick in the 74th minute and Timm Klose just couldn’t stretch enough to reach a fine Maddison cross from a free-kick on the left in the 78th minute, as the Canaries at least showed some fight.
Murphy really should have pulled one back in the 83rd minute as he burst clean through, being denied by Alnwick and then unable to turn in the loose ball off-balance.
Jerome also headed tamely wide from a Vrancic corner late on, with Marco Stiepermann lucky to survive a strong penalty call after a desperate tackle on Ameobi as well.
There was a late consolation for the 1,200 travelling fans in the last of four added minutes though, Jerome teeing up Murphy to lash into the top-right corner on his left foot, but it was too late to mount a push for a point – as City missed out on equalling a club record of five consecutive away league victories.
The Canaries return to action against Barnsley after the international break, at Carrow Road on Saturday, November 18.
Norwich: Gunn; Pinto (C), Zimmermann, Klose, Stiepermann; Reed (Vrancic 68), Trybull (Murphy 62); Wildschut (Watkins 62), Maddison, Hoolahan; Jerome. Unused subs: McGovern (GK), Husband, Martin, Hanley
Goal: Murphy (90+4)
Booked: Zimmermann (foul on Madine, 76), Wheater (foul on Watkins, 78), Vrancic (foul on Vela, 79)
Bolton: Alnwick; Little, Wheater, Beevers, Robinson; Pratley (C), Henry; Ameobi, Vela, Armstrong (Buckley 68); Madine. Unused subs: Howard (GK), Derik, Cullen, Noone, Darby, Hall
Goals: Madine (35), Armstrong (40)
Booked: Pratley (foul on Hoolahan, 28), Henry (foul on Stiepermann, 58), Beevers (foul on Jerome, 84)
Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffs)
Attendance: 14,786 (1,247 away)