Hartlepool United 0, Norwich City 2

Goals from Michael Nelson and Stephen Hughes gave Norwich City their second successive League One victory under new boss Paul Lambert as they comfortably overcame Hartlepool United at Victoria Park.

The first league meeting between the two clubs was settled by Nelson, scoring against his old club after 26 minutes with a superb bicycle kick, and Hughes, finishing off a swift counter-attack in the 63rd minute.

If anything, the scoreline did not reflect City's superiority on a day when on-loan goalkeeper Fraser Forster was seldom troubled by the home side.

For Nelson, it was a particularly happy afternoon on his first appearance since the 7-1 home defeat by Colchester on the opening day of the season.

It was also City's first clean sheet in five league matches and more than 800 travelling fans were there to see it.


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Lambert made sweeping changes once again with eight of Monday's Carling Cup starting line-up against Sunderland missing from his chosen eleven against Hartlepool.

Goalkeeper Forster, on loan from Newcastle, made his debut in place of Ben Alnwick, ruled out by the bad facial injury he suffered against Sunderland.

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Nelson was included in the centre of defence against his former club in preference to Gary Doherty, who was not included in the 18, and in the absence of the suspended Michael Spillane.

Six of the team that beat Wycombe 5-2 were restored to the side - Adam Drury and Jens Berthel Askou in defence, Paul McVeigh, Korey Smith and Hughes in midfield and Jamie Cureton in attack.

Wes Hoolahan was another absentee from the travelling party, as were midfielders Matthew Gill (knee injury) and Owain Tudur Jones (calf strain).

On a very blustery afternoon, it was 10 minutes before either side managed a clear shot on goal, Holt lobbing over the top for the Canaries from an awkward angle after a pass from McVeigh.

Holt had another opportunity five minutes later but headed wide from a free-kick by Lappin.

City forced the first corner of the match after 20 minutes but McVeigh's flag-kick, with the wind behind it, was overhit and cleared the penalty area.

A cross by Monkhouse took a deflection off Otsemobor and new 'keeper Forster had to get down to his near post to collect, but there had been little to worry him in the opening quarter of the match.

Forster had to deal with his first direct shot with Behan's bouncing effort, but was right behind it, and as City counter-attacked, Smith fired wide after a touch from Cureton.

The Canaries took the lead after 26 minutes with a well-worked goal as Nelson scored against his old club with a splendid finish.

Otsemobor rolled a free-kick into the path of McVeigh, who slipped his marker and rolled a low centre towards Hughes, whose first-time shot was parried by goalkeeper Flinders but Nelson reacted quickly to hook the ball home with a superb bicycle kick. It was his first goal for City and a finish that any striker would have been proud of.

Forster did well eight minutes before the break to claw a cross from Monkhouse away from the feet of Larkin, then, after Hartlepool won their first corner, he comfortably saved a header from Monkhouse.

Monkhouse was booked in first-half stoppage time for chopping down Smith.

HALF-TIME: Hartlepool United 0, Norwich City 1

Hartlepool made the first change of the afternoon after 58 minutes when debutant Larkin was replaced by Brown.

The Canaries stretched their lead after 63 minutes with a superbly worked goal by Hughes, also his first for the club.

Askou headed powerfully clear from a corner and City counter-attacked swiftly, McVeigh picking out Holt with a perfect crossfield ball and the striker slipping a pass into the path of Hughes, who tucked a low left-foot shot beyond Flinders and inside the post.

There was a double change after 71 minutes when City replaced McVeigh with Adeyemi and Hartlepool sent on Boyd for McSweeney.

Forster was finally brought into action with just over 15 minutes left when he reacted well to keep out an effort from Sweeney, but Brown, following up, fired over the top.

There was another double switch with Fredriksen replacing Jones for the hosts, and Daley taking Cureton's place in attack.

McDonald replaced Smith in injury time

RESULT: Hartlepool United 0, Norwich City 2

Hartlepool: Flinders; Haslam, Collins, Liddle, Hartley; McSweeney (Boyd, 71), Sweeney, Jones (Fredriksen, 78), Monkhouse; Behan, Larkin (Brown, 58). Subs (not used): Cook, Austin, Greulich, Clark

City: Forster; Otsemobor, Nelson, Askou, Drury; McVeigh (Adeyemi, 71), Smith (McDonald, 90), Hughes, Lappin; Cureton (Daley, 78), Holt. Subs (not used): Rudd, Stephens, Whaley, Martin.

Referee: Scott Mathieson

Attendance: 4,470

Goals: City: Nelson (26), Hughes (63)

Bookings: Hartlepool: Monkhouse (45)

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